Green economy

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The green economy is one that results in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Also it is an economy that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. It uses the knowledge of ecological economics.[1]

A feature distinguishing it from prior economic regimes is the direct valuation of natural capital and ecological services as having economic value (see The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity and Bank of Natural Capital) and a full cost accounting regime in which costs externalized onto society via ecosystems are reliably traced back to, and accounted for as liabilities of, the entity that does the harm or neglects an asset.[citation needed]

For an overview of the developments in international environment policy that led up to the UNEP Green Economy Report, see Runnals (2011).[2]

Green Sticker and ecolabel practices have emerged as consumer facing measurements of friendliness to the environment and sustainable development. Many industries are starting to adopt these standards as a viable way to promote their greening practices in a globalizing economy.

"Green" economists and economics[edit]

"Green economics" is loosely defined as any theory of economics by which an economy is considered to be component of the ecosystem in which it resides (after Lynn Margulis). A holistic approach to the subject is typical, such that economic ideas are commingled with any number of other subjects, depending on the particular theorist. Proponents of feminism, postmodernism, the ecology movement, peace movement, Green politics, green anarchism and anti-globalization movement have used the term to describe very different ideas, all external to some equally ill-defined "mainstream" economics.[citation needed]

The use of the term is further ambiguated by the political distinction of Green parties which are formally organized and claim the capital-G "Green" term as a unique and distinguishing mark. It is thus preferable to refer to a loose school of "'green economists"' who generally advocate shifts towards a green economy, biomimicry and a fuller accounting for biodiversity. (see The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity especially for current authoritative international work towards these goals and Bank of Natural Capital for a layperson's presentation of these.)[citation needed]

Some economists view green economics as a branch or subfield of more established schools. For instance, it is regarded as classical economics where the traditional land is generalized to natural capital and has some attributes in common with labor and physical capital (since natural capital assets like rivers directly substitute for man-made ones such as canals). Or, it is viewed as Marxist economics with nature represented as a form of Lumpenproletariat, an exploited base of non-human workers providing surplus value to the human economy, or as a branch of neoclassical economics in which the price of life for developing vs. developed nations is held steady at a ratio reflecting a balance of power and that of non-human life is very low.[citation needed]

An increasing commitment by the UNEP (and national governments such as the UK) to the ideas of natural capital and full cost accounting under the banner 'green economy' could blur distinctions between the schools and redefine them all as variations of "green economics". As of 2010 the Bretton Woods institutions (notably the World Bank[3] and International Monetary Fund (via its "Green Fund" initiative) responsible for global monetary policy have stated a clear intention to move towards biodiversity valuation and a more official and universal biodiversity finance.[citation needed] Taking these into account targeting not less but radically zero emission and waste is what is promoted by the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives.[citation needed]

Definition of a Green economy[edit]

Karl Burkart defines a green economy as based on six main sectors:[4]

Environment Equitable Sustainable Bearable (Social ecology) Viable (Environmental economics) Economic Social
The three pillars of sustainability.

The Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI),[5] is published by consultancy Dual Citizen LLC. It measures both perception and performance of 27 national green economies as judged by expert practitioners and 3rd party indicators and datasets. In 2013, Dual Citizen published a white paper titled "Communications & Green Economic Growth"[6] revealing six areas where better communications and information exchange could accelerate green growth and associated cleantech investments. The GGEI (to be updated in full in 2014) measures 4 primary dimensions defining a national green economy as follows:

  1. Leadership and the extent to which national leaders are champions for green issues on the local and international stage
  2. Domestic policies and the success of policy frameworks to successfully promote renewable energy and green growth in home market
  3. Cleantech Investment and the perceived opportunities and cleantech investment climate in each country
  4. Green tourism and the level of commitment to promoting sustainable tourism through government[citation needed]

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) representing global business defines green economy as “an economy in which economic growth and environmental responsibility work together in a mutually reinforcing fashion while supporting progress on social development”.[7][8]

In 2012, the ICC published the Green Economy Roadmap, containing contributions from experts from around the globe brought together in a two year consultation process. The Roadmap represents a comprehensive and multidisciplinary effort to clarify and frame the concept of “green economy”. It highlights the essential role of business in bringing solutions to common global challenges. It sets out the following 10 conditions which relate to business/intra-industry and collaborative action for a transition towards a green economy:

  • Open and competitive markets
  • Metrics, accounting, and reporting
  • Finance and investment
  • Awareness
  • Life cycle approach
  • Resource efficiency and decoupling
  • Employment
  • Education and skills
  • Governance and partnership
  • Integrated policy and decision-making

Other issues[edit]

Green economy includes green energy generation based on renewable energy to substitute for fossil fuels and energy conservation for efficient energy use.[citation needed]

Because the market failure related to environmental and climate protection as a result of external costs, high future commercial rates and associated high initial costs for research, development, and marketing of green energy sources and green products prevents firms from being voluntarily interested in reducing environment-unfriendly activities (Reinhardt, 1999; King and Lenox, 2002; Wagner, 203; Wagner, et al., 2005), the green economy may need government subsidies as market incentives to motivate firms to invest and produce green products and services. The German Renewable Energy Act, legislations of many other member states of the European Union and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all provide such market incentives.[citation needed] However, other writers, including Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken, authors of Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, and Jay Conrad Levinson and Shel Horowitz, authors of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, argue that green strategies can be highly profitable for corporations that understand the business case for sustainability and can market green products and services beyond the traditional green consumer.

