Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Economy 101

Stakeholder Forum's first podcast in a series that run up to Rio+20 Summit , recorded April 14th, features Tim Jenkins, who manages the Great Transition Initiatives work at the New Economics Foundation including the development of a new economic model, establishing a new economic commission; Victor Anderson, Senior Economist at WWF and author of Alternative Indicators and Manager of Prosperity without growth; and Phillip Pearson, Senior Policy Officer at the Trade Union Council's Economic and Social Affairs Department, to get to grips with the concept of a green economy.

Beyond the policy jargon, this discussion sought to focus on some pretty fundamental questions about the notion of a green economy: From where has the term come? Does it offer anything new? How far are we from a green economy at present? What do we need to do to get there? Does it really promise growth as well as environmental sustainability? More

Friday, April 15, 2011

Q&A: What is a "Green Economy?"

The global recession has brought new attention to chronic structural flaws in current economic models and assumptions. As economies struggle to recover, many are taking a closer look at the broad concept of a “Green Economy,” one that simultaneously promotes sustainability and economic growth What would this type of economy look like, and how could we get there? World Resources Institute (WRI) Managing Director Manish Bapna responds to some of the most commonly-asked questions:

- What is a Green Economy?
- What does a Green Economy look like?
- How does Green Economy differ from previous efforts to promote sustainability – what
is new?
- What are some of the concerns and tensions with the concept of a Green Economy?
- What are the challenges to a transition to a Green Economy, and what will make it

Read More

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Civil Society recommendations for the design of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund

At the COP 16 held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010, a Green Climate Fund was established, to be designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention under Article 11, with arrangements to be concluded between the COP and the Green Climate Fund to ensure that it is accountable to and functions under the guidance of the COP. The Green Climate Fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows (to manage about $100 billion annual mobilization pledge from industrialized nations)

The Fund will be governed by the Green Climate Board comprising 24 members, as well as alternate members, with equal number of members from developing and developed country Parties. The assets of the Green Climate Fund shall be administered by a trustee only for the purpose of, and in accordance with, the relevant decisions of the Green Climate Fund Board. The World Bank was invited by the COP to serve as the interim trustee of the Green Climate Fund, subject to a review three years after operationalization of the Fund. The COP also decided that an independent secretariat shall support the operations of the Fund.

According to ODI, many are looking to the establishment of this fund as the solution to adequately and appropriately address climate finance; others caution that ambitious steps need to be taken to avoid the ‘Green Fund’ turning out to be an ‘Empty Fund’ whose function is limited to attaining the buy-in of developing countries into a binding international climate policy regime. But the design of the GCF has to address a large number of concerns, the details of which remain unresolved within the negotiations. Issues relating to what role it will play in providing sustainable finance at scale; how it will fit into the existing development assistance and climate financing architecture; how it will allocate finance to developing countries; and how finance will be delivered effectively, all remain to be clarified. This represents an ambitious agenda and much progress will need to be made quickly if a working proposal is to be put to the delegates at the next COP meeting.

But civil society organizations say that the World Bank should have no role in climate finance. In fact, with the creation of the Green Climate Fund, activists have now raised a flag for attention of the ‘design stage actors’ of the GCF (the transitional committee) to highlight what they see as important recommendations for the design of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund. These include a call for nonprofit groups to have a seat at the table when funds are disbursed to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts and shift to lower-carbon economies. It also proposes environmental and social safeguards for government bodies to adhere to, like ensuring that indigenous communities are not forced off their land and compliance with labor standards. Furthermore, they add that only clean and efficient energy technologies are to be funded by the GCF but not fossil fuel-based technologies.

Read the full Civil Society Recommendations for the Design of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund

Saturday, April 9, 2011

China, Set to Add 220 Million Vehicles, Aims to Green Transportation Sector

The Worldwatch Institute's Climate and Energy Blog reported April 1, 2011 that China’s transportation sector is undergoing a revolution. As the average wealth of Chinese citizens improves, the country formerly known as the “kingdom of bicycles” is experiencing a swell of motorization. In 2009, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest auto producer and market.

At the end of 2009, China was home to 170 million vehicles. Projections indicate that the country could add as many as 220 million new vehicles to its market between now and 2020. Already, the transportation sector accounts for about a fifth of China’s total energy consumption.

