Silver green lining: global financial fuel food crises need natural systems solutions

October 12, 2008 at 6:41 am | Posted in Climate change, Environment, Global warming, Heathrow airport | 1 Comment

Next week, in an effort to tackle the triple troubles the world is experiencing—financial, fuel and food crises—UNEP will launch an ambitious plan on Wednesday 22 October 2008, in London.  It’s called the Green Economy Initiative, and follows on from a landmark report Green Jobs: Towards Decent work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World (link takes you to UNEP press release dated 24 September 2008 for more background on Green Jobs).

According to Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor, writing in today’s Independent, A ‘Green New Deal’ can save the world’s economy, says UN.

The Green Economy Initiative will:

“call on world leaders, including the new US President, to promote a massive redirection of investment away from the speculation that has caused the bursting “financial and housing bubbles” and into job-creating programmes to restore the natural systems that underpin the world economy.

It aims to convince them that, far from restricting growth, healing the global environment will be a desperately needed driving force behind it.

The Green Economy Initiative—which will be spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered here, and is already being backed by governments—draws its inspiration from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which ended the 1930s depression and helped set up the world economy for the unprecedented growth of the second half of the 20th century.”

On a related note, reading the Independent on Sunday’s Leading article: The green lining to this chaos today, 12 October 2008, I find myself nodding in agreement.  As the paper introduces a new list of good-for-the-planet heroes, and awards top place to John Stewart of HACAN for his tireless efforts in the campaign to Stop Heathrow Expansion, I have to applaud that decision.  The IoS has chosen someone who is humble, selfless and determined to go the extra mile to make a real difference for the benefit of many too shy, too lazy, or too uninterested to get involved themselves:

“While we wait for the scale of the recession to become clear over the coming months, many people may assume that green issues will slip down the news priorities.

The Independent on Sunday does not accept that they should. Today we publish the first comprehensive listing of those often unsung heroes of the environmental movement, the IoS Green List.

“Heathrow airport is a test case. We understand the conventional economic case, and we are not opposed to air travel as such. But there comes a point when the growth of carbon-based air travel has to be halted and probably reversed if the global ecosystem is to remain capable of sustaining human life at present numbers. It may be easier to adjust to new rules if they are introduced at a time of economic stringency. Now might be the time to say no more runways and that slots on existing runways will go to the highest bidder in a free market, so that the cost starts to reflect the damage done to the environment.

The Independent on Sunday is in favour of market forces, and recognises that they work effectively only when they are well regulated (and on the basis of sound money, which, as we have been forcefully reminded in recent weeks, requires governments to act as lenders of last resort). Market forces cannot respond to the costs of environmental degradation unless governments put a price on—above all—carbon.”


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  1. From Keynes (New Deal), to Friedman (Neoliberalism), back to Keynes (global financial crisis)… where next?

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