Examining The Concept Of Green Economy Environmental Sciences Essay

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Nature is important and valuable for us and it is our responsible to keep maintain it. By this, green economy is an economy when we are concerned on the environment, not only on the monetary. Supporters of this branch of economics are concerned with the environment and believe that actions should be taken to protect nature and encourage the positive co-existence of both humans and nature. Green economy is when human needs, earth materials and world of work have the harmonious interaction with each other. Green economists assert that the basis of all economic decisions should be in some way tied to the ecosystem.

The economic growth and the environmental friendly are the trade-off between each other. The only economy that can eliminate the trade-off between this trade-off is green economy. The effort to eliminate this trade-off needs human creativity, tremendous of knowledge and a good participation from all people and not only from our government.

Green economic emphasize the creation of positive alternatives in all areas of life and every sector of the economy. This effort needs a great support from private and public sector. Green economy also can be defined based on ‘triple bottom line’ which is the environment sustainable, social just and stable economic activities. Environment sustainable is mention about the scarcity of raw material. The scarce material should be used wisely and the environment should be protected. Thus, tremendous knowledge and creativity of the human being is needed. The supporting systems also must be considered. Socially just is about considering our social life will affect our economic and it will directly affect our environment. Social, economy and environment is a strong connection in order to achieve a great and harmony life. It is the human being responsibilities to gain a good standard of living without damaging our environment. Our economics is generated by the human being, so it is our responsibility to concern from every aspect.

Figure 2: Triple bottom line

Principles of the Green Economy

The world already comes out with ten principles on the Green Economy. The principles touch on every aspect that takes into account in economy. The first principle is the primacy of use value, intrinsic value and quality. This principle is the main of the green economy and this principle see the green economy as the service economy. It takes into account on the final customer who receives the product. In the result, the customer gets the product correctly and it did not affect the environment. Human needs and the environment condition is the major aspect that green economy must achieve. The main purpose is to satisfy the human needs. “What you get, that is how much you must pay”, that is the suitable to describe about this principle. Equal pay is to reflect on the exchange that we already get, for example if we make some product, we must not consider it cost but also on the cost of environment.

The second principle is the following natural flow. This principle tells us that the economy process is not only walk alone. It comes with the environment as the complement. The economy must build the boundaries in order to be fair to the environment. A firm can maximize their profit, but they also must minimize the pollution.

The third principle is the waste must equal to the food. We must minimize our waste in order to stabilize our environment. We can produce non-toxic product in order to minimize the impact to our environment.

Appropriate scale is considering on the activity of the economy. It is not mean that we must takes into account on the only the large firm. We must also see the small firm which there also gives large impacts to our environment.

Green economy also needs the participant and direct democracy. In order to build flexibility and sustainability, participation from all people is important. The definition of participation is the creativity and the efforts in build the healthy economics process to achieve a high development and clean environment.

Besides that, human creativity and development is also needed to achieve the green economy standard. Of course the machine and technology in green economy is expensive, but is human have the creativity in manipulate and think on the way to achieve green economy, the world can easily practice green economy.

The next principles are the diversity which tells us that there are variety factor that affect the ecosystems. So, we must analysis all the factor in order to get the best result to take care of our environment. All the factors are connected each other, so we must master all the aspects.

Self-Reliance, Self-Organization, Self-Design is the complex systems necessarily rely on “nested hierarchies” of intelligence which coordinate among themselves in a kind of resonant dance. These hierarchies are built from the bottom up, and in contrast to civilization’s social hierarchies although these local and regional domains must be attuned to larger processes. Self-reliance is not self-sufficiency, but facilitates a more flexible and holistic interdependence.

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The strategic role of built-environment, the landscape and spatial design is the last principle that we are going to touch. We can achieve the perfect result if we can arrange the right steps to achieve the green economy. Our government must also play role in order to minimize the pollution in our production. The quality and the effectiveness is important to recover all the effects in our economy.

Benefits from green economy

Eradicate poverty

Poverty remains a major global concern, despite impressive reductions especially in East Asia. A transition to a green economy can contribute to eradicating poverty by across a range of key sectors. These potential green economic sectors are including agriculture, forestry, fishery, and water management. These sectors especially the agriculture sectors are particularly important for the poor in developing countries because they are depending on these sectors as major sources of income. This is especially critical for subsistence farming because almost1.3 billion people depend upon it for their livelihoods (UNEP et al. 2008).

