Investing one-third of the roughly $2.5 trillion planned stimulus funds in “greening” the global economy will give a large boost to efforts to lift the world out of recession, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
The estimated $750 million – or some 1% of current global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – could spur significant returns, including stimulating innovation and job growth, slashing greenhouse gas emissions and making strides towards curbing poverty.
The UN News Service says the 154-page “Global Green New Deal” report – written in consultation with experts from over two dozen UN and external organisations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank – was released as more than 100 Environment Ministers have converged in Nairobi, Kenya, for UNEP’s four-day Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which began yesterday.
“Spent wisely and creatively [the stimulus funds] offer the chance to deal with the today”s immediate crises and begin focusing and framing a response to those on the horizon from future food shortages, natural resource scarcity, energy security and climate change,” said the agency’s Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The new publication “represents an opportunity to accelerate towards innovation-led, low carbon, low waste Green Economy societies with decent employment prospects for many more millions of people,” he added.
The Republic of Korea is putting nearly $40 billion – or 3 per cent of its GDP – towards its Green New Deal, which could generate almost 1 million new jobs, the report said.
For its part, China is expected to spend close to $600 billion on a fiscal stimulus package, of which it will dedicate $140 billion – just under 2 per cent of its GDP – for green investments, adding to its $17 billion renewable energy sector which already employs some 1 million people.
The United States will direct almost 1 per cent of its stimulus funds towards environmental restoration, making federal office buildings more energy-efficient, creating a smart power grid and other green measures.
Also issued at the Nairobi gathering was the UNEP Year Book 2009, which stresses the critical need for switching to a low-carbon green economy, spotlighting worrying trends, such as over 2 billion tonnes being generated worldwide annually and the number of cars on the road forecasted to double to 1.3 billion by 2050.
But the Year Book also pointed out green progress being made, including the projected 30-40 per cent drop in emissions in the construction industry.