backback backeconomy... ecoglobe basics "Green Economy", "Green New Deal", etc...
UNEP's Money plant.... A "Green Economy" is supposed to be better for the environment, or reduce the negative impacts of our activities.
A "New Green Deal", as promoted by UNEP, also aims to increase human well-being, reduce social inequalities, enhance nature, reduce scarcities, and produce "sustainable economic growth".
The image on the left was taken from a UNEP policy document. But... Money doesn't grow, of course. So it's probably meant to say that investments can enhance nature. Or is the tree sprouting despite the impact of the money economy?
We denote serious flaws and contradictions in the "Green Economy" and "New Green Deal" concepts and their feasibility.
We chose the UNEP, from among many others, to discuss the "Green Economy" because it is the United Nations Environment Programme that has the intergovernmental, specific mission to protect the environment for us and our children [UNEP's mission].
UNEP wants to "improve our quality of life, without compromising that of future generations," a variant of the Brundtland Agenda 21 definition. The economists of UNEP appear firmly committed to the idea that a higher quality of life must be attained by economic growth, although "quality" can be addressed in other, less resource-depleting ways.

Professor Barbier The UNEP's notions of a "green economy" appear being largely based upon a research paper that the UNEP commissioned to an economics professor, Edward B Barbier, from the American University of Wyoming.
UNEP turned this into their "New Green Deal" initiative.
UNEP's policies are also firmly embedded in the ideologies of so-called "free trade" and globalisation. This is a small wonder since most leaders at UNEP are economists, rather than environmental scientists.

UNEP's "Green New Deal"

UNEP claims, in this poster from December 2009, what their models are:
  • The economy can grow, the population can probably continue to grow;
  • The quality of the environment can grow more than the economy;
  • Resource use slightly decreases;
  • The impact on the environment is reduced.
    What UNEP is talking about....This can all happen, UNEP says, simultaneously, without "burden shifting."

    The time frame is left open, but over time the improvements are accelerating, it the graph suggests.

    Unfortunately, we fail to understand how we could grow, become taller, without using more material resources, more energy, more water, more land, without further depleting non-renewables, without impacting more on biodiversity, and without emitting more greenhouse gases.

    [UNEP's green economy resource site Barbier's report]

    Facts are:
  • Growth is measured as economic growth, and accounted as increase of GDP - Gross Domestic Product, from one year to another. The GDP counts all paid goods and services produced in one year. For practically all good s and services, except for artwork with a large emotional value, there exists a direct relationship between resource use and value of the product. Therefore, a motor car or a holiday trip that costs 20000 dollars represent resources used to that amount.
  • "Decoupling" of resource use from GDP growth is impossible. Economists claim that increased material efficiency and technological devopments would lead to this "decoupling." This is in direct conflict with the GDP accounting, because increased material efficiency will reduce the amount of materials needed and thereby reduce the GDP for that year in comparison to the previous period.
  • Technology can - at face value - appear to reduce environmental impacts, by water purification systems, smoke scrubbers, etc. But technology requires resources. The useful effect of technology decreases with the degree of purification that is obtained. The wastes from the purification processes often represent another environmental problem.
  • Technology is predominently a factor that increases the speed of environmental depletion, part of the equasion I = P x A x T.
  • "Green Technology" is defined as
  • "Green" technology is supposed to deal with greenhouse gas emissions and simultanuously produce economic growth and workplaces.

