A study says that cutting CO2 emissions can yield benefits worth billions

Investing in projects to cut greenhouse gas emissions in poor countries can yield billions of dollars worth of additional benefits in areas ranging from employment to health, according to a study done by economists from Australia. They analyzed the environmental and socio-economic benefits from clean energy or carbon-cutting projects approved by carbon credit certifier the Gold Standard.

The study comes weeks after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated the impact of policies to curb greenhouse gases worldwide would slow global economic growth by 0.06 percent annually through the rest of the century.

What the IPCC did not include in this economic assessment was a valuation of the multiple positive outcomes beyond carbon that can be delivered by reducing energy consumption, switching to clean energy systems and saving forests,” the report said.

The more than 100 initiatives analyzed include building wind farms, planting trees, and installing water filtration systems and distributing clean stoves to deter people from burning wood or charcoal.

Under the Gold Standard programme, each project generates carbon credits that can be bought by individuals and organizations to offset their own carbon footprints.

The report found that, for example, three water filtration systems throughout Africa and Asia approved by the Gold Standard are delivering health benefits such as less air pollution, valued at more than $300 million annually.

Governments are currently wrangling over which countries should take on a heavier burden in cutting greenhouse gas emissions under a new treaty to be agreed at U.N. talks in 2015.