U.N. Set to Spur Global Green Market

U.N. Set to Spur Global Green Market

The United Nations Environment Programme launched the Green Economic Initiative last week to shift the global economy toward environmentally friendly investments in order to create jobs and address climate change.

The $4 million initiative is comprised of three planks: job growth, improving the natural world, and identifying the steps needed to foster the transition to a more environmentally friendly economy. It will deliver a comprehensive roadmap to all governments within two years.

Already the initiative has targeted five sectors that stand to yield the highest returns: clean energy and cleantech; sustainable agriculture; ecosystem infrastructure; cutting greenhouse gas emissions; and sustainable urban planning.

Achim Steiner, the organization's Environment Programme's executive director, called for "tranformational" thinking and decisions before major upcoming policy discussions, such as the next round of climate change talks in Poland.

A lack of leadership and inability to manage markets have led to fossil fuel dependence and depleted natural assets, he said.

"The flip side of the coin is the enormous economic, social and environmental benefits likely to arise from combating climate change and re-investing in natural infrastructure -- benefits ranging from new green jobs in cleantech and clean energy businesses up to ones in sustainable agriculture and conservation-based enterprises," Steiner said.