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Tag Archives: Green economy

Post Rio+20 – the path towards the actual Green Economy.


English: Graph showing Human Development Index...

English: Graph showing Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint. The “sustainable” criteria of ecological footprint within global capacity, and human development index above 0.8, is shaded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the eve and post Rio+20 UNFCCC meet a lot of things happened which needs to be understood for its far reaching implications in the near future. Highlighted below are a few paragraphs –

The world’s fixation on economic growth ignores a rapid and largely irreversible trend of natural resources depletion that will seriously harm future generations, according to a newly released report that unveils a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability.

On 17 June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the Rio+20 Summit), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and partners launched the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012.(IWR 2012)

The IWI report examined changes in the combined wealth of twenty countries, which together account for almost three quarters of global GDP, from 1990 to 2008. Despite reporting a growth in GDP Brazil, China, South Africa and the United States were shown to have significantly depleted their natural capital including fossil fuels, forests and fisheries.

Around the same time a letter was published at the Rio+20 Summit.The Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by The Climate Group and a range of partners from the public and private sectors that calls for a ‘green growth’ push out of global recession. The letter, says: “By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion. At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The ‘Clean Revolution’ is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.” It will be a new Industrial Revolution – Tony Blair.

The attempt to have subsidies removed all together from fossil fuel was the first  step in the right direction. It was bound to fail, but that itself is a success. Because never before so many groups from such diverse back ground could raise the collective voice against the fossil fuel lobby and be heard.

English: Created in Photoshop, based on "...

English: Created in Photoshop, based on “Sustainable development” diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What must be understood is that to have a resurgent economy, one must have the resources in place. And today, the World has an historic opportunity to remove inequality. Today we do not, other than in theory; have a developed against a developing world. Because once we change the indices which measures development and growth, it is the “least developed” and “emerging economies” which have more Natural wealth than some of the developed Nations who have over exploited their own.

However, the developed Nations like the EU & the USA, Japan, Russia, Australia and others have enormous technological advancement and knowledge base, which should be exchanged in fair-value for equitable distribution of the Earth’s Natural resources. And at the same time efforts must be made to replenish what is possible. It is indeed a fantastic time to do business which by default has to be sustainable because there are no options left. The best part is the large conglomerates and corporations survival depends on continued and constant supply of raw material for production. And they will ensure that Sustainability in all form of modern living is applied. It would be done either with partnership or coercion.

The call for going beyond material wealth to gauge our well-being and make sure that well-being is achievable and sustainable for future generations has long appeared in much of the sustainable development, environmental, and ecological economics literature, significantly less in economics and development literature. The present pre-occupation with the Green Economy, we fear, will not provide the change we seek if we do not address the fundamental problem of what precisely we are measuring and the indicators we need to develop. 

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These words in the IWR 2012, underscores the changing mindsets of the economies which have an impact in this World. And it would be well for all Nations to adapt and adopt measures which lead to an age and era where history will define it as the Golden Age of Mankind, when generating wealth would no more mean accumulation of riches which are intrinsic in nature but have the true resonance of Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals .

 

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The World Environment Day!- and the customary Lip service.


The World Environment Day; it really warms my heart to see how the World has geared up to the challenges of Global Warming and Climate Change. In our busy schedule of raping and ripping the World apart and hurtling headlong towards Armageddon, with a 3.5 °C rise in temperature, we have the grace to give one full day in a Year to it. And for those who complain it is not enough we have The Earth Day & The Earth Hour. Come on, you can’t have the same program, agenda or even the same name a full 3 times in a year! Get real, the TRP’s would fall, and the newsprint copies would not sell, because the writers can’t think of saying anything new within such short spell. It needs a full year to put the spin on the same old promises, so that they seem fresh and appealing. So if you pick up any newspaper or watch the News, chances are that a mention on World Environment day, would be on the 10th page or a 90 sec mention would feature in your prime time news. As for an advertisement in your favourite entertainment channel. No chance.

When it comes to informing the uninformed, awaking the populace from slumber, while the juggernaut of catastrophe is hurtling towards us, read the SREX report and Stern Review, for details and understand the seriousness therein. The media, sadly, is still not waking up to the challenge and its duty to spread this information.

Sometime ago the 4th annual Greenathon; a program on spreading the message on Sustainability was conducted by NDTV. It is a hugely popular program and is very successful, at least for us climate lovers. But even in my housing colony, I could not find a single person who had heard of this in the last 4 years. And my housing society has some of the most educated lot of people who watch News regularly. I did not bother to ask the children, the average age being 13. NDTV is a NEWS channel which conducts its program in English, which is not the native tongue for most Indians. However, Greenathon is a popular program and  for most of us who are one way or other been attached with all things Green watch it with dedication. And a lot does get done through this program. Some of our film actors take up villages and donate money to provide it them with Solar lamps and spread knowledge about other things Green.

Satellite image of ship tracks, clouds created...

