UNEP report points the way to a greener economy

green economy

green economy

In its new report, UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, proposes a way to change the current resource-depleting, high carbon 'brown’ economy, into a sustainable green one. Gerry Adams has more:

Narrator: One point three trillion dollars sounds like a lot of money. But UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, says it amounts to only two percent of all the money that’s spent on goods and services in the world in one year. In a new report released today, entitled Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, the organization proposes that investing that amount into 10 key sectors annually will kick-start a transition toward a new, green economy. Christopher Bouvier, Representative for UNEP in Europe, explains:

Bouvier 1: The concept behind the new economy is to serve simultaneously three different purposes – to improve human well-being, to enhance equity and at the same time to manage natural resources sustainably and to reduce environmental risks.

Narrator: Mr. Bouvier names the 10 key sectors he says can help bring about this change:

Bouvier 2:  Agriculture, buildings, energy supply, fisheries, forestry, industry – including within the industrial parts, energy efficiency aspects – tourism, transport, waste management and water.

Narrator: Pavan Sukhdev, Head of the UNEP Green Economy Initiative, explains exactly what a “green economy” is:

Sukhdev 2: Because it does get asked, let me just state and restate our definition of a green economy, which is an economy that strives and achieves human well-being and improved social equity whilst at the same time not increasing either environmental risks or ecological scarcities.

Narrator:  The report sees a Green Economy as not only relevant to more developed nations, but as a key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication in developing ones too. Mr. Steven Stone, Chief of UNEP’s Economic and Trade Branch says an infusion of 1.3 trillion could create a paradigm shift in many aspects of human well-being and economic development:

Stone 1: So we’re talking about 10 percent more or less towards hitting policy objectives that would drive the global economy towards a stable climate, towards hitting the major MDG (Millennium Development) goals with respect to the environment, to halving deforestation, across all the sectors hitting major resource efficiency, energy efficiency and climate goals.

Narrator: Agriculture is another area that would benefit from the Green Economy methods. Mr. Sukhdev says ecologically friendly farming, such as using farm manure as a nutrient, has been practiced for thousands of years. But society’s dependence on these tried and true methods has diminished because of the injection of what he calls conventional agricultural models:

Sukhdev: The conventional agricultural model is one which is generally driven by extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, does therefore cause significant risk to human health in and around the areas of agriculture and beyond, does cause soil fertility losses and does cause…a sustainability issue with the soil that is available for agriculture. It may improve yields for short periods but its long-term implication is not necessarily an improvement of yield.

Narrator: Mr. Bouvier gives another example of the potential benefits a Green Economy. In addition to higher growth, an overall transition to a Green Economy would realize higher incomes, while reducing the ecological footprint by nearly 50 per cent in 2050, as compared to business as usual:

Bouvier 3: Once we reduce by 50 percent the ecological footprint, we also increase the quality of jobs and you will see that there are some sectors in which yes, there are some losses of jobs – fisheries, for example – for a while, until fishery stocks can be restored.

Narrator: Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication points the way to a green economy. Gerry Adams, United Nations.

duration: 4’08″

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