According to an forthcoming Worldwatch Institute report on China’s green economy, China can create an average of 2 million jobs per year between 2011 and 2020 by greening its transport sector, including expediting the manufacture of alternative-fuel vehicles and the development of high-speed rail. In addition, the planned expansion of urban rail networks in Beijing alone could bring as many as 420,000 jobs annually over the coming decade.

The government’s dedication to increased investment in green transportation is due in part to the very real environmental and social problems associated with China’s rapid transition to a “car-and-truck” economy. Air pollution is palpable in many Chinese cities, and road and highway congestion has become a significant challenge, illustrated most famously by the country’s nearly two-week traffic jam in August 2010.

Green transportation, in broad sense, refers to using low-pollution transportation options suitable for urban environments in order to meet social and economic needs. The forthcoming Worldwatch study focuses on the scale and prospects for green jobs in three transportation subsectors: the alternative-fuel vehicle industry (in particular hybrid-electric and electric cars)., inter-city high speed rail (HSR), and urban rail development in Beijing. More

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension - UNRISD Call for Papers and Conference

The social dimensions of development are central to understanding the connections between green economy, sustainable development and poverty eradication, and to ensuring that efforts to promote a green economy contribute to socially sustainable development. While there is growing recognition that transitioning to a green economy will have both positive and negative social impacts, it is necessary to consider how benefits and costs are distributed; the types of broader changes in social structures and institutions needed to promote equitable outcomes and transform business and consumer behaviour; the role of different social actors in advocacy, negotiation and decision making; and how accountability, compensation and redress can be assured.

By bringing together United Nations representatives and policy makers, academics and representatives of civil society, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Call for Papers and Conference will create a forum for dialogue and analysis, aimed at developing a conceptual and policy framework that will position social dimensions at the centre of green economy and sustainable development. Policy reports and other publications will inform the UNCSD 2012 preparatory process and subsequent policy discussions. The UNRISD Call for Papers and Conference will critically examine the following interrelated issues and questions.

1. Social impacts and distributional consequences of policies and processes associated with green economy. What are the consequences of the restructuring of production, services, finance and consumption patterns associated with green economy for the employment, livelihood security and cultural identity of different social groups, across geographic locations and scales? Do different patterns of green economy transition constitute win-win outcomes, or are there winners and losers? What role can social policy, in association with economic and environmental policy, play in minimizing costs, maximizing benefits and building resilience, especially for vulnerable groups? How does the green economy agenda connect with other sustainable development objectives, such as food security, health, social protection, human rights, gender equality, decent work, poverty reduction and climate justice?

2. The potential and limits of structural and institutional change. What do green economy policies, as well as different models of transition, imply for the continuity or transformation of structures, institutions and social relations that reproduce or reinforce inequality and vulnerability? Conversely, how do existing patterns of inequality and vulnerability obstruct or facilitate the potential for different approaches to green economy to contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication? Are macroeconomic frameworks and conditionalities changing in ways that are conducive to structural reform and sustainable development?

3. Agency and social mobilization for institutional and policy change. How is the notion of green economy itself, and the consideration of social dimensions, being framed by diverse social actors (such as states, business and civil society), and with what effects in terms of influencing policy agendas? What forms of participation, contestation, coalitions, alliances and compromises are emerging—or might need to emerge—to promote green economy approaches that contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication? Are disadvantaged groups and countries able to gain voice and influence through processes of social dialogue and decision making associated with green economy transition? More about this Conference from here

RIO+20: Toward a new green economy—or a green-washed old economy?

Blogging in Grist, Jim Thomas argues that 20 years ago, governments at Rio were bold enough to lay out a set of commitments that might credibly have rescued us from some of the dire predicaments we are now in but they never fulfilled their own promises.

With under 13 months to the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) , it's now up to all of us in global society to demand that those promises, however belated, be fulfilled.

Jim underscores that the Rio promises should not be abandoned for a hollow "green economy" that amounts to a Trojan horse for ongoing destruction-as-usual(suspicion is running high that the proposed prescriptions for a "green economy" are more likely to deliver a greenwash economy or the same old, same old "greed" economy). He also cautions that the road to Rio is that the hijackers are already seizing the reins. But all is not lost - we have time to organize massive campaigns to get the Earth Summit back on course -- not just for a green economy, but for a green, equitable, and just future.

Read the Jim Thomas's full article from here