We’ve known for some time here at EarthTechling, via our exhaustive coverage of U.S. Department of Energy cleantech spending, about how important green technology spending is to the future of the planet. A new report just issued by the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs highlights this need even more dramatically on a global scale, calling for $1.9 trillion per year over the next 40 years for incremental investments in green technologies to “avert the likely catastrophic impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.”
This special UN report, titled The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation, works off the assumption that the “global environment’s capacity to cope with human activity has reached its limits. About half of the earth’s forests are gone, groundwater resources are being depleted and contaminated, enormous losses in biodiversity have already occurred, and climate change threatens the stability of all ecosystems.”
With thus assumption in mind, at least one-half, or $1.1 trillion per year, of the called for $1.9 trillion is needed in “developing countries to meet their rapidly increasing food and energy demands through the application of green technologies.” It recommends that policies be guided “by four key goals: improving energy efficiency without expanding consumption where energy-use levels are high; supporting a broad global energy technology development portfolio while scaling up the use of known green technologies in specific places; supporting greater experimentation and longer discovery times; and applying superior governance and accountability strategies in energy-related technological development than at present.”
“Business as usual is not an option,” said Rob Vos, Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division and lead author of the report, in a statement. “Without drastic improvements in and diffusion of green technologies, we will not reverse the ongoing ecological destruction and secure a decent livelihood for all of humankind, now and in the future.”
The call has been put out – how will we as a global society answer?