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Royal Society: We’re in the Anthropocene

Environmental problems are beginning to threaten our social and economic wellbeing, according to a new paper from the Royal Society – another argument for a move to a green economy.

Professor Gerry Carrington, who chaired the authoring panel, says the aim of the paper is to encourage discussions on the issue. (Scroll down for an infographic capturing the key points.)

The UN defines a green economy as resource efficient, low carbon and socially inclusive. The Royal Society says New Zealand is well positioned to become a green economy with its many natural advantages, such as extensive renewable energy sources.

The paper identifies a number of barriers that need to be overcome, such as the perception there are trade-offs between being economically competitive and being sustainable, and that a green economy might lead to a lower standard of living.

“The paper points to growing recognition of alternative indicators better suited than GDP for capturing the quality, quantity and sustainability of economic activity,” says Professor Carrington.

Sectors where research, new technologies and innovation would help moves to a green economy are also highlighted.

“Initiatives which bring together different interest groups, such as the Land and Water Forum, have shown that sustainable solutions can be generated by collaborative processes incorporating government, communities, businesses and individuals. The recently announced Smart Grid Forum is another example.”

Facing the Future: Towards a Green Economy in New Zealand

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