Green economy definition

The Green Economy Group defines a green economy as follows:

What is the green economy? The green economy is defined as a sustainable economy and society with zero carbon emissions and a one-planet footprint where all energy is derived from renewable resources which are naturally replenished. A green economy rigorously applies the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits across all corporations at the microeconomic level and throughout the entire economy at the macroeconomic level. In contrast to a green economy, a traditional “black” energy economy is based on carbon-intensive fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. By definition, a low-carbon economy is distinct from a green economy because it still generates carbon emissions.

A green economy exhibits the following characteristics:

The green economy is comprised of the 25 industries listed below (in alphabetical order):

  1. Biofuels
  2. Biomass
  3. Carbon capture and storage
  4. Carbon markets and renewable energy credits
  5. Climate change adaptation services
  6. Distributed generation
  7. Ecosystem services
  8. Energy efficiency, recycling, conservation, software and controls
  9. Energy storage, batteries and fuel cells
  10. Geothermal energy
  11. Green design
  12. Green IT
  13. Green buildings, materials and construction products
  14. Green transportation technologies and green vehicles
  15. Hydropower
  16. Ocean power
  17. REDD
  18. Smart grid
  19. Solar energy
  20. Sustainable and organic agriculture, food and products
  21. Waste management
  22. Wastewater management
  23. Waste-to-energy
  24. Water and water technologies
  25. Wind energy

By definition, coal and petroleum are not a part of a green economy due to their high carbon emissions. Although nuclear energy generates relatively low carbon emