G20 Stimuli

Aim Higher?

g20The Sustainable Cities Blog has been focussing on the local and national stimulus and sustainability situation for the last few weeks. But as we know, our economy and the stimulus trying to save it, does not exist in a bubble. So now it’s time to locate ourselves within the global.

Nicholas Stern, aka, Lord Stern, the British Economist most well known for writing the700 page document that bears his name, on the economic fall out from climate change, produced a report prior to the G20 summit in London last week. Commissioned by the German Foreign Office, “Towards a Green Global Recovery,” outlines priorities and needs for stimulating a global green economy, that will have local benefits and effects.

Both the The World Resources Institute and the Center for American Progress have more in-depth discussions of the report. But the major themes outlined and suggested directions for a green recovery  are as follows:

  1. improve energy efficiency;
  2. upgrade physical infrastructure;
  3. support clean technology markets;
  4. initiate flagship projects;
  5. enhance international R&D;
  6. incentivize investment; and
  7. coordinate G20 efforts around these.

At this point, according to the Climate Action Network, 14 percent of the world’s stimulus packages are green friendly. Lord Stern states we should be hitting at least 20 percent.

This latest report appears to be a combination of both application and collaboration strategies, which is essential and can be surprisingly absent. Technical strategies need to have supporters and collaboration is the only way that any advancements will actually be made. But I can’t help but wonder if this selection of seven recommendations is listed in order of ease to difficulty. We already know that energy efficiency could reduce American (and perhaps global?) electricity consumption by 30 percent, practically over night. How much harder will it be to actually coordinate cooperation? Time will tell…


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