As the world’s population continues to grow and the problem of poverty remains, it is clear that we must continue to develop the world economy. However, many believe that this economic growth should not come at the cost of the environment that supports our lives. Recently, the United Nations released a report that estimated the cost of changing the world from an unsustainable economy to one that is both resource efficient and environmentally friendly.
The report claimed that investing two percent of the world’s GDP could make this transition happen. This percentage calls for about a $1.3 trillion investment each year. A global investment at this level in critical areas such as agriculture, energy, and waste management will stabilize global energy requirements by 2050. This global investment would also cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third, increase global crop yield by 10%, and cut water demand by a fifth. In the UN’s green economy scenario all these things are certainly possible but the major problem lies in convincing world powers to invest large sums of money.
World leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are issuing statements in support of the plan. However, convincing other countries to invest in the green world economy is proving to be a significant problem. Over the last five years, China and the United States have led the world in green sector investment with $679 billion invested but this is still not enough.
With rising oil prices and substantial climate changes, other countries are beginning to realize that the greenest investments also may be the wisest. Global investments along with company concerns in the area of sustainability will provide lasting benefits for the environment. Yet, a major question remains: How much will companies and countries be willing to invest in a green world economy?