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Agreement on climate change financing: 'the greatest economic stimulus of all'

Angie Gentile's picture

Morocco. Photo credit: © Curt Carnemark/World Bank

At a Program of Seminars session Monday on “Greening Recovery, Seizing Opportunities,” more than 300 people turned out to hear experts such as Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner outline how “green” investments are being used as parts of economic stimulus packages.

They were joined by Luciano Coutinho (President, BNDES – Brazilian Development Bank), Yoon-Dae Euh (Chairman, Korean Presidential Council on Nation Branding and Chairman, Steering Committee, Korean Investment Corporation), and Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya (Undersecretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey).

For Stiglitz, the principal question now in responding to the financial and economic crisis is how to increase global aggregate demand. Instead of increasing consumption, he said, more funding should go to increase investment – particularly green investment.

Coutinho from Brazil agreed, noting that his country has taken this path to cope with the crisis and will continue to do so. “We are committed to a green World Cup and a green Olympics,” he said. “We will make them showcases of green.”

Achim Steiner, speaking of the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen, said agreement on financing for climate change there would be the greatest economic stimulus package of all.

In that vein, Turkey’s Sarikaya said 60 percent of his country’s hydroelectric energy potential remained to be developed, while only 1/60th of the country’s wind energy capacity had been exploited so far.

Korea’s Euh added that, as part of its drive to be the “greenest” country in the world, Korea will devote 20 percent of its official development assistance to green investments in developing countries.

Moderator Nancy Birdsall, Founder and President of the DC-based Center for Global Development, noted in closing that the roughly one trillion dollars mobilized in developed countries in response to the crisis is having a good impact. This, she said, shows that international coordination and policies that work can turn around a situation.

 

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