Although the concept of green economy is still debated, many organizations now have a shared understanding of the concept. At the most basic level, a green economy is one that generates increasing..
The energy sector plays a key role in climate change whose costs in terms of adaptation are estimated to reach US$50-170 billion per year by 2030, half of which is to be borne by developing countries, having an adverse effect on the poor masses. In the era of falling economies and recession, unemployment remains high. Fossil fuels are under increased scrutiny, and governments are looking to cut costs. These underwhelming realities have shifted the attention of governments toward the feasibility and employment potential of the green community. Several national studies done over a period of time have concluded that green investments tend to be more employment intensive at least in the short to medium term which can even be translated into higher employment levels provided that wages and labour productivity are conducive to growth opportunities.
Although the concept of green economy is still debated, many organizations now have a shared understanding of the concept. At the most basic level, a green economy is one that generates increasing prosperity by creating jobs without causing environmental damage and maintaining the natural systems that sustain us. In simple terms, green economy is the sector that produces goods and services with an aim of advancing economic, environmental and social well-being. United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) defines green economy as an economic development model based on sustainable development and knowledge of ecological economics that aims to improve human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. The green economy offers a bridge towards sustainable development with the help of wind energy, solar, hydropower, biomass energy, public mass transit, and waste management & treatment.
Though policies across the nations still favour fossil fuels, nonetheless, government support, either direct or indirect, has been a key driving force of how costs and returns on investment. Thus, broader and stronger implementation of enabling conditions for renewable energy stands to improve investment opportunities. UNEP’s report ‘Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’ is a milestone in the international discussion on a more sustainable development path. The report not only underlines the threat and the challenge, but it also holds out hope for a greener future if the right choices are made as time beckons.
Green economy has the potential to attract huge financials and the best social entrepreneurship. Several countries have set glaring examples by adopting national green growth or low carbon economic strategies, but the transition to a Green Economy in the real sense has a long way to go and needs a lot of effort from policy makers across the globe. There is need for increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the total energy production and consumption. There is need to emphasise on true international cooperation, especially in mobilizing political will to make sustainable development a reality.
The biggest question that keeps on raising its head in the context of green economy is that of affordability and durability. The path towards green economy is especially challenging for developing countries. For them, combating poverty and the lack of basic human needs remain a priority. Some countries, though willing to embrace green economy, feel that they are lagging in green technology
know-how and therefore will be at a competitive disadvantage in the race for future markets. These are all legitimate concerns that deserve attention. However, it is important to ensure that these countries can also benefit from the opportunities presented. Transitioning to a green economy will require a fundamental shift in thinking about growth and development, production of goods and services, and consumer habits.