ABU DHABI – In recent years, an increasingly loud chorus of environmentalists, civil-society actors, and international institutions have been demanding that conventional “brown” economic development, which depends on fossil fuels, be replaced by a lower-carbon “green” growth model. But there is a third, more competitive option: a “blue” economy driven by business-level innovation, rather than top-down policies.
The fact is that most environmentally friendly technologies demand significant upfront investment, meaning that “going green” remains a privilege reserved for the few countries that can afford it. After all, governments’ capacity to provide subsidies is limited, and wealthy countries cannot be expected to bear the costs of the uptake of sustainable technologies worldwide. Thus, as the United Nations recently confirmed, more than a billion people worldwide still lack access to reliable, clean, and affordable energy.