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‘Green’ investment to boost anti-recession efforts: UNEP

‘Green’ investment to boost anti-recession efforts: UNEP

New York: Investing one-third of the roughly $2.5 trillion planned stimulus funds globally in “greening" the world economy will boost efforts to lift the world out of recession, a new United Nations report has said.

The estimated $750 million — or some 1% of current global GDP — could spur significant returns, including stimulating innovation and job growth, slashing greenhouse gas emissions and making strides towards curbing poverty, it said.

The “Global Green New Deal" report — written in consultation with experts from over two dozen UN and external organisations, including the IMF and the World Bank — was released as over 100 Environment Ministers converged in Nairobi for the UN Environment Programme’s four-day Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

“Spent wisely and creatively (the stimulus funds) offer the chance to deal with 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 UNEP’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.

South Korea is putting nearly $40 billion — or 3% of its GDP — towards its Green New Deal, which could generate almost one million new jobs, the report said.

China is expected to spend close to $600 billion on a fiscal stimulus package, of which it will dedicate $140 billion — just under 2% of its GDP — for green investments, adding to its $17 billion renewable energy sector which already employs some one million people, it said.

Besides, the US will direct almost 1% 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 forecast to double to 1.3 billion by 2050.

But the Year Book also pointed out green progress being made, including the projected 30 to 40% drop in emissions in the construction industry.

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