What do we mean by Green Economy?

Reinvigorated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a global discussion and national activities on green economy transitions have regained momentum since 2008. The increase in interest is, among other things, due to our growing understanding of the similarity and interlinkages between many of the recent financial, economic, environmental and social crises.

The 2008 global financial crisis focused attention not only on the financial losses, and implications for economies, jobs and housing, but also raised questions as to the fundamental imbalance in our economies. The choice of capital allocation - investment in property, fossil fuels and financial assets, rather than in measures to encourage resource efficiency - has created destructive imbalances. A further common element to all these crises is the focus of decision making on short time horizons and trust in what has often proven to be an incomplete evidence base including a lack of proper accounting, for example as regards the cost of climate change and biodiversity.

Produced in the context of the Rio+20 conference, this briefing was prepared for European Parliamentarians as part of the EU-funded KNOSSOS project in which IEEP is partners along with UNEP and GLOBE-EU. It answers questions on what is the green economy? What policy actions can contribute to achieving it? And what results from EU-funded research projects can support these actions? A supporting briefing was also produced, focusing on EU efforts on the green economy.

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