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'India needs USD 50 bn for incremental green investment'

India would require over USD 50 billion for "incremental green investment" to overcome poverty, increase food production to eradicate hunger without degrading land and water resources, and avert the climate change catastrophe, a senior UN official said.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2011, released here, shows that governments across the world would need to invest USD 1.9 trillion within the next few years to accomplish "the Great Green Technological Transformation" for addressing a combination of grave challenges, particularly for averting "the catastrophic impacts of climate change and environmental degradation."

"The new investments would enable a shift to more efficient and renewable energy technologies, including transforming agriculture technologies so as to guarantee food security," Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for economic and social affairs, said, issuing the report on "The Great Green Technological Transformation."

Though the report did not provide a country-wide breakup of the USD 1.9 trillion needed for shifting to new green technologies, it argued that "at least one half, or USD 1.1 trillion per year, of the required investments would have to be realised in developing countries."

For India, the projection for new green investments is well over USD 50 billion, said another official in the UN economic and social affairs department, who asked not to be named.

The report said 20 per cent people have no access to electricity, mainly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. It said around 1.4 billion live in extreme poverty, suggesting that massive investments are required to bring about a decent living standard for people.

Sha expressed concern over growing "green trade protectionism" and declining assistance from rich nations, saying these two factors could impede the much needed push towards new green technologies in the poor countries.

More importantly, "the intellectual property rights regime needs to be changed," the report argued.

It underscored the need for "the new international regime" for intellectual property rights to allow special and differential access to new technology based on level of development.

Besides, multilateral trading rules, including compulsory licensing provisions, should grant greater flexibility to developing countries in their conduct of industrial policies, the report said.

"Without these investments," Sha said, world would face catastrophic consequences, especially growing food shortages, from the enveloping climate change.

Most of the new investments for "green technology" would have to come from domestic public resources mobilisation, he said, underscoring the need for a second "green revolution" based on efficient use of natural resources and less water.

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