The $90 trillion question

Story highlights

  • Authors say we should invest in our future and take a low-carbon approach to infrastructure
  • All countries must play a role in economic and climate-conscious transition, they say

Ángel Gurría is the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Sri Mulyani Indrawati is the managing director of the World Bank Group. Nicholas Stern is professor of economics at the London School of Economics and president of the British Academy. All three are members of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors.

(CNN)Infrastructure may not be a word that sets hearts racing, but it's vitally important for the future of our planet.

How important is it? Try $90 trillion. That's the amount of money the world is expected to invest in infrastructure in cities, land use and energy over the next 15 years. As we continue to see shift of the economic center of gravity from developed to developing countries, rapid urbanization, changes in transportation and energy use, we need to make sure we're investing that money wisely.
    We must set course to a low-carbon future if we are to avoid the immense risks of climate change. Due to the long life of most infrastructure, the choices we make today will lock in emissions for decades to come.