  • under development (November 2010) > click to comment


  • UNEP's Mission Statement:
      "United Nations Environment Programme - environment for development"
      "To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations." [21.11.2010 Mission statement]
    UNEP appears to be focusing on issues that do not fall within their immediate mission. Many documents and stements of UNEP's staff deal with financial issues and economic growth.
    UNEP appears being captured by economists' thinking patterns, mixing social and economic desirabilities with hopes and expectations of technological progress and inventions.
    Environmental science and reality are frequently clouded by economic terminology, lacking scientific inquiry.
    A prime example of unwarranted technocratic hopes and illusions are the Kyoto Protocal's mechanisms to mitigate climate change. ...(...)
    ecoglobe "basics" represent an ecological viewpoint,
    striving for the highest possible scientific validity.
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    GREEN economy
    Driving a Green Economy Through Public Finance and Fiscal Policy Reform
    Executive Summary

    A green economy (GE) can be defined as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. A GE is characterized by substantially increased investments in economic sectors that build on and enhance the Earth’s natural capital or reduce ecological scarcities and environmental risks. These sectors include renewable energy, low-carbon transport, energy-efficient buildings, clean technologies, improved waste management, improved freshwater provision, sustainable agriculture and forest management, and sustainable fisheries. These investments are driven or supported by national policy reforms and the development of international policy and market infrastructure. top top

    Achieving a transition to a GE has become a priority for many governments. It will require substantial policy reforms at the international, national and local levels in order to help realize the economic opportunities arising from a shift to less polluting or resource efficient patterns of production and consumption, including new sources of employment. It also implies managing related structural changes including, for example, potentially adverse effects on traditional economic sectors underlying the “brown” economy.
    A GE sets new priorities for macroeconomic policy, with growth being generated by economic sectors that are critical or highly material for greening the global economy. A portfolio of fiscal, regulatory and information-based policy measures will likely be required to promote an effective and fair transition to a GE. Such a portfolio will need to be carefully coordinated to ensure measures are complementary and neither counteract each other nor generate unintended consequences.
    Fiscal policy plays a critical role in a GE. The means by which tax revenues are generated has a fundamental effect on the structure of incentives facing businesses and households, in both consumption and investment decisions. Secondly, how government spends these revenues not only on recurrent costs, but also investments in public infrastructure or supporting technology development, plays a critical role in shaping the path of economic development.
    Effective policy implementation requires cooperation across different parts of government, particularly finance and environment departments. Building relevant administrative capacity, for example in environment as well as customs and revenue agencies, is also likely to be an important dimension, particularly in developing countries. A well-designed set of indicators can help assess interactions between the environment and the economy, and evaluate progress towards a GE.
    Available evidence suggests past environmental tax reforms have often been successful in improving environmental sustainability in specific sectors. A GE needs to be based on a broader and more robust implementation including, for example, through more systematic taxation of fossil-fuel-based energy and other natural resources. Environmentally-related charges currently raise only modest amounts of revenue in many countries, but could potentially make a major contribution to restoring fiscal positions in many countries, provided any compensation arrangements are carefully targeted. Indeed, many developing countries are highly dependent on natural resource tax revenues.
    Green subsidies are likely to be less effective than pollution pricing measures, but well-targeted, transitional measures may facilitate the shift towards a GE in cases where market barriers and positive social spillovers clearly exist, or where there are technical or political obstacles to the alternatives.
    Reforming environmentally harmful subsidies—which fuel unsustainable economic activity, are fiscally expensive, and often confer limited benefits on poor households—should be a key priority, particularly in the agriculture, energy, fisheries, forest and water sectors. Better information on the magnitude and distributional consequences of such programmes could help with designing and implementing more effective transitional measures.
    Finally, direct public expenditure has a key role in promoting more sustainable economic growth, including through cleaner infrastructure provision, support for research and development in environmental technologies. Indirect support, for example through different forms of public guarantees, may also help leverage green investment by households and firms.
    In sum, both fiscal policy and public finance can be key drivers of a country’s transition to a greener economy—or a brake on green growth and low carbon job creation. This paper explores the linkage and options available to policy-makers considering ways to drive and accelerate the transition to lower-carbon, more resource-efficient and socially-inclusive economic growth.

    Contacts for further information:
    Pavan Sukhdev Study Leader, TEEB & Project Leader, Green Economy Initiative Tel. 044-1223 814613
    Steven Stone Chief, Economics and Trade Branch Division of Technology, Industry and Economics Tel. 049-22 917 8179
    Source: downloaded 3 November 2010. up up