UNEP Green Economy Reprt – 2011

the complete pdf version of this very important but rather lengthy report [626 pages – 21 MB] by the United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] is available at their website http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/v2/GreenEconomyReport/tabid/29846/Default.aspx for download.

BusinessGreen, "a (british) business web site offering companies the latest news and best-practice advice on how to become more environmentally responsible, while still growing the all-important bottom line", has an excellent summary of the UNEP’s Green Economy Report, below.

will our policy makers at dilli and the state capitals pay some attention?????

no surprise that the report was NOT exactly front-page newsworthy in the desi media….



21 Feb 2011, BusinessGreen staff , BusinessGreen
Dong Energy Burbo wind farm

The United Nations Environment Programme today released a ground-breaking new report challenging the misconception that investment in green technologies and business models harms the economy by arguing that the exact opposite is true.

Titled Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, the lengthy report (the synthesis for policy-makers alone runs to 52 pages) outlines an economic growth path up to 2050 that would deliver GDP growth while keeping atmospheric concentrations of CO2 equivalent below 450 parts per million.

It concludes that this green global economy would deliver higher growth in GDP and GDP per capita than business as usual while mitigating many of the risks associated with climate change, resource shortages and environmental damage.

BusinessGreen runs down the report’s main conclusions and recommendations:

"Investing just two per cent of global GDP into ten key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy"

The report calculates that the cost of shifting to a green growth economy stands at just two per cent of GDP, about US$1.3 trillion [INR 58.5 lakh crores] at current levels, which should be spread across 10 key sectors: agriculture, buildings, energy, fisheries, forests, manufacturing, tourism, transport, water and waste management.

Two per cent of GDP sounds like a lot but, as the report notes, it is a fraction of total gross capital formation, which accounts for around 22 per cent of GDP.

Green growth can be achieved by simply switching investment from damaging projects and industries to greener alternatives.

"Greening the economy not only generates growth, and in particular gains in natural capital, but it also produces a higher growth in GDP and GDP per capita"

The report’s central conclusion is that a green economy is simply better than business as usual. "A green economy creates jobs and economic progress, while at the same time avoiding considerable downside risks such as the effects of climate change, greater water scarcity and the loss of ecosystem services," it states.

Moreover, the higher annual growth rates delivered by the green economy can be delivered within just five to 10 years, meaning the initial cost of the transition can be covered relatively quickly as a result of improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in environmental damage.

The green economy will create more jobs than it loses

"In a transition to a green economy, new jobs will be created, which over time will exceed the losses in ‘brown economy’ jobs," the report states.

It accepts that adopting sustainable business practices will lead to short- to medium-term job losses in some sectors, such as fisheries, and as such retraining programmes will be required. But overall sustainable business models are more labour-intensive than the practices they will replace leading to net job creation.

The transition can be paid for by axing harmful subsidies

Environmentally harmful subsidies for the energy, water, fisheries and agricultural sectors amount to between one and two per cent of global GDP. The amount of investment required to kick-start the green economic transition equals two per cent.

As the report states, simply reprioritising government investment and spending will "open fiscal space and free resources for a green economic transition".

"A green economy can contribute to poverty alleviation"

Far from damaging development efforts, the transition to a green economy would accelerate poverty alleviation efforts by better protecting the ecosystem services upon which poorer communities tend to rely.

The green economy can be built using proven policy interventions

Relatively simple policy measures have the potential to unleash the green investment that is required. These include green government procurement policies, green taxes on damaging products, investment in training and transition programmes, and regulations that limit spending that damages natural capital.

The green economic transition is already happening

Despite the recession, investment in clean energy reached a record $180-200 bn in 2010, up from $162 bn in 2009 – though investment in that year had fallen slightly from $173bn in 2008.

Significantly, much of the growth is coming from non-OECD countries such as Brazil, China and India who have recognised the threats presented by climate change and are mobilising investment to tackle emissions far faster than many developed economies.

In short, "the green economy is expected to generate as much growth and employment – or more – compared to the current business as usual scenario, and it outperforms economic projections in the medium and long term, while yielding significantly more environmental and social benefits."



United Nations Environment Programme

environment for development

Green Economy Initiative

Green Economy Report

Green Economy Synthesis Report Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

The Report is compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative in collaboration with economists and experts worldwide. It demonstrates that the greening of economies is not generally a drag on growth but rather a new engine of growth; that it is a net generator of decent jobs, and that it is also a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty. The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy.



Part I – Investing in natural capital





Part II – Investing in energy and resource efficiency

Renewable Energy







Part III – Supporting the transition to a global green economy


Enabling Conditions




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