The key towards a prosperous and sustainable world
Environmental degradation comes on top of the list of challenges the world is facing today, posing a threat that requires significant international cooperation. We are witnessing an increasing rate of environmental hazards everyday due to different causes including population growth, economic development and climate change.
In fact, the gravity of environmental challenges was highlighted after the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was ranked as one of the top global risks, according to the World Economic Forum. Accordingly, countries began to realize the necessity of achieving a more sustainable and safer world for the next generations.
Numerous attempts were carried out to move towards a “greener” economy. One of the most recognized definitions of the green economy was put forth by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which defines it as an economy that aims to achieve social equity and improve human well-being while lowering environmental threats and preserving ecological resources.
Green economies as an alternative to brown economies
There has been an assumption that lasted for decades that creating wealth largely depends on “brown economies,” which rely on fossil fuels. This assumption has been steadily refuted with the rise of social marginalization and resource depletion. Moreover, the widespread myth that achieving environmental sustainability comes at the expense of economic progress is simply not true. To the contrary, evidence has shown that the green economy can be a driver for economic growth.
There have been a number of steps taken internationally to promote environmental sustainability and to facilitate the transition towards greener economies. In December 2015, 195 countries adopted a global climate pact to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This comes in line with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, to ensure a sustainable future and overcome many challenges facing the globe, including environmental changes.
Dr. Khaled Madkour, an expert in climate change and environmental studies, and Lyla Zedan, a researcher in the Agriculture Research Center in Egypt state that several policies must be adopted to facilitate the transition towards a green economy. Dr Madkour also states that regulatory and legislative systems need to accommodate bonds and laws required for this transition, like green bonds and carbon certificates.
Green bonds are used to invest in environmentally-friendly green projects such as recycling solid waste, producing renewable energy from waste and developing irrigation projects to reduce water consumption. On the other hand, carbon certificates are issued after calculating the cost of a tonne of carbon to decrease carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, Lyla Zedan stresses the need for the public and private sectors to provide the required funding to invest in environmentally-friendly projects. Investors also have to target the energy sectors and increase energy efficiency to achieve sustainability while states and organizations should give more support to achieve rural development to make use of their vast resources and eradicate poverty.
Both experts stress the necessity of reviewing and designing governmental policies in a way that will help in changing the patterns of production, consumption and investment to cope with the requirements of the green economy.