Environment & Poverty Times
ENVIRONMENT&POVERTY UNEP/GRID-Arendal A periodic publication by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Contents Page 2–3
Greening the world economy means turning markets and finance into
partners in sustainable development. With the world in the grip of an ominous financial crisis, we are only just realising how important the way we manage our money can be for the future.
Page 4–7 Economics for the planet goes one
step beyond greening the economy. Debate on the economics of nature is only now beginning, but depending on the direction it takes, we may see new models for business and government accounting emerge, new currencies expressing natural and social assets. We may even see a GDP of the poor. Time will tell. One thing is certain, we are all part of the puzzle.
Business opportunities and new green jobs are the life blood of a more sustainable future.
New opportunities are shaped by drivers such as changing consumer tastes and preferences, government regulations and innovation. This may also lead to more meaningful new jobs for individuals all over the planet.
Land and sea abound with examples of change and imminent action for a green economy.
Energy for a sustainable future means fulfilling demand efficiently,
drawing on renewable sources. It involves providing sustainable energy services and solutions, sometimes requiring off-grid solutions or the development of more effective technologies and infrastructures to optimize energy production and consumption.
Waste equates to unused resources. It calls for new infrastructure and a change in individual behaviour. In the drive to achieve resource efficiency, waste is uneconomical as well as raising healthcare and cultural issues. Above all, it is simply a waste!
Page 22–23 Urban planning and construction are
cornerstones for human habitat. Both hold enormous potential for resource ef- ficiency, with construction currently generating a substantial share of our waste burden. To house growing urban populations the need for more sustainable cities is increasingly urgent.
Tourism and travel are both a bless- ing and a burden for communities worldwide.
They raise major challenges, but offer count- less opportunities for social, cultural and economic development. When properly man- aged, environmental stress can be minimized and action can be taken to adjust behaviour and attitudes to suit a living planet.
Framework building prepares the ground for change, a task in which governments and international orga- nizations play a key role.
The emergence of public-private partnerships over the past decade has amply supported such efforts. Non-governmental organisations and research enhance ongoing processes with essential intellectual input.
Building resilience by empowering individuals in communities is a key
process in bottom-up growth. Capacity development comes in many shapes and sizes, but a critical factor is giving people a sense of personal belonging, ownership and collaboration.
For the crises of the here and now will pale besides the ones to come if you layer on top of them, the climate and looming natural re- source scarcity crises on a planet of 6 billion, expected to rise to over 9 billion by 2050. When the financial crisis occurred, employment was already a global major challenge, with 1.3 billion people under or un-employed, and another half a billion young people worldwide poised to join the job market over the next 10 years.
But though we cannot disregard the crises, something quite fundamental has also been happening in many countries, developed and developing alike.
The last 12 months have seen a markedly different discourse, and a set of responses
A new deal for a resource- efficient and Green Economy
By Achim Steiner
If the recent food, fuel, financial and eco- nomic crises have taught us anything it is that narrow definitions and objectives for growth are unlikely to serve society well in the 21st century. Indeed, unless we put the green into growth we are in danger of repeating the mis- takes of the past which have led in large part to the current economic crisis and have pushed millions back into hunger and poverty.
that indicate a willingness to seize the op- portunity to drive tomorrow’s development by making the transition towards a Green Economy – if only we can hold our collective nerve and stick with it.
The multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages have served as adrenaline shots to save the ailing global economy for the time being. But some nations and regions, from Japan to China and the United States to Europe and Mexico are going beyond this – investing sig- nificant slices to revive economic activity that are expected to emerge fitter, leaner, healthier and with a smaller ecological footprint.
In short they are factoring in the broader eco- nomic, social and environmental opportuni- ties possible via a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient development path. Take the Republic of South Korea – if you look at the stimulus there, the range of environmen- tal investments and the systematic approach involving the public and the private sector, then perhaps this is the most comprehensive Green Growth package of them all.
South Korea’s green deals target investment in renewable energy and transport but also ecosystems including freshwater and forests.
The close to $40 billion green stimulus is also expected to generate 1 million jobs by 2012 in areas from clean technology to natural resource management.
Meanwhile UNEP launched its annual glob- al trends report under its Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative (SEFI) in June 2009. This report confirmed that investment in renew- ables in 2008 was $155 billion, higher for the first time than investment in new fossil fuel generation, at $110 billion. Investment in renewables was up from only about $35 billion in 2004. How many economists in the 1990s would have predicted such a turn-around? And by far the largest growth was not in the developed economies, but in China and India.
Other highlights, showing progress towards a Green Economy future include:
A On World Environment Day 2009, President Calderon announced that Mexico
was taking on voluntary greenhouse gas emission cuts of 50 million tonnes of C02 a year or a reduction of around 8%. He also announced that, with the right financing in place, this could rise to a reduction of close to 16%.
Sept 2009 32 pages
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