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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsWell, I always say the green economy is not some parallel universe. It's not a nirvana. It is actually a way of making first of all, false assumptions explicit about our current economic paradigm. The notion that renewables are too expensive is ultimately not a matter of cost price per unit of, let's say, electricity produced, kilowatt hour. It is a matter of looking at how much do we subsidise a fossil fuel industry and how does that translate into a price per kilowatt hour that society ultimately ends up paying, including the health costs of millions of premature death that arise from the use of fossil fuels, the tax rebates that the oil and gas industry receives in the United States?

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsSo one thing is first of all, let's create a level playing field. Because the imperative of the 21st century is to reinvent our economies in line with what the planet can sustain in terms of natural resources, in terms of space in the atmosphere for pollution. And also what price are we willing to pay in the name of development when so many people die prematurely because of the choices we have made in the name of economic rational choice? And the green economy is then a fairly simple articulation of saying, look, we must develop and we have to feed 10 billion people. We have to ensure mobility.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsBut we must do so by taking into account the full costs and also the policy adjustments that are needed to ensure that our economic production systems do not continue to behave like a mining operation on the planet, and that secondly, we invest in, for example, circular economies, recycling of materials, less waste, including an economic rationale that has been part of our food economy for probably 100 years, but even more so in recent decades, where over a third of everything we produce every year on this planet in terms of food in agriculture and livestock is actually never consumed. That is not rational.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsAnd the green economy tries to look at this from a both economic development and prosperity pathway, but also from a sustainability and an equity and inclusion perspective. That's why also in the narrative of the green economy in recent years, the term of an inclusive green economy has emerged in order to signal that this is not just about ecology. It's not just about economy. It is in a sense about the three, economic, social, and environmental dimensions of development.

Transitioning to the Green Economy

With these new approaches to business, the important thing to take away from it is to not only see these businesses as individual pioneers trying a new approach.

They are trying to create a new way our economy could work and find new ways that people can be provided with the goods and services they expect without it being based on exploitation of either other people or the planet. This is why we emphasise them as building a new economy. Achim Steiner agrees, and in the video states that “the imperative of the 21st century is to re-invent our economies in line with what the planet can sustain”.

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This video is from the free online course:

Global Prosperity Beyond GDP

UCL (University College London)

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