Fighting climate change good for industry: UN body

September 7th, 2009 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Fighting climate change does not contradict development goals, instead it offers “enormous economic opportunities”, says the 2009 report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
Released worldwide Monday, the annual Trade and Development Report says keeping global warming at a manageable level “is not possible without resolute policy efforts that trigger a process of structural change towards more climate-friendly modes of consumption and production around the world”.

An Unctad spokesperson said the report calls upon developed economies to take the lead in mitigating climate change as “they account for the largest share of accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and have greater economic, technological and administrative capacities for shifting rapidly to a low-carbon economy”.

“But contributing to climate change mitigation is also in the interest of developing and transition economies,” says the report. “It would considerably improve their prospects for development and poverty reduction.”

Emerging economies such as India and China have consistently opposed any attempt to cap their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, arguing that development is of paramount importance in these countries.

Unctad has asked governments to introduce regulations that “prohibit certain forms of production and consumption, that establish emission performance standards, and set strict regulations for GHG reductions”.

The report says investment in research for the development of cleaner sources of energy and cleaner production methods has been insufficient. Unctad Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi wrote in his overview to the report: “Proactive policies are therefore needed, including subsidies and public acquisition of patents, to advance technological progress and accelerate the process of catching up from past underinvestment.”

Unctad predicts “the market for renewable energy and green technologies, as well as for energy-efficient cars, buildings and appliances will grow rapidly in the coming decades — probably faster than any other market.

“Thus for each country the costs of climate change depend on how much value addition resulting from the production of non-fossil energies and climate friendly equipment, appliances and consumer goods can be generated at home.”

In the report, Unctad has called upon World Trade Organisation to ease patent protection for green technologies the way it has done for life-saving medicines.

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