Felipe Calderón

Former President of Mexico, calling for a new climate economy.

As President of Mexico, Calderón hosted the 2010 UN climate talks in Cancun, and is now chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which aims to build economic action on climate change.

Calderón is a leading voice amongst the growing number making the case that action on climate change does not need to come at the cost of economic growth. In many ways, this is a hopeful message which some welcome, but there are still many – left, right, green and other – who disagree it is possible. A message of green growth is still a long way from being the new orthodoxy. Climate change will always be a challenge to the status quo in some way or another, the debate is partly a matter of whose status we choose to uphold at the cost of which others, and the New Climate Economy can’t promise to please everyone any more than our current economic system does. Calderón may well help change the debate though, and offer a potentially powerful pro-business voice which sits outside US politics but is happy to play to it.

Speaking at Harvard Business School this spring, he compared the US Congress to Chinese coal plants when it comes to major adversaries to action on climate change. Expect more provocative lines like this in coming months.