Green measures part of global economic recovery

While many countries have vowed to emerge from the global recession greener and cleaner, not enough is being spent on environmental initiatives in national recovery packages.

This is the conclusion of a UN assessment looking at how the environment might be an unlikely beneficiary of the global slow down.

China and South Korea are the biggest backers of clean-tech as a solution to the economic crisis, with significant investment planned for water infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewables.

Over a third of China’s recovery spending is being focused on environmental projects while South Korea is ploughing almost 80% of its multi-billion dollar stimulus package into energy efficiency in buildings and water and waste management.

China’s premier also went on record for the first time this week as saying that the country was committed to significant carbon reduction for the good of its people and the rest of the world, but did not goes as far as to put figures on how far this commitment might reach.

According to the UN, other countries that have in part seized the economic crisis as an opportunity for a different development path include Australia, the United States, Japan, Germany, South Africa and France.

Despite government rhetoric, the UK does not get a look in in its assessment.

While many countries are moving in the right direction, UNEP and economists are warning that major pitfalls remain in terms of the overall size of the green component of the global stimulus package.

This currently falls well short of the $750 billion, or one per cent of global GDP, that is recommended for reducing carbon dependency and seeding the process of transition.

Sam Bond

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