A global green New Deal : UNEP iniative

As stock markets keep on going down and down, there is still hope. Indeed, the UNEP launches a green economy initiative to get the global markets back to work.

This represents a possible turnaround from our growth model based on the depletion of natural resources and ecosystems and thus a more sustainable development.

Years ago, President Roosevelt launched the New Deal as the USA were in economic turmoil. It is time we do the same. Solutions exist : let’s apply them !

Here are some extracts of their press release :

Mobilizing and re-focusing the global economy towards investments in clean technologies and ‘natural’ infrastructure such as forests and soils is the best bet for real growth, combating climate change and triggering an employment boom in the 21st century.

The call was made today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and leading economists as they launched the Green Economy Initiative aimed at seizing an historic opportunity to bring about tomorrow’s economy today.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The financial, fuel and food crises of 2008 are in part a result of speculation and a failure of governments to intelligently manage and focus markets”.

“But they are also part of a wider market failure triggering ever deeper and disturbing losses of natural capital and nature-based assets coupled with an over-reliance of finite, often subsidized fossil fuels,” he said.

(…) Mr Steiner said there was a crucial and urgent need to bring creative, forward-looking and ‘transformational thinking’ into next month’s Financing for Development Review Conference-taking place in Doha,Qatar.

Other critical dates rapidly coming up in the international calendar include a proposed financial crisis summit of the G8+5, called for by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the next round of UN climate convention negotiations in Poznan, Poland in December.

“Transformative ideas need to be discussed and transformative decisions taken. The alternative is more boom and bust cycles; a climate-stressed world and a collapse of fish stocks and fertile soils up to forest ecosystems.

(…) Pavan Sukdhev, a senior banker from Deutsche Bank who is seconded to UNEP to lead the research, said:”The economic models of the 20th century are now hitting the limits of what is possible – possible in terms of delivering better livelihoods for the 2.6 billion people still living on less than $2 a day and possible in terms of our ecological footprint”.

“Investments will soon be pouring back into the global economy – the question is whether they go into the old, extractive, short-term economy of yesterday or a new green economy that will deal with multiple challenges while generating multiple economic opportunities for the poor and the well-off alike,” he said.

The new report aims to help governments make better choices and send the right market signals to investors, entrepreneurs and consumers world-wide so “we move from mining the planet to managing and re-investing in it,” said Mr Steiner.

(…) It highlighted the economic magnitude of “business – as-usual” losses, and drew strong links between ecosystem & biodiversity losses and the persistence of poverty.

The Green Economy initiative has three pillars – valuing and mainstreaming nature’s services into national and international accounts; employment generation through green jobs and the laying out the policies; instruments and market signals able to accelerate a transition to a Green Economy.

Five Priority Sectors Underpinning a Global Green New Deal

The five sectors likely to generate the biggest transition in terms of economic returns; environmental sustainability and job creation are:-

  • Clean energy and clean technologies including recycling
  • Rural energy, including renewables and sustainable biomass
  • Sustainable agriculture, including organic agriculture
  • Ecosystem Infrastructure
  • Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)
  • Sustainable cities including planning, transportation and green building

(…) From 1981 to 2005, the global GDP more than doubled, in contrast to the 60% of the world’s ecosystems being degraded or used in an unsustainable manner.

(…) A recent assessment by UNEP also concluded that a dramatic phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies could cut greenhouse gas emissions by some six per cent by boosting energy efficiency. (note : cf. this article)

To conclude this long post, I would like to remind you that earlier this month, the same UNEP published a report on green jobs. Defitively worth reading if you enjoyed this post.

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