A Global Green New Deal

NAIROBI – With unemployment soaring, bankruptcies climbing, and stock markets in free-fall, it may at first glance seem sensible to ditch the fight against climate change and put environmental investments on hold. But this would be a devastating mistake of immediate, as well as inter-generational, proportions.

Far from burdening an already over-stressed, over-stretched global economy, environmental investments are exactly what is needed to get people back to work, get order books flowing, and assist in powering economies back to health.

In the past, concern for the environment was viewed as a luxury; today, it is a necessity – a point grasped by some, but by no means all, economic architects yet.

A big slice of President Barack Obama’s $825 billion stimulus package for the United States includes a boost to renewable energy, “weatherizing” a million homes, and upgrading the country’s inefficient electricity grid. Such investments could generate an estimated five million “green-collar” jobs, provide a shot in the arm for the construction and engineering industries, and get America back into the equally serious business of combating climate change and achieving energy security.