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Government, business Leaders Call on G20 and Rio+20: Worldwide Recession and Climate Change Share One Clean Solution

18 June 2012
Government, business Leaders Call on G20 and Rio+20: Worldwide Recession and Climate Change Share One Clean Solution

Rio de Janeiro – Tony Blair and a group of international statesmen and business leaders today said that a “clean revolution” – consisting of a step change in investment in renewable energy, clean technology and infrastructure – was needed to lead the world out of recession. In an open letter published on the eve of the G20 and Rio+20 international summits, signatories called for a coordinated policy shift to save the economy and the climate. Tony Blair added his support for the shift in a speech screened at Rio.

The letter, says: “By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion. At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The 'Clean Revolution' is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.”

The signatories of the open letter are backing the launch in Rio of the Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by The Climate Group and a range of partners from the public and private sectors that calls for a ‘green growth’ push out of global recession.

Tony Blair, in his speech, adds: “The Clean Revolution is the expressway to the Green Economy. It will be a new Industrial Revolution. Because of the current financial crisis, acting on climate change is more than ever before an opportunity to lead the world out of recession and to tackle the increasing geopolitical tensions created by the lack of energy security.”

The Climate Group is aiming to create a “tipping point” of support for the low carbon economy by asking influential government and business leaders to support strategic investment in cleantech as a solution to both climate change and the global recession. Among the campaign’s backers to date are Philips and Suzlon, a
major Asian wind turbine manufacturer, as well as other businesses and venture capitalists in China and the United States.

“A Clean Revolution – nothing less – is necessary to put the world on the path to a smarter, better, more prosperous world for all. It’s going to be based on technologies and opportunities available today that could only have been dreamt of at the first Rio Summit 20 years ago. Government and business leaders are realizing this opportunity and are already leading the world into a more sustainable future. But it needs to happen faster: An incremental approach is no longer adequate for either humanity’s needs or the new realities of the global economy. We need a step change. And it begins, today, at Rio+20” said Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group.

Speakers at the Clean Revolution launch event in Rio included Prince Albert of Monaco, Quebec’s Premier Jean Charest, The World Bank’s Special Envoy for Sustainability, Andrew Steer, Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Executive Director, senior representatives from Philips, Suzlon and the Dutch Postcode Lottery as well as Professor Wang Yi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the key architects of China’s low carbon strategy.

To accompany the campaign’s launch, The Climate Group has launched a new website ( and a series of research reports demonstrating success stories of ‘clean revolutions’ under way in different parts of the world. These include:

  • A report co-authored by the highly influential Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The Climate Group which says that China is currently at the cusp of driving a new global ‘clean’ industrial revolution. The report calls for closer cooperation between China and the international community. Full report here.
  • A new report on the results of a massive independent LED street lighting trial in 12 of the world’s largest cities showing up to 85% energy savings. Full report here.
  • A report on low carbon success stories from The Climate Group’s network of supporters in state and regional government around the world. Full report here.
  • A report on the characteristics and drivers of low carbon leadership with examples from around the world. Full report here.

HSH Prince Albert II, who is an official Ambassador of the Clean Revolution campaign, says: “The paradox of our situation is the crisis forcing us to think long term. In order to address global warming issues, not only do we need to learn to act quickly, but at the same time to look further ahead. The Climate Group, in partnership with my Foundation among others, has been prompting us to do so for several years. Today, The Climate Group is offering us the opportunity to increase our efforts together through the launch of the Clean Revolution Campaign.”

“Given the responsibilities of federated states in a number of areas that are critical to sustainable development and their vital contribution to implementing international agreements, the need to integrate them into the decision-making process is indispensable if we really want to head effectively towards a greener economy”, added Premier of Québec Jean Charest , another of the campaign’s global ambassadors.

“We should not expect global rules to guide us though this "make or break" decade". Instead it will be voluntary leadership that will demonstrate that success is not only possible, but also profitable, and which in turn will inspire others to act. The Clean Revolution Initiative is designed to move things across the tipping point. We're proud to be part of it” said Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change, The World Bank. The campaign is going to focus on creating a network of Clean Revolution Ambassadors and Campaign Partners, providing a wide evidence base with low carbon success stories from across the globe and fostering transformative actions on the low carbon economy.

The Climate Group also today announced a series of new partnerships to accelerate innovation and meet climate and sustainability challenges. Partners include Climate-KIC at Imperial College, global engineering firm Arup, the UK Technology Strategy Board, social enterprises Living Labs Global and CityMart, and the city association Metropolis.

The Climate Group also unveiled a new partnership initiative with ISEP (ICTs for Sustainable Energy Partnership), the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign (DESSC), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the UN Foundation. The partnership aims in helping to realize the potential that ICT holds in reducing up to 15% of global emissions by 2020.

Read The Leadership for a Clean Revolution report

Read the full press release


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