A Green Economy follows an economic model in which business and infrastructure are reconfigured to deliver better returns on natural, human and economic capital1
Actions that can contribute to this include introducing measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient and thoughtful use of natural resources, and reduced social disparities. Ideally, a green economy is one in which economic growth is decoupled from environmental impacts and or resource use, including the consumption of land, material and energy resources.
To date, energy use and economic growth have been closely linked. As Figure 2.1 shows, there is a linear relationship between energy consumption and wealth as measured in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nations.
In building a green economy, the energy sector has a different part to play by replacing fossil fuel with low- carbon options. It may also contribute to implementing a green-economy strategy incorporating greater energy-efficiency and renewable energy sources. These are key approaches in supporting growth in GDP, whilst avoiding a continuation of the linear relation to energy demand. Biofuels are among the potential low-carbon options. And they provide, particularly in many developing countries, scope for harnessing biomass resources and the agricultural sector to develop indigenous industries.
1. The UNEP Green Economy Report released in February 2011, outlines the public policy options , urgent actions and investments needed to a global ‘Green Economy’ – one that is low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive.
Figure 2.1 Wealth of nations and energy consumption 9