June 8, 2009

Nations everywhere boast a ‘green stimulus’

Jim Harris
Magazine Article

By: Jordana Levine

International climate change talks are continuing in Bonn, Germany.  The second round of discussions begun on June 1, 2009, and the negotiating time for the 192 collaborating countries ends in mid-July. By then, they need to reach an agreement with new emissions reduction targets and compensation packages for poor countries that have already been him with impacts of climate change.  These new decisions will be the basis for the final negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009.[1]

These discussions on how to replace Kyoto Protocol targets are pushing countries to pump money into a “green stimulus.”  China and the US, who never signed the Kyoto Protocol, are likely to join in the new plans for shrinking greenhouse gas emissions.[2]

Canada has set aside eight percent, or US$2.6 billion of its total stimulus package, for green measures.  Although Canada’s emissions have gone in the opposite direction, reaching 26 percent above the 1990 levels and 33.8 percent above the country’s Kyoto targets[3], the country has agreed to cut emissions by 20 percent from 2006 to 2020.  The majority of the money is estimated to increase clean energy and create 407,000 jobs over 5 years:[4]


The US is setting aside $112.3 billion for green measures, 12 percent of its fiscal stimulus.  The nation’s first stimulus package, which was approved in October 2008, contained a lot more features than the second one, which was approved February 2009 and cut out $57 billion of environmental spending.  Originally, it would have included $18.2 billion in taxes cuts and clean energy credits and $2 billion for carbon capture and storage.  Still, the updated stimulus gives $22.5 billion for renewable energy incentives, $52 billion for energy efficiency, including updating the electricity grid, and $10 billion for public transit.  The green stimulus is projected to create 2.5 million green jobs.[5]

China, the country whose emissions grew 250 percent between 1990 and 2006, plans to use 38 percent of its stimulus, equivalent to US$22.8 billion, to go green, according to HSBC.  (However, Beijing and other economists say this number is higher than what they will invest.)  Their green package will include over ¥350 billion (US$51 billion) for environmental projects and around ¥450 billion (US$66 billion) for the country’s rail infrastructure.[6]  China is spending the most money per-capita to invest in going green.[7]

The European Union has set aside a whopping 59 percent of its fiscal stimulus, €16.4 billion (of US$22.8 billion), for green measures.  The EU recovery plan should get the European Investment Bank to give an extra €12 billion of funding for green infrastructure over two years.[8]

1 Marsden, William.  “Crunch time for climate talks.”  Ottawa Citizen.  6 Jun 2009. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/fp/Crunch+time+climate+talks/1669662/story.html
2  Pedersen, Mike.  “Keeping ahead of the green curve.” Ottawa Citizen.  5 Jun 2009.   http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Technology/Keeping+ahead+green+curve/1652801/story.html
3  Munro, Margaret.  “Canada may be blowing smoke about intentions to reduce greenhouse gas.”  Canada.com.  21 Apr 2009.  http://www.canada.com/Canada+blowing+smoke+about+intentions+reduce+greenhouse/1517913/story.html
4  Bernard, Steve and others.  “Which country has the greenest bail-out?” Financial Times.  2 Mar 2009.  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cc207678-0738-11de-9294-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1
5  Steve Bernard and others. “Which country?”
6  Steve Bernard and others. “Which country?”
7  Mike Pedersen.  “Keeping ahead”
8  Steve Bernard and others. “Which country?”

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