‘Green’ stimulus plans by Japan and Republic of Korea hailed by UN environment chief

9 January 2009 – The announcement that Japan and the Republic of Korea will invest billions of dollars in environmentally smart projects to create jobs and spur economic growth is the latest sign that the Green New Deal advocated by the United Nations is gaining momentum, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.

“UNEP’s Global Green New Deal and Green Economy initiative are clearly two ideas whose time has come, as evidenced by the Republic of Korea and Japan’s stimulus package announcements alongside those of other key economies and leaders from China to the President-elect of thUNEP’s Global Green New Deal and Green Economy initiative are clearly two ideas whose time has comee United States,” Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

UNEP launched the Global Green New Deal and Green Economy Initiative as an antidote to current economic woes and as a springboard to a low-carbon, low-impact, high-job and better-managed global economy.

Japan has announced that it aims to expand the ‘green business’ market and create up to one million new jobs, through measures that include zero-interest rate loans for environmentally-friendly companies.

The Republic of Korea, meanwhile, will invest $38 billion over the next four years in a series of eco-friendly projects to create 960,000 new jobs and lay the groundwork for future economic growth.

The 36 projects include the creation of green transport networks, the provision of two million energy-saving homes and the clean-up of the country’s four main rivers.

“Investments in clean-tech and renewable energy; infrastructure such as railways and cycle tracks and nature-based services like river systems and forests, can not only counter recession and unemployment but can also set the stage for more sustainable economic recovery and growth in the 21st century,” Mr. Steiner said.

In other news, UNEP announced today that Prince Albert II of Monaco has begun a month-long expedition to Antarctica to asses the impact of global warming on the South Pole.

The Prince, who is a UNEP Champion of the Earth and a patron of the Billion Tree Campaign, will visit scientific outposts and meet with climate change experts from 18 countries to get an overview of the latest research.

UNEP hopes that the trip will also raise worldwide public awareness of the effect of global warming and other environmental change on the Poles.

“The growing environmental efforts of prominent state leaders, like that of Prince Albert II, are very important in raising the understanding in society and among politicians, of the huge risks we are facing with climate change,” said Christian Nellemann, senior officer for UNEP’s GLOBIO Programme to map human effects on the environment.

UNEP’s Polar Programme, based at the Grid-Arendal research centre in Norway, works on early warning assessment of the polar environment and focuses on communicating the key role of the polar regions for the global climate.

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