UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The effort to address the threats posed by climate change should be seen as an opportunity for economic growth, the European Commission president said.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was among the more than 100 leaders on hand for a climate summit at the United Nations headquarters. European leaders are debating policies that extend beyond a 2020 commitment to cut emissions, increase energy efficiency and expand on renewable energy resources from their 1990 benchmark.
Barroso told delegates during his Tuesday address the international community can only meet the threat with a united front.
"At the same time, climate change also presents an opportunity to reinvent our economies, a chance to reinvent our economies in a cleaner, leaner, greener and more efficient way," he said.
A report published last week by the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate finds as much as $90 trillion will be invested during the next 15 years on low-carbon infrastructure and energy systems.
Barroso said EU efforts with renewables are making on impact on the European economy.
"Since 1990, Europe's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 19 percent, while our gross domestic product rose by 45 percent," he said. "We prove that climate protection and a strong economy can -- and must -- go hand-in-hand."