Investing $1.3 trillion – or 2% of global GDP – in “green” initiatives in 10 key sectors will spur significant economic growth in the long run, according to a report released today by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
The report, released today in Nairobi, Kenya at the annual meeting of UNEP’s governing council, says there will be some short-term pain – jobs lost, and GDP dropping – in transitioning to a ‘green’ economy, which favours low-carbon activities that use over-exploited natural resources (such as water and forests) more efficiently. But in the end such changes would be “far less disruptive than a world running low on drinking water and productive land, set against the backdrop of climate change, extreme weather events and rising natural resource scarcities,” it says.
Like a pruned plant, this pared-back sustainable economy would eventually blossom, boosting GDP growth rates beyond business-as-usual levels within 5-10 years.
The report is meant as a primer for policy makers in the lead up to the fourth Earth Summit, called Rio+20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, which intends to focus on establishing a green economy.