Satellite image of ship tracks, clouds created by the exhaust of ship smokestacks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what it does for the whole year post the Greenathon ? Well, not much because as I had said earlier, I do not see any programs which are spreading awareness about climate change in a consistent manner in India. And that is unless the 4th Estate makes a determined effort to spread the message in a consistent and continued manner, spread over all the 52 weeks in a year, we shall not be able to make much headway. And NDTV by itself may not be able to spread this message to every nook and corner of this country fast enough, in my opinion. If one logs on to the  NDTV website, it can not find a link named “Green”, and this is the missing link in what should not  have been, especially when there is so much fanfare in showcasing it.

And no you can not find that the link Green in CNN nor in BBC web pages either.

But if one opens the home page of MSN the guys who run the famous “hotmail.com” you would find a link called “Green” in it with very relevant stories.

The Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO 2 concentr...

The Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO 2 concentrations measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everyone types green, in the search area to find what both CNN’s Road to Rio or NDTV’s Greenathon is upto. What it shows is, that while there may be some very serious persons who are driving these programs, it is more of a personal agenda than a norm; else why not a direct link in the main ribbon of the home page? And if premier NEWS and information channels, whose opinions are taken very seriously around the World have such half-hearted and almost apologetic approach towards Climate change, how would we be able to make an impact? There is no denying of the Pen is always mightier than the Sword; and the reach and depth of penetration the NEWS channels have, especially the good ones, can not be explained in words. This half hearted approach, is disappointing.  It is not enough to write an article and a TV program once in a while but the World media and press should make a concerted effort in spreading this information daily.

Just as a Horoscope or a Cartoon strip, small news with links for further read should be showcased in every Newsprint in the first page itself  365 days. And most importantly have them translated into regional languages.

It is perhaps only then we may just have a fighting chance before the SREX report and Stern review becomes a frightening reality.

It is time to speak about our planet everyday and help in keeping its heart beating.

 

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What is Agenda 21


The environmental movement might be said to have begun centuries ago as a response to industrialization. As universal concern about the healthy and sustainable use of the planet and its resources continued to grow, the UN, in 1972, convened the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm.

Picking up on the energy generated by the Conference, the General Assembly, in December 1972, established the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which leads the efforts of the United Nations family on behalf of the global environment.  Its current priorities are environmental aspects of disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, harmful substances, resource efficiency, and climate change.
In 1988, UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) came together to create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has become the pre-eminent global source for scientific information relating to climate change.  The main international instrument on this subject, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992.  And its Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was adopted in 1997.
In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002, to take stock of achievements, challenges and new issues arising since the 1992 Earth Summit. It was an “implementation” Summit, designed to turn the goals, promises and commitments of Agenda 21 into concrete, tangible actions.
2005 -2014 is  the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development  and Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
The Green Economy Report, to be published in late 2010, uses economic analysis and modeling  approaches to demonstrate that greening the economy across a range of sectors can drive economic recovery and growth and lead to future prosperity and job creation, while at the same time addressing social inequalities and environmental challenges. Supported by UNEP’s expert guidance, countries can make sound policy, technology, and investment choices that reduce emissions and drive sustainable social and economic development. From assisting in the deployment and scaling up of cutting-edge clean technologies to helping remove financial and other barriers to transforming energy generation, UNEP helps developing countries to capitalize on the transition to the Green Economy.
Over the last quarter of a century, the world economy has quadrupled, benefiting hundreds of millions of people. In contrast, however, 60% of the world’s major ecosystem goods and services that underpin livelihoods have been degraded or used unsustainably. Indeed, this is because the economic growth of recent decades has been accomplished mainly through drawing down natural resources, without allowing stocks to regenerate, and through allowing widespread ecosystem degradation and loss.
For instance, today only 20% of commercial fish stocks, mostly of low priced species, are underexploited, 52% are fully exploited with no further room for expansion, about 20% are overexploited and 8% are depleted. Water is becoming scarce and water stress is projected to increase with water supply satisfying only 60% of world demand in 20 years; agriculture saw increasing yields primarily due to the use of chemical fertilizers, which have reduced soil quality and failed to curb the growing trend of deforestation – remaining at 13 million hectares  of forest per year in 1990-2005. Ecological scarcities are therefore seriously affecting the entire gamut of economic sectors, which are the bedrock of human food supply (fisheries, agriculture, freshwater, forestry) and a critical source of livelihoods for the poor. And ecological scarcity and social inequity are definitional signatures of an economy which is very far from being “green”.
Meanwhile, for the first time in history, more than half of the world population lives in urban areas. Cities now account for 75% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. Rising and related problems of congestion, pollution, and poorly provisioned services affect the productivity and health of all, but fall particularly hard on the urban poor. With approximately 50% of the global population now living in emerging economies that are rapidly urbanizing and will experience rising income and purchasing power over the next years – and a tremendous expansion in urban infrastructure – the need for smart city planning is paramount.
Note: This article has been created from various UN publications.
 

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