Raising living standards in poor countries can and should be done at the same time as the world shifts to ‘green’ energy use, and such a feat is possible if global efforts are well-designed and implemented, high-level officials told a conference today morning.
“Green growth should be inclusive,” UNCTAD secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi said in opening a day’s debate on the topic of ‘How emerging economies will green the world’.
The meeting — that began on Tuesday afternoon and will conclude today evening — is co-organised by UNCTAD and EnergyPact Foundation, a Swiss-based organisation which focuses on balanced use of energy and on what it terms ‘energy-environment-development issues.’
Supachai went on to say that the shift to renewable and sustainable energy provides a great opportunity in the developing world to ‘stimulate economic diversification, generate employment for the poor, and increase access of the poor to basic services such as energy, water, housing, education, communications, ele-ctricity, and transport.”
“It is hoped that a greening economy will continue to promote a race to the top for environmental performance rather than a race to the bottom, which was feared would arise from competitive cost reductions in a globalised economy,” he said, stressing that technological advances allowing affordable renewable energy use must be shared with developing nations and that such nations’ exports, economic growth, and industrialisation must not, and do not have to be, hindered by future environmentally based restrictions on energy use.
"For example, developing countries have proved adept at manufacturing such renewable-energy products as solar panels, wind turbines, and energy-efficient light bulbs, and in 2008 accounted for 50 per cent of world exports of those goods," Supachai said.
Speakers said that limiting damage from climate change in any case requires a seamless approach to applying renewable energy technology – all nations must participate, as the effects of climate shifts apply across borders. Globally, efforts to these ends must respect the development aspirations of Africans and other poor regions of the world.