Achim Steiner, the head of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), says the world needs a fresh infusion of investment in the new “green economy.” So far, nations around the world have pledged $500 billion for “green spending” on a wide variety of projects, from solar plants to transportation sector initiatives. However large that number appears, Steiner warns that it is still not sufficient.
Of the $500 billion pledged, 40% of funds comes from China, which means many developed countries are falling short in their commitment to a green economy, Steiner says. In 2008, the UNEP called for a global investment of $750 billion, equivalent to 1% of global GDP to be funneled into a “Global Green New Deal.”
“The green economy is not a luxury, but a 21st century imperative on a planet of six billion, rising to 9 billion in just 40 years,” said Steiner and Pavan Sukhdev, leader of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative in a statement released in advance of this weekend’s G20 Summit in Toronto.
G20 delegates re-affirmed their pledge to phase out the “inefficient” subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which by some estimates amount to $300-$500 billion/year. The International Energy Agency estimates that elimination of these subsidies could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 7% over the next ten years.