The phrase “Green Economy” has come to refer to an economy that has reduced its negative impacts on nature – air, water, biodiversity and climate. Since the industrial revolution, economic growth has been associated with ever greater use of materials and energy, and considerable damage to the natural environment. Over the last forty years there has been mounting concern that this route to development is unsustainable, particularly with the continuing growth of world population and ever more evidence of the dramatic impact of climate change.
The promise of the Green Economy is to "decouple" economic growth from both greater use of resources and damage to the environment, through the development of new products, processes, services and ways of life. A central concern is to accelerate a shift towards low carbon products and processes. However, the Green Economy label is used much more widely, to encompass changes to water use, forestation, lifestyles and biodiversity. It also encompasses strategies of abatement (to prevent climate change) as well as strategies for adaptation and mitigation.
The shift to greener economies depends on new technologies in all fields, changes to the design of markets as well as social changes, including the adoption of different lifestyles. So far, most of the policy focus has been on technology and market design. These will continue to be priorities as more is learned about where best to concentrate R&D and how to design markets. However, much greater attention to issues of social design and social innovation over the next 10 to 20 years are expected, much of it focused on cities, since social barriers to adoption are already proving more important than strictly technological barriers.
A central challenge in all discussions of the Green Economy is how to deal both practically and morally with the huge discrepancy between nations in regards to development and ecological footprint. Both within nations and globally, the Green Economy debate brings together questions of technology, economics, politics and morality. The precise form that green economies will take is impossible to predict. But it is now certain that all economic policy, and much policy around cities and social design, will increasingly be seen through a green lens.
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Policy Brief on the Case of Energy Sector in few Asian Countries
Editor's Note: This is the second policy brief that was produced during our Green Economy Workshop in China in 2012. It was written by the participants Md. Mahmudul Alam, Nalaka G. D. A., Nissanka N. A. A. P, Sacchidananda Mukherjee and Yuti Ariani Fatimah, who will be happy to receive your thoughts and feedback about their work. Use the comments function below to share your ideas and critique and let them know what you like about the policy brief, where you see areas for improvement, and if you think it has the potential to catch a policy-makers attention.
In 1987, the Brundtland Commission introduced the term “sustainable development” to highlight the needs for taking the future generations into account. The term has evolved from only focusing on the human kind to reconciliation between humans and nature. On one hand, this evolution opens space for nature and vulnerable people to be acknowledged, on the other hand, it raises difficulties in implementing the idea due to its heterogeneity. By the mid 1990s, for instance, there were more than 100 definitions of sustainability (Marshall and Toffel, 2005). Rather than following previous scholars trying to find a general definition for sustainability, we try to approach it through the idea of translation. From this perspective, diversity is being bounded via others’ right such as a practice is wrong whenever it might harm others and not because it looks different. Based on the argument above, we look at the energy sector within Asian countries in an attempt to increase variety in understanding sustainability.
5 February 2013 | Read more
As the year comes to an end, IHDP was delighted to host one of the year’s highlight events at its secretariat. Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge and Chair of IHDP’s Scientific Committee, visited the UN Campus in Bonn on December 17 to discuss sustainability and economic development in a lecture celebrating the recent release of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR 2012). |Read more
We are happy to announce the release of a new issue from our Summary for Decision-Makers (SDM) series! This publication sets out some of the key ideas that have emerged from our Industrial Transformation project, examining the conclusions of the project through the lens of the global interest in the pursuit of a green economy. It looks at the green economy not simply as the challenge to develop new technologies, but as an enormous opportunity to pursue and achieve sustainability and human well-being around the world. Download the SDM or order your free hardcopy. |Read more