Green economy, as a “sensible pathway for Europe if it wants to foster jobs, economic growth, investment and competitiveness, while preserving the environment” was the focus the heads of Europe’s environment agencies on World Environment Day. Titled “Green Economy: Opportunities for Jobs, Growth and Innovation in Europe”, the conference organised by the European Network of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies (EPA Network) reaffirmed that crisis-stricken economies can achieve sustainable and robust recovery, provided political leaders ignore political pressures for quick and dirty development at all costs.
According to the conference report, “Kristín L. Árnadóttir, of the Environment Agency of Iceland, said her country’s banking crisis had created the conditions to use green investment to stimulate economic growth. Asked if the same could happen in Greece or elsewhere in the Eurozone, she said, “Why not? Do not let a good crisis go to waste”.”
Paul Ekins, Director at the Director, University College London’s Institute for Sustainable Resources, stressed that “the green economy is not only desirable in the medium term but imperative in the long term”. Ekins emphasised that pressures like climate change made "brown" investments unsustainable, while long term green investments brought fewer immediate, but continuous, macro- economic rewards. Presenting the EU’s 7th Environment Action Programme, DG ENVI Director Karl Falkenberg stated that short term results were exactly what EU leaders were under pressure to deliver. “We need to be better in explaining there’s a lot more opportunity than cost,” Falkenberg said.
The role of the financial sector in making the shift towards green economies happen was highlighted by Marianne Fay, Chief Economist at the World Bank. “We will need public investments in research and innovation in green tech,” Fay said and emphatically pointed out that “the challenge of the transition to the green economy is not a financial or a technical challenge, it’s a political one”.
Read more: European Network of the Heads of Environment Protection Agencies, Euractiv
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