Investing in greening agriculture benefits the poor in terms of secure livelihoods. The investment in the natural capital and ecosystem services will increase the poor’s income opportunities through increased yields and creation of new green jobs especially in rural areas. They will also gain other social and environmental benefits from the direct use of ecosystems. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have awarded $15 million for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to work on the effort to the farming techniques that are both environmentally responsible and highly productive, focusing primarily on small-scale farming in sub-Saharan Africa (Garthwaite, 2009).

According to the recently launched UNEP Green Economy Report, for every 10 per cent increase in farm yields, there has been a 7 per cent reduction in poverty in Africa; and more than 5 per cent in Asia. Evidence suggests that the application of green farming practices has increased yields, especially on small farms, between 54 and 179 per cent. (Herren, 2011)

Furthermore, a green economy can alleviating poverty and improving overall quality of life by increase access to basic services and infrastructure. For example, Renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power, and supportive energy policies promise to make a significant contribution to improving living standards and health in low income areas, particularly to those that currently lack access to energy.

Create green job

A global transition to green economy will create large numbers of green jobs in many economic sectors that includes renewable energy, buildings and construction, transportation, basic industry, agriculture, and forestry and indeed can become an engine of development. Current green job creation has so far occurred mostly in developed countries and in some of the rapidly developing countries such as Brazil and China. Green Jobs are also beginning to be seen in other developing economies.(Institute, 2008)

Bangladesh has a project to train local youth and women as certified solar technicians and as repair and maintenance specialists. This is aims to create some 100,000 jobs. At the same time, in India, an initiative to replace inefficient biomass cooking stoves in nine million households with more advanced ones could create 150,000 jobs. It now appears that a green economy can generate more and better jobs everywhere and that these can be decent jobs. (Institute, 2008)

Pew (2009) state that the number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007.┬áThis report has count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

Climate change has damage the livelihoods of millions, mostly poor people in developing countries. Sectors consuming large amounts of energy and natural resources are likely to see a decline in jobs. So, transitions to new opportunities and sustainable jobs and incomes are urgently needed for those impacts. In some countries, especially in the developing countries, new jobs being created in the food, agriculture and recycling sectors as a result of climate change and environment leave are the desired and considered new decent. (Institute, 2008)

Environmentally-friendly

Green economy describes sustainable growth that is environmentally-friendly, sensitive to the need to conserve natural resources, and minimal emissions during the production process, and promotes environmentally-friendly lifestyles and consumption patterns while growing the economy.

While meeting the industrial needs of one state to produce their service and commodities not only local environmental disturbances are created but the environment of the other states is also affected. This is mostly happen in Developed Countries (DCs) and much more due to the “greed” rather than the “need” factor dominant in less developed countries (LDCs).The environmental crisis need for deep reform of production and consumption patterns especially the DCs that are rich in resources and able to transform into green economy.

The green economy can help in reduce the pollution by the green waste, green building, and green transportation and so on. For instant, by green waste that turning waste into a resource and encouraging the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, significant gains can be achieved in decoupling waste production from economic growth. Besides that, investment in green transport that means to use more public transport than use own car and car pool with others to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter and deforestation in developing countries, is one of the biggest drivers of climate change and a major threat to sustainable development. Thus, wind, solar and other sustainable renewable energy could provide almost a third of all global power needs and this energy could reduce those greenhouse gases and could be almost fully halted.

Generate healthful society

The green economy as a means to raise living standards and emphasize environmental friendly will also improve health and well-being for all segments of society. This will generate a healthier future generation.

By shifting toward greening economy, the future of technology is most definitely green. With the rising energy costs and the threat of global warming, many businesses are now recognizing the benefits of using technology to reduce carbon footprint and also to minimize waste, while giving a positive outcome to their business. (SME Corporation Malaysia, 2011) The field of green technology is continuously evolving various methods, materials from technique for generating energy to non-toxic cleaning products (SME Corporation Malaysia, 2011).

One of the example of greening product is Natura paint from Benjamin Moore is an odorless interior paint. This paint has zero VOC colorants which is the organic chemicals that will affect the environment and human health. The other example is the poly Whey wood finish from Vermont Natural coatings uses recycled whey protein which is a by-product of the dairy industry a binder. This helps produce this low-odor coating that has no toxic heavy metals and low VOCs. This innovation will change the daily of society gradually. (Automattic , 2008)

Reduce waste and inefficiency

Going to green economy will lead to resources efficient. Much of the problem with conventional agricultural, manufacturing and other industrial practices are stems from inefficiency and waste. For example, the inefficiency of energy, the waste of the paper and material, usage of the expensive chemicals though natural methods are more practical and unsustainability of conventional farming methods over the long-term.