Criticisms[edit]

A number of organisations and individuals have criticised aspects of the 'Green Economy', particularly the mainstream conceptions of it based on using price mechanisms to protect nature, arguing that this will extend corporate control into new areas from forestry to water. The research organisation ETC Group argues that the corporate emphasis on bio-economy "will spur even greater convergence of corporate power and unleash the most massive resource grab in more than 500 years."[9] Venezuelan professor Edgardo Lander says that the UNEP's report, Towards a Green Economy,[10] while well-intentioned "ignores the fact that the capacity of existing political systems to establish regulations and restrictions to the free operation of the markets – even when a large majority of the population call for them – is seriously limited by the political and financial power of the corporations."[11] Ulrich Hoffmann, in a paper for UNCTAD also says that the focus on Green Economy and "green growth" in particular, "based on an evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach will not be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change" and "may rather give much false hope and excuses to do nothing really fundamental that can bring about a U-turn of global greenhouse gas emissions.[12] Clive Spash, an ecological economist, has criticised the use of economic growth to address environmental losses,[13] and argued that the Green Economy, as advocated by the UN, is not a new approach at all and is actually a diversion from the real drivers of environmental crisis.[14] He has also criticised the UN's project on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB),[15] and the basis for valuing ecosystems services in monetary terms.[16]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Inderscience.Geneva

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  • Kennet M.,and Winston Ka-Ming Mak (2012) Green Economics and Climate Change.The Green Economics Institute
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  • Kennet M., and Courea E, Pepinyte (2011) Handbook of Green Economics. The Green Economics Institute.
  • Kennet M., (2012) The Green Economics Reader. The Green Economics Institute.
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  • Kennet M., (2009) Green Economics and the Socio Ecological Transformation, in Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Occasional Papers.71. G. Krause Dietz.
  • Kennet M., (2010) Kennet, in 200 Visionaries. in Murtha. W. (2010) Red Wheel Publishers.
  • Kennet M., and Gale de Oliveira (2012) Greening the Academy. Syracuse University.
  • Kennet M., (2010) Green Economics. in Reardon J., Pluralist Education. Routledge.
  • Kennet M., and Jocuite K., (2011) Green Economics and the Age of Global Transformation. in Proceedings of the 6th Annual Oxford University Conference on Green Economics, The Green Economics Institute. Ed. K.Jociute. (2011).
  • King, Andrew; Lenox, Michael, 2002. ‘Does it really pay to be green?’ Journal of Industrial Ecology 5, 105-117.
  • Krishnan R, Harris JM, Goodwin NR. (1995). A Survey of Ecological Economics. Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-411-1, ISBN 978-1-55963-411-3.
  • Martinez-Alier, J. (1990) Ecological Economics: Energy, Environment and Society. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.
  • Martinez-Alier, J., Ropke, I. eds.(2008), Recent Developments in Ecological Economics, 2 vols., E. Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.
  • Røpke, I. (2004) The early history of modern ecological economics. Ecological Economics 50(3-4): 293-314.
  • Røpke, I. (2005) Trends in the development of ecological economics from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. Ecological Economics 55(2): 262-290.
  • Reinhardt, F. (1999) ‘Market failure and the environmental policies of firms: economic rationales for ‘beyond compliance’ behavior.’ Journal of Industrial Ecology 3(1), 9-21.
  • Spash, C. L. (1999) The development of environmental thinking in economics. Environmental Values 8(4): 413-435.
  • Vatn, A. (2005) Institutions and the Environment. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
  • United Nations Division for Sustainable Development (UNDESA) (2012), “A guidebook to the Green Economy”.
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2010), Green Economy Report: A Preview. http://www.unep.org/GreenEconomy/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=JvDFtjopXsA%3d&tabid=1350&language=en-US
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2010), Developing Countries Success Stories. http://www.unep.org/pdf/GreenEconomy_SuccessStories.pdf
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2010), A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and Millennium Development Goals. http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/Portals/30/docs/policymakers_brief_GEI&MDG.pdf
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2010), Driving a Green Economy Through Public Finance and Fiscal Policy Reform. http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/Portals/30/docs/DrivingGreenEconomy.pdf
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2009), Global Green New Deal Update, http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=ciH9RD7XHwc%3d&tabid=1394&language=en-US
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2009), Global Green New Deal, Policy brief, http://www.unep.org/pdf/A_Global_Green_New_Deal_Policy_Brief.pdf
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2008), Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World (Policy messages and main findings for decision makers), http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hR62Ck7RTX4%3d&tabid=1377&language=en-US
  • United Nations Environment Programme (2008), ‘Global green new deal - environmentally-focused investment historic opportunity for 21st century prosperity and job generation.’ London/Nairobi, October 22.
  • Wagner, Ma. (2003) "Does it pay to be eco-efficient in the European energy supply industry?" Zeitschrift für Energiewirtschaft 27(4), 309-318.
  • Wagner, M. et al. (2002) "The relationship between environmental and economic performance of firms: what does the theory propose and what does the empirical evidence tell us?" Greener Management International 34, 95-108.

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