Change to spare?

The UN puts a higher price tag on sustainable development

If we want developing nations’ growth to be fueled by renewable energy resources, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. According to a United Nations report released Tuesday, such a strategy of avoiding environmentally harmful fuels will cost $500-$600 billion every year for the next 10 years. That figure is much higher than earlier estimates—and comes at a time when the international community is still wrangling over who should foot the bill for cleaner energy. Now, it seems it might stand in the way of a global strategy against climate change.

The developing world wants financial support up front, which will help countries reduce emissions. But the developed world says that kind of money should only follow proven success. “We need a public investment program to drive this shift into cleaner energy resources,” explained Rob Vos, director of development policy in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Vos compared that kind of program to the Marshall Plan, the unified economic reconstruction scheme that the United States instituted in Europe after World War II. “The major obstacle,” he insists, “is to convince political leaders and their constituencies to go in that direction.”

New York Times