Rio sustainability expert tackles the social and economic challenges of climate change in O Globo op-ed

O Globo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, recently featured an op-ed titled ‘Climate and Economy’ by Sérgio Besserman Vianna, special adviser on sustainability to C40 Chair, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes.

In the article, Besserman, a respected economist and sustainability commentator in Rio de Janeiro and throughout Brazil, highlights the social and economic impacts of climate change.

“The social dimension is evident. The impacts befall all, but not equally. It is the poor, those hundreds of millions, who live in the most vulnerable regions who have fewer resources to defend themselves. As the World Bank affirmed in a recent document, climate change threatens the gains we’ve made over the last two decades in the fight against poverty.”

He said that the economic dimension is less obvious and much more complex, and emphasized the importance of having strategic vision when transitioning to a low carbon economy.

“All production and consumption processes that emit greenhouse gases carry the cost of global warming. Only by sending the proper price signals to the market can we avoid the worst scenarios of climate change. 

It so happens that the carbon intensity per unit of product varies greatly between technologies, countries, companies, materials, logistics options etc. Since the additional cost is not small, it will cause major changes in the value and rhythm of the depreciation of assets, in the rate of return on long-term projects and in the relative competitiveness between sectors, companies and countries.”

This op-ed originally appeared in O Globo on December 14, 2014. See the full article (in Portuguese) here: http://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/clima-economia-14821396