Eliminate waste and increasing efficiency are critical parts of a green economy. Green solutions can save much for the cost. There are a few examples of economic and cost-efficient changes. (Cosmato, 2010)

Hemp fibers are more sustainable and less expensive to grow than cotton.

Hemp paper is more eco-friendly, sustainable, and longer lasting than paper made from wood pulp.

Save on paper and packaging by sending documents online.

Use more eco-friendly packaging, and less of it.

Wood from sustainable forests should be used to replace the unsustainable forest over the long-term keeps the price of lumber under control because resources not be depleted.

Using less water in textile production will save on water and energy costs.

The manufacturing sector can saves money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution by using fewer chemicals. Using natural soaps for cleaning, natural dyes, or looking for natural instead of chemical solutions to problems also helps.

Making workspaces green such as energy-efficient light bulbs, solar lighting and heating options, using recycled office supplies and recycling office supplies, can help in reduce costs and waste.

The enormous opportunities of separating waste generation from GDP growth also can be highlight, including what is recovered in recycling. For examples, the Republic of Korea has enforced regulations on products as batteries and tyres to packaging like glass and paper, through a policy of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This has triggered 14 per cent increase in recycling rates and an economic benefit of $1.6 billion. Besides that, Brazil’s recycling already generates returns of $2 billion a year. At the same time, this country has avoiding 10 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. (Nazareth, 2011)

Opening up of new export markets

A shift to a green economy will also generate economic benefits. One of the obvious potential benefits to a green economy is the opening up of new export markets. Export opportunities exist in all sectors of the green economy. The significant new markets are biofuels, and for renewable energy technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines. ( Ocampo, 2010)

Opportunities in these markets are driven by demand in export markets, a combination of foreign demand and domestic capacity development in response to stringent domestic environmental standards. Germany is currently the top exporter of green products with a 16 percent share of the international trade volume, followed by the US which is 15 percent and Japan which is 9 percent. Denmark is the largest exporter of clean energy technology, specifically wind turbines. (Globe Foundation, 2010)

Malaysia Services Exhibition (MSE) 2010 recognized Malaysia has an excellence, reputation and capability in the rapidly growing green technology sector. In conjunction with this exhibition, Publication called “Malaysia – Excellence and Capabilities in Green Technology” was also launched. Embarking on green renewable energy provides the opportunities to Malaysia export new market. (MEEC Unit, 2011)

Perspective of others countries toward green economy

In the first preparatory meeting for 2010 conference, there is the debate and interactive exchange between developed countries and developing countries on their perspective about green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

In the views of Spain on behalf of the European Union, green economy is a relevant, timely and politically challenging theme. It emphasizes the private sector role, the right price setting and the right of social policies. It stresses on the cooperation between countries and the support to green economy strategies such as promotes the renewable energy, use and management of sustainable resource.

In the perspective of Mexico, green economy is a new model. However, it should not cause the change in the agenda, approaches and options respond to the challenges that has not solved by community in terms of sustainable development. Mexico said that it is critical for developed countries transfer technology that can moderate the degradation of environment and support the implementation in developing countries.

On the other hand, the United States recognize that transition to a green economy was the only way forward. It also recognizes that the means of green economy and the methods implemented will vary from different countries. According to United State, countries should embrace green economy as a new awakening instead of resist it and introduce various initiatives for green economy.

Japan has touted its Hatoyama Initiative and outlines some of its action related to green economy. The Hatoyama Initiative is a national carbon-regulation scheme that announced at the Copenhagen Summit in December 2009 by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama. This initiative targets a 25 percent cut in global warming emmisions below 1990 levels by 2020.

Korean also shared its experiences with green strategies. It said it has invested 2 percent of its GDP on green development to move towards low carbon growth. It said that green growth is about solving climate change problem aggressively and making green technologies and industries to drive to national economic growth.

In the perspective of Indonesia, green economy is a vehicle towards a sustainable development. According to Indonesia, the global economic crisis occurred recently has shown that some problems in the method their current and past economic development. This provides them an opportunity to redesign national and global economic policies and strategies toward the implementation of green economy.

