Between 2013-2023, the New Climate Economy worked to build the evidence base to demonstrate that climate action is the growth story of the 21st century. NCE was a flagship project of the Global Commission the Economy and Climate – a major international initiative examining how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change. The Commission comprised of former heads of government and finance ministers and leaders in the fields of economics and business, and was commissioned by seven countries — Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom — as an independent initiative to report to the international community. NCE provided independent and authoritative evidence to the Global Commission on the relationship between actions which can strengthen economic performance and those which reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.
Through the New Climate Economy and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, we have successfully built and disseminated a new narrative; it’s now widely understood that economic growth and climate action go hand-in-hand. The evidence underpinning this narrative is stronger than ever. Many countries — backed by an increasing number of ambitious cities, states, and corporate leaders — are recognizing that climate action is the greatest growth opportunity of the 21st century, committing to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
Our Work at WRI
In 2023 NCE moved fully under the WRI umbrella and became the National Climate Action team (NCA). The NCA pillar of WRI’s Climate Programme accelerates ambitious climate action in developing countries and emerging economies in a way that delivers economic growth, good jobs, poverty reduction, and health benefits. NCA builds on the success of the New Climate Economy and supports the growing demands submitted to the NDC Partnership by member countries. NCA provides targeted policy support — executed in collaboration with multiple in-country partners and other key stakeholders — whilst also developing knowledge products and policy solutions relevant to other climate and development goals.
NCE’s country projects support countries’ mitigation, adaptation, financial, and sectoral needs across the NDC planning, implementation, and tracking cycle. This includes direct, in-country support as well as global research on increased levels of ambition included in NDCs, development goals, and long-term strategies.
NCE, with the guidance and leadership of the Global Commission, has been able to reach decision-makers in key countries and the private sector to leverage wide-scale influence at key moments. The NCE draws from and supports the work of various special initiatives and related projects, including: NCE’s own country-focused work, the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), the NDC Partnership, and P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030).
NCE released its initial report in September 2014, Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report. An Advisory Panel of world-leading economists, chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern carried out an expert review of the work. In July 2015 we released Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate, which focused on how international and multi-stakeholder cooperation can catalyse sustainable economic growth while reducing emissions. In October 2016, we released The Sustainable Infrastructure Imperative: Financing for Better Growth and Development, which identifies the barriers to financing sustainable infrastructure and suggests measures to overcome them. In September 2018, we released our last global report, Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century: Acceleratinng Climate Action in Urgent Times, which highlighted the economic benefits of climate action across five sectors of the economy.
The project continues to launch sector- and country-specific research:
Sectors: The Food and Land Use Coalition is catalyzing a transition to a food and land-use system that advances inclusive economic development, improves human health and well-being, and sustains the environment. NCE is also involved in efforts around the International Financing Agenda to support a step-change in sustainable investment by raising ambition and driving financing at scale. The energy sector agenda is carried forward by the work of the related Energy Transitions Commission. The Coalition for Urban Transitions (2016-2021) helped national decision makers unlock the power of cities for enhanced national economic, social, and environmental performance, including reducing the risk of climate change.
Countries: We are working to translate the NCE narrative into practical implementation guidance in specific countries. Current country priorities include Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Vietnam.
The New Climate Economy was overseen by a Global Commission until 2022. The Commission comprised of former heads of government and finance ministers, and leaders in the fields of economics, business and finance. All members served in a personal capacity.