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Green Economy To Cost $1-2.5 Trillion Per year: U.N.+

Feb 21 06:43 PM US/Eastern
GENEVA, Feb. 21 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Investments in the order of $1.05 trillion to $2.59 trillion per year are needed to make the world's economy environmentally sustainable, the United Nations said Monday.

The figures represent 1.5 to 3 percent of world gross domestic product, and would result in strong renewable energy penetration, more sustainable fisheries and water usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions among other gains, it said.

The U.N. Environment Program's "Green Economy Report" compiled estimates on the costs associated with "greening" seven key sectors such as energy, transport, fishery and building construction and maintenance.

To reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent, for example, would require investments of between $233 and $1,500 billion per year, it said, citing studies by the International Energy Agency and HSBC Ltd.

This compares with $557 billion spent annually on fossil fuel subsidies and shows the feasibility of the investments, the report said.

According to economic models undertaken by the UNEP, these investments would also be conducive to growth, with an estimated world GDP per capita increase of 14 percent by 2050.

According to the agency's models, the GDP growth rate would be higher with these green investments over the next 40 years than in the "business as usual" scenario.

The report recommends a number of policies, including increased government investment in green technologies and the use of market- based incentives such as taxes, but also a gradual ending of spending in inefficient and unsustainable practices to encourage green investments.