Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)President Bharrat Jagdeo believes that a combination of robust analytics, proof of action and an informed and critical mass of countries advocating for systemic, international policy change can transform global policies into becoming a reality rather than a vision.
Global Green Growth Institute President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Speaking to member countries at the Green Growth Summit in Songdo, South Korea, the former Guyanese head of state acknowledged that these are the very elements which present significant challenges. Jagdeo stressed that the world can ill afford failure at reaching a global climate deal that contains the level of ambition needed to achieve a two-degree pathway or less.
He noted that the agreement must be made by 2015 and implemented by 2020, with climate financing totalling US$100 billion by 2020 as agreed in Cancun.
“If today’s leaders and those who influence them sleepwalk through the next few years, the window to make these things happen will close, and they will be responsible for a catastrophic derogation of responsibility to the generation which follows.”
Jagdeo emphasised that despite the valuable work of climate change advocates and many other enthusiasts, the scale of action to address such challenges is nowhere near what is needed. He called on member countries to deploy their individual and collective powers to address, what he described as a continued global failure of policy, without which, financing and innovation cannot be properly achieved at the pace required.
According to Jagdeo, US$207 million was invested in green technologies during last year, but he detailed that there is evidently need for up to US$2 trillion in addressing the global policy framework in order to create the impact needed.
The former president emphasized the need to maintain a case for inclusive green growth as the single most important form of growth with societal and economic value and work to develop the tools that allow this form of growth to be implemented.
He also admonished the advocates to support persons who are building examples of inclusive green growth to prove that large-scale, transformative change is possible.
Jagdeo stressed the need to deploy the power and legitimacy of the institute’s entire membership and networks to advocate for the requisite global policy shifts to engender sustained progress.
“… beyond high-level rhetoric, the case for green growth is still not sufficiently accepted or embedded in daily decisions, to make leaders, businesses and citizens fully commit to creating a new economy. In major part, this is because the conversation around green growth is still excessively focused on its costs rather than on its opportunities and benefits such as wealth creation, jobs and economic growth,” Jagdeo remarked.
He stated that the Global Green Growth Institute and its partners can add value and change the nature of the conversation by utilizing world-class analytics to indicate the capability of green growth strategies.
“Today, the science is clear and the high-level economic argument is made. But more work is needed before green growth is seen as the only rational choice for countries and businesses. And GGGI can move the conversation on especially because there are many policies that can be implemented at little cost, but with real benefits,” Jagdeo stated.
He posited that the institute can popularize the argument for green growth by proving that it is the indispensable element for the achievement of other global priority objectives.
The former president underscored that inclusive green growth is essential to reaching the historic target of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, as well as in the global fight for equity and justice.
“There is no solution to the problems of climate change if a billion people, mainly women, continue to use dirty stoves. There is no solution to food security unless hundreds of millions of small holder farmers are able to participate in a market which pays them a fair price for their food and labor. There is no solution to water shortages unless we are able to create incentives for the stewards of the forests and land that are responsible for our rainfall. All of these objectives are part of a hard-headed argument for green growth – as well as supporting the moral and ethical arguments that nobody should be left behind.”
The greatest greenhouse gas emissions reduction in history happened in Brazil, which since 2005 has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than the entire European Union combined, Jagdeo pointed out.
The former president mentioned Ethiopia, now one of the fastest growing economies in the world, which aims to become a middle income country by 2025 through the achievement of green economy objectives and Guyana which will cut energy-related emissions by 92 per cent by 2017; more than any country in the developed world; while maintaining 99.5 per cent of its forest, and investing heavily in low carbon social and economic opportunities.
Jagdeo warned against misinterpreting the impressive gains as being sufficient to deliver the scale of required change and pointed to the essential outcomes that can be achieved through global agreement.
“Despite all the power in world class analytics to put forward the green growth argument, and all the usefulness of real world examples, we should not get blinded by the fact that these in themselves cannot deliver a solution at the scale required. The stark reality is that the remaining, over-arching obstacle to green growth today remains a policy obstacle.”
Jagdeo explained that while there is an abundance of policy expertise, there is certainly a lack of political will.
He called for climate policies that create public and private incentives to get the world onto a two-degree trajectory, sustainable energy and water policies that enable universal access; forest and land use policies that preserve vital biodiversity and eco-system services; and sustainable agriculture and mining policies to support universal food security and continued global development without excessive resource depletion.