A Green Issue of Nordregio News

This January, Denmark took over the presidency of the EU and in line with the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) that they had already established, launched Green Growth as one of the focal topics for the coming six months. It is stated in the priorities of the Danish Presidency that "in the context of the current economic difficulties, new, balanced measures related to energy, climate and the environment can contribute too much needed growth and employment in Europe. Green growth can be encouraged by integrating such efforts across a range of European policies". This issue of Nordregio News is dedicated to green growth and the green economy, primarily from a Nordic perspective. Its aim is to promote the understanding of key concepts, how they are implemented and the political aspects of the process.

Negotiations in Durban ended with both success and uncertainty. A renewal of Kyoto was agreed upon, but the issue of legally binding commitments was pushed backwards with a 'letter of intent' to reach a consensus in 2015. At the conference, in relation to a green growth process, the Nordic countries jointly launched two so called "NAMAs" (nationally appropriate mitigation actions) that will focus on capacity building and the transfer of technology to enable a cleaner development process in developing countries.

In the first article of this issue, Responding to Crisis with Smart and Sustainable Investment, Ryan Weber helps us to understand the concept of a Green Economy and the critical sectoral, territorial and temporal dimensions of this transformation. Today, it is widely acknowledged that due to its scale and scope, the economy influences all other activity on earth. As UNEP presents it: "The concept of a green economy does not replace sustainable development, but there is now a growing recognition that achieving sustainability rests almost entirely on getting the economy right". A Green Economy, or Green Growth, builds on the idea of developing cleaner production processes, developing new products and energy solutions and reducing waste.

The transformation to a green economy is driven by the need to reduce emissions and resource use, but also by a recognition that that there are opportunities for investment and growth in wealth and jobs. Reducing resource-use saves money, and developing clean-tech can create a first mover advantage. In the second article of this issue, Green Highway - a 450 km Nordic Co-operative Project, Aslı Tepecik Diş and Kjell I. Stellander introduce a concrete example of new ways of thinking about transport and infrastructure and how this relates to regional development. The example of the green highway illustrates the territorial dimension of a Green Economy.

To really change the way society is planned and functions, and to deal with externalities, suitable policies are often needed to provide incentives and to show the way. In the final article, Can Iceland Become a Green Land?, Salvör Jónsdóttir reflects on a policy process in relation to the introduction of a Green Economy policy package on Iceland. She describes the major components of this proposal and the way this process is implemented and adapted to national and regional specificities.

I wish you an interesting read!

Gunnar Lindberg

Senior Research Fellow

and the Editorial Board

Back to Nordregio News Issue 1, 2012