Confronting global warming through green investments need not harm the economy – it can drive job creation and additional economic activity, concludes a new study, the first to investigate the evidence behind promises of “green growth”.
As economies all over the world are struggling to create new economic momentum, a new study from leading policy experts at UC Berkeley, California, concludes that creating growth through emissions reduction policies is possible. They conclude that “Green Growth has some successes. However, each country will need to create its own version of green growth; one country’s success is probably not replicable; indeed – energy conditions, demand patterns, government capacities, coalitions – all differ, and hence national strategies will differ. What all these strategies will have in common is that long-term, sustainable green growth needs to figure out how the transition to a low-carbon energy system can create growth in the entire economy.”
The study reviews the global literature on green growth and concludes that the claim that reduction of CO2 are inherently incompatible with economic growth, is false. “Innovation-led emissions reductions may create new industries and business models that provide significant growth potential”, says professor John Zysman of The Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. He points out examples like Korea, Germany and Denmark, who have used investment in renewable energy to generate internationally competitive “green” energy sectors. The wind sector in Denmark e.g. makes up nearly 10% of all exports.
“Green-tech export-led growth could replicate earlier successes in driving growth across a range of countries and industries”, he says. The study suggests that decision makers should look at green growth as a result of an energy systems transformation that resembles ealier transformations like the railroad or the internet.
“Achieving green growth will require capitalizing on the advantages created by a new energy system”, says John Zysman.
The study, co-released by Green Growth Leaders, an international alliance, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and The Pathways Project at UC Berkeley, warns against making very direct short term links between green policies and e.g. job creation. The focus should be on the broader opportunities created for the economy as a whole.
“Today’s green growth strategies focus to much on the immediate benefits from developing and exporting renewable energy goods.This focus risks a new round of international rivalry for control of markets, and a new “green” mercantilism”, says Professor Zysman.
Read Shaping the Green Growth Economy_report (PDF)
Read the Executive Summary: Shaping The Green Growth Economy here (PDF).