Besides, according to China, the green economy has recently become a critical trend. It stress that countries must conduct policy measurement for green development. The operational mechanisms are also needed to achieve development virtuously which characterized by economic and social development in harmony with resources and the environment. Then, the harmony interaction between man and nature, conservation and creation of ethical value for environment in social and economic value is also important to change the mode of production and life style. Furthermore, the international community also play role to create an enabling environment to achieve green development. (Ling & Iyer, 2010) From the countries perspectives, it is obvious that majority agree with the transition to green economy.

Malaysia perspective and policy toward green economy

Ministry that has responsibility and concern about issues of green economy in Malaysia is under Ministry of energy, Green technology and water. Malaysia needs face these phenomena because of climate change has become one of the biggest international challenges in the 21st century. Malaysia also face increasing total of carbon dioxides emissions this will lead to increasing in temperature and Malaysia become hotter than before. Below showing total carbon dioxide emissions at Malaysia:

Table 1: Total C0 2 emissions Malaysia at years 1971 until 2008

Year

CO 2 emissions (million tonnes of CO 2)

1971

12.7

1975

16.1

1980

24.2

1985

33.4

1990

48.9

1995

78.5

2000

111.1

2005

152.8

2006

158.1

2007

169.9

2008

180.9

Source: International Energy Agency

Table 1 showing the increasing total carbon dioxides gas emissions in Malaysia at years 1971 until 2008, this all because of Malaysia now day more focus on manufacturing sector. As we know manufacturing sector will contribute on increasing of carbon dioxides such as smoke from factories. An addition, overcrowded of transportation in urban area also will contribute to increasing of total carbon dioxides gas. That why interventions of government are important to protect our environment form damaged and conservation our environment.

Figure 3: Total energy production in Malaysia at 1972 until 2008

Coal/peat

oil

Gas

Hydro

Comb.renew.&wast

Source: IEA Energy Statistics

Figure 3 showing the total of energy production in Malaysia at year 1972 until 2008 which it increases usage of all energy resource. This all because of increasing of populations in Malaysia where demand for energy is increase and Malaysia now day focus on Manufacturing were it use more energy to support this sector to success. Useful of this all energy actually will give positive and negative impact, especially use of enough energy is good for our production sector and meet the demand of citizen, but the negative impact is toward our environment and will lead to scarcity of resources. That why, Malaysia government concern about this issues and try to find a way to minimize and resolve this problem.

To overcome of these challenges government turns out with three Policies on Environmental Protection and Conservation introduced over the years such as below:

On 2002, government approved National Policy on Environment which integrates the three elements of sustainable development they are economic, social and cultural development and environmental conservation. The Policy aims at continued economic, social and cultural progress and enhancement of the quality of life of Malaysians through environmentally sound and sustainable development.

Then on July 24, 2009 government has launched the National Green Technology Policy with objective:

I. To minimize growth of energy consumption while enhancing economic development.

II. To facilitate the growth of the Green Technology industry and enhance its contribution to the national economy.

III. To increase national capability and capacity for innovation in Green Technology development and enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness in Green Technology in the global arena.

IV. To ensure sustainable development and conserve the environment for future generations.

V. To enhance public education and awareness on Green Technology and encourage its widespread use.

Four Pillars of Green Technology Policy:

I. Energy – Seek to attain energy independence and promote efficient utilization.

II. Environment – Conserve and minimize the impact on the environment.

III Economy – Enhance the national economic development through the use of technology.

IV. Social – Improve the quality of life for all.

(Malaysian Country Water Partnership, 2011)

Lastly is on 2009 government also launched National Climate Change Policy. The aim of this policy is to ensure climate resilient development to fulfill national aspirations for sustainability.

Rational of these policies such as below:

I. Changes of climate overtime directly will affect human activity as well as natural systems and processes.

II. To give people information, education and awareness about green economy, changes of climate and its effect.

III. Initiative of government interventions and government effort to take care of people within country.

Several initiative undertaken Ministry of energy, Green technology and water to address the challenges of climate change and to pushing for a low-carbon:

Energy efficiency

The Malaysian Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme represents one of the main efforts undertaken to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector. This programme showsthat ministry concern about useful of energy especially on productions and environment. This programme focuses on reducing impacts of the energy sector on the environment and also to improve competitiveness of products and services in the global market.

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Renewable energy

April 2010, renewable energy policy and action plan was given appoved by government. This policy is aimed at promoting long-term sustainability by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation and at the same time stimulates a new growth industry for the country. An additions this policy also important to conserve the environment for future generation and to enhance awareness of role and important of renewable energy, example renewable energy is such as biomass, biogas, mini-hydro and system solar.

