World Must Strive for 'Green Economy' Says UN

Some 500 ministers, experts and economists from developing and industrial countries are in Vienna to discuss energy issues, sustainable development and environmental threats in the context of the economic crisis.

A green economy backed by a green industry should be the goal of all states as they try to cope with climate change and the economic crisis, experts said on June 22 at the start of a UN conference. Some 500 ministers, experts and economists from developing and industrial countries are in Vienna to discuss energy issues, sustainable development and environmental threats in the context of the economic crisis.

The conference, which runs until June 24, was also organized with the help of the Austrian government and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy.

"The current global financial and economic crisis must be used to our advantage to bring about a green energy revolution," said Kandeh K. Yumkella, director-general of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The three-day meet was to pave the way "towards a low-carbon global 'green economy' powered by 'green industry'," he added.

UNIDO and the Vienna-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) were among the organizers of the Vienna Energy Conference. "We are facing a convergence of challenges that require a fundamental transformation of energy systems," said IIAASA director Detlof von Winterfeldt. "'Business-as-usual' solutions are not an option," he added. "The magnitude, pace, and scale of the impact of climate change is greater than predicted, even as recently as a couple of years ago."

For von Winterfeldt, the economic crisis was an opportunity to secure further investments in renewable energy. More than $100 billion is currently invested every year in renewable energy, he said: but that needed to be increased three-fold."We have an opportunity in the several stimulus packages introduced by many countries in response to the global financial and economic crisis," he concluded.

Improving energy resources was also crucial in helping poor countries, said Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. "Providing an adequate supply of energy to the poor should be a key priority. Without it there can be no talk about eliminating poverty in the world," he added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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