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UPDATE: Rio +20 and the green economy

The United Nations reports that, “In February 2011, the UN Enviroment Programme released a report outlining how investing 2 per cent of global gross domestic product in ten sectors (or about $1.3 trillion annually) can catalyze the transition to a green economy. …Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (said) that the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, set to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 4-6, 2012 – 20 years after the Earth Summit of 1992, could prove to be one of the most transformative moments in international affairs.”

The “green economy” concept suggests that national and international policies could “grow the global economy at around the same rate if not higher than those forecast under current economic models.” It has also been written by proponents that, “In addition to higher growth, an overall transition to a green economy would realize per capita incomes higher than under current economic models, while reducing the ecological footprint by nearly 50 per cent in 2050, as compared to busines as usual.”

With respect to water, another UN media release states, “Policies that re-direct over a tenth of a per cent of global gross domestic product per year can assist in not only addressing the sanitation challenge but conserve freshwater by reducing water demand by a fifth by 2050 compared to projected trends.” The UN Environment Programme report sets out as one aim “halving the proportion without access to safe drinking water”. Achim Steiner, executive director for the UN Environment Program, has said, “The green economy also applies the principle that we cannot go on polluting the way we do. Half the world’s hospital beds are filled with people who are sick from dirty or bad water.”

A report from the World Social Forum, that took place this past February in Dakar, Senegal, says Naomi Klein, Pablo Solon and Susan George pointed out that the green economy is “a new financial bubble, substituting carbon credits for money, likely to lead to an economic crash. Meanwhile, it allows corporations to buy pollution permits, under schemes like the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS), REDD, and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) – which are based on the ‘conservation’ (in fact, commodification) of Third World lands and forests, and the intensification of exports at the expense of domestic food. Speakers in other World Social Forum workshops called this process the new Enclosures, the taking of the global commons.”

This report from Dakar says activists “are calling for worldwide protests beginning around the G8 meeting in Deauville on May 26-27, the G20 in Cannes on November 3-4, and various UN meetings pushing the so-called green economy.”