Green buildings

Ministry was carried out with the ‘Green Building Index (GBI)’. GBI is assessment or rating tool to grade environment-friendly buildings and the Government is providing fiscal incentives to buildings which are GBI-certified. Owners of GBI-certified buildings are entitled to income tax exemptions, equivalent to the additional capital expenditure, to green their building. Buyers of green buildings from developers will also be exempted from stamp duty equivalent to the additional cost incurred to green their building. (Ministry of energy, Green technology and water, 2010)

Environmental Performance Index (EPI) Score in 2008

Rank

Source: 2008 EPI report

Figure 4: The top ten greenest countries’ ranks and rating in EPI

The figure above shows the environmental performance index in 2008. This index takes not only the pollution index of the country, but it also considered the industry, populations, size as well as the demographic of the country. It considered the issues of environment health such as the burden of disease, air and water pollution and ecosystem vitality such as the climate change, water and air pollution effect from ecosystem.

Figure four shows that nine out of top ten countries is developed countries and only Columbia is the only developing country. The other developed countries such as Japan and U.S have respectively ranked in 21th and 39th. The relatively wealthy countries have high score in the Environment Health result. In contrast, the developing countries include Malaysia that ranked at 27th score lower than the developed countries. The success of the wealthy country is due to the policy effort and deep commitment to environmental values through their public and business communities. The developing countries are less in pollution stress and less in access to financial resources when they need it such as nutrition and disease, this lead to the air pollution, climate and change and biodiversity.

Recently, the score of EPI in 2010 has also released. But owing to changes in methodologies and underlying data, the EPI score in 2010 and rank cannot be directly compared to 2008 scores and ranks.

Environmental Performance Index (EPI)score in 2010

Source: 2010 EPI report

Figure 5: The top ten greenest countries’ ranks and rating in EPI

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2010 report is the result from a research done by Environment Law and Policy at University and The Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Colombia University in collaboration with World Economic Forum. It is rating ranks 163 different countries according to ecosystem vitality and environment health. The ecosystem vitality include issues such as the climate change, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, biodiversity and habitat, water and air pollution while the environment health take account the environment burden of disease, air pollution and water.

Overall, there are six over ten of the top greenest countries are developed countries. They are Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, France and Austria. The developing countries ranks in the top ten are Costa Rica, Mauritius, Cuba, and Colombia. Other developed countries like Japan and U.S. rank in 20th and 61th respectively while Malaysia rank in 54th.

Iceland is the top greenest country where it is the only countries that score more than 90 points which is 93.5 points. Although it is a developed country, it has high score on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation as well as plentiful hydropower and geothermal energy. This shows that it is effective in the pollution control and natural resources management. According to the Kyoto Protocol, Iceland’s has obligations concerning greenhouse emission. It must not increase their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10 percent and above 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012 (European Environment Agency , 2010).

Costa Rica is the developing countries that ranked in the third place of Environmental Performance Index with 86.4 points. According to some author who surprise with its rank, Costa Rica is a very rough and vastly unsafe country and has a few tourist trap. However, actually Costa Rica has some efforts in green. It is one of the first countries in the world that recognize the economic and social benefits from the environmentally sensitive forestry. There are 26 percent of the Costa Rica’s land area are protected forests and more than 50 percent out of bounds for human living settlement. (United Nations Environment Programme, 2010)

The United States has very low score at 63.5 points with 61th rank. Increase of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution are vastly contributed to its low ranks. But U.S maintains the nation’s forest sustainability and provision of safe drinking water, this assist it from fall to more low rank.

The Japan ranked 20th and score 72.5 points. This is due to Japan put many efforts in the renewable energy because they aware that their big city, Tokyo, emit carbon dioxide has causes the global warming especially. Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has set a goal which is to increase the proportion of renewable energy used from the total energy used in Tokyo around 20 percent by the year of 2020. (Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 2006) Besides that, Japan is a world leader in PV manufacturing.

Malaysia is ranked 54th and scores 65 points in EPI. It placed behind Japan but in front of the U.S. Malaysia’s environmental health is 81.31 points over 100 points while the ecosystem vitality is 48.7 point over 100 points. Thus the average is 65 points. The Greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 Emissions per electricity generation, and industrial greenhouse gas emission intensity are the major contribution to the low score in ecosystem vitality and so EPI score.

Since Malaysia has ranked 54th over 163 countries. This is a good starting point for Malaysia. By this EPI, Malaysia will aware of its position and encourage more

 

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