‘Green economy’ achievable, says UN report

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A UN Environment Programme report has revealed how a ‘green economy’ can be achieved if “just 2% of global GDP” is invested in “10 key sectors”. Alex Blackburne has more.

A low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive green future” is in our midst. This is according to the latest findings by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UNEP’s report, called Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, states how “just 2% of global GDP” needs to be invested in 10 specific sectors, for the world’s ‘green economy’ dreams to be realised.

Investment in “agriculture, energy, buildings, water, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing, waste, tourism and transport would not only shift the global economy onto a more sustainable growth trajectory, but it would actually maintain or increase growth over time compared to the current business-as-usual scenario”, the UN says.

The report states that investment in these sectors would not sacrifice performance, with the global economy expected to grow at the same rate – if not higher – than current forecasts.

Whilst some sectors would experience job losses under the plan, the long-term benefits – both in terms of job prospects and environmental effects – would far outweigh the existing investment plan.

The elements of a transition to a Green Economy are clearly emerging across developing and developed countries alike”, said UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNEP, Achim Steiner.

There are now some nations going further and faster than others which is in many ways generating a ‘pull factor’ that, if maintained, may bring others along over the coming months and years.”

China currently leads the way in terms of renewable energy investment, with some $49 billion spent throughout the sector in 2010.

Other countries, such as Barbados, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa, have already taken steps to introduce a national Green Economy plan in line with the UNEP’s findings.

Meanwhile, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kenya, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Senegal and Ukraine are also putting a lot of their investment emphasis on a handful of the key sectors described by the UNEP.

To view the report in full, click here.

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