Global economic growth over the past 50 years has been accompanied by accelerated environmental decline.
From 1981 to 2005, the global GDP more than doubled, in contrast to the 60% of the world's ecosystems being degraded or used in an unsustainable manner.
Only a fraction of national income is spent on the environment. The global annual spending on the environment is estimated at best at US$10 billion per year.
This is in contrast to the US$60-90 billion needed for those environmental investments that contribute directly to poverty reduction alone.
Misaligned incentives work against the environment. Global agricultural subsidies amount to more than US$300 billion a year, but there is a lack of funds for reforestation.
Global energy subsidies range from US$240 billion to US$310 billion per year or around 0.7 per cent of global GDP, but there is inadequate support for renewable energy development.
A recent assessment by UNEP also concluded that a dramatic phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies could cut greenhouse gas emissions by some six per cent by boosting energy efficiency.
Meanwhile the same assessment concluded that fossil fuel subsidies, often justified as an anti-poverty measure, rarely benefit the urban and especially the rural poor but tend to benefit fossil fuel companies; equipment suppliers and the middle class and well off in an economy.
Random facts Edit
The global automobile industry generates some $1.9 trillion in revenues but employs just 4.4 million people.
The global steel industry is a $500 billion income earner but employs 4.5 million people
The world's 100,000 National Parks and protected areas generate wealth via nature-based good and services equal to around $5 trillion but only employ 1.5 million people.
"Here you have some of the choices in a nutshell. If we are to lift 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 a day out of poverty, do we put them into making more and more motor cars, TV's and PC's, or do we invest in the protected area network and develop its potential for green and decent new jobs ?"
"An additional investment of $ 50 billion a year in around 100,000 conservation areas worldwide could secure the $5 trillion-worth of services provided by these natural assets while generating millions of new jobs and securing livelihoods for rural and indigenous peoples." Pavan Sukdhev, a senior banker from Deutsche Bank who is seconded to UNEP to lead the research.
Related topics Edit
- Green Economy Initiative
- Economic mismatch
- Clean energy and clean technologies including recycling
- Rural energy, including renewables and sustainable biomass
- Sustainable agriculture, including organic agriculture, Perennial crops
- Ecosystem infrastructure
- Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)
- Sustainable cities including planning, transportation and green building
- United Nations Environment Programme, October 22 2008