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OECD nations agree to combat climate change

Staff writer |
The 34 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have agreed to work towards a deal on combating climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, to be held in Paris in December 2015.

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Those attending the organisation's annual two-day ministerial council meeting that began in Paris were finance, economy, trade and other ministers, including those from two OECD ‘accession countries', Colombia and Latvia, who also signed the statement.

Describing climate change as one of the world's greatest economic challenges, ministers and representatives from the 36 countries agreed to step up efforts to achieve the economic transformation necessary to deliver sustainable growth. This included greater incentives for private investment in low-carbon infrastructure, fostering green goods and services and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

"Climate change could lower world GDP in 2060 by at least 0.7 to 2.5%," says a new report that provides preliminary OECD estimates on the economic effects of climate change. The report, New Approaches to Economic Challenges, was released after the meeting.

"Cutting net emissions to zero in the second half of the century is a tough call but there is no way out if we are to achieve the 2°C target while simultaneously supporting the economic recovery," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

"There are as many opportunities as there are difficulties, but governments must make sure tomorrow's technologies are not obstructed by yesterday's regulations."

The ministers also asked the OECD to work with its partner agencies in energy and transport – the International Energy Agency, the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Transport Forum – to look at ways to help member countries better align their economic, social and environmental policies towards low-carbon growth.

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