£50 trillion needs to be spent on going green if world is to avert 'major planetary catastrophe’
Almost £50 trillion must be spent on green technology over the coming decades if the world is to avert a “major planetary catastrophe”, the United Nations has claimed.
By Jon Swaine, New York
11:43PM BST 06 Jul 2011
Governments must invest three per cent of world GDP – about £1.2 trillion in 2010 – annually for 40 years to stop climate change and famine, according to the UN's department of economic and social affairs.
At least £688 billion of that will need to be spent each year in developing countries, in order to meet their populations' increasing demands for resources, the 2011 World Economic and Social Survey said.
Rob Vos, the lead author of the report, said that “business as usual is not an option” if the world were to “reverse the ongoing ecological destruction”.
His report said that to feed a rapidly growing number of mouths, farmers around the world will have to essentially double total international food production between now and 2050.
But to do this sustainably would require huge spending on “clean” energy production, on reducing the non-bio-degradable waste and on other improvements to farming and forestry techniques, it said.
This broader analysis prompted a rise of about 50 per cent in the amount of money said to be required to make human life sustainable. Last year's survey called for spending of up to £750 billion a year.
The report said that the extent of technological transformation required was greater in scale, and must be done more quickly, than the industrial revolution.
"It is rapidly expanding energy use, mainly driven by fossil fuels, that explains why humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries," the report said.
"A comprehensive global energy transition is urgently needed in order to avert a major planetary catastrophe."