6 June 2012

Building a true green economy


Building a true green economy

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Author(s): Sunita Narain
Date: Jun 5, 2012
The world has to reinvent growth as it is costing it the Earth
June 5, the World Environment Day, is meant to celebrate the idea of the environment and put it into practice. It is a day to take stock of where we stand and where we should be headed in future.
The theme for Environment Day 2012 is green economy. Unfortunately, “green economy”, which is fast replacing “sustainable development”, means different things to different people. Put on a little green colour and hope that the delusion of a lasting solution to the problems of the world is maintained. In this approach there is a belief that the current market-based, capitalist-enterprise system will find answers as we go along. That the answers will lie in doing more of what is being done today—growth, based on consumption, which will stimulate technology innovation for the future green economy.
But this misses the point that the world is creaking under its own weight. It faces new challenges, all of which are potentially devastating and inter-related. On the one hand, is the nightmare of financial meltdown, which in spite of public investments and increasingly stringent financial regulations, is not going away. On the other hand, each year, with seemingly increased intensity and ferocity, different regions of the globe are lashed by natural disasters and freak and extreme weather conditions. It is clear that these extreme weather events are devastating large parts of the world and are combining to make the poor even more poor and vulnerable. It is difficult to say if each event can be directly attributed to climate change. But it is easy to conclude that something is afoot in the world, and that, maybe, this is the beginning of the impacts of climate change, which science has so surely predicted will occur exactly in this manner.
The challenge of green economy is that the world has to reinvent the growth paradigm because it is costing it growth itself. Indeed, it is costing it the Earth.
Public debt crisis and nature's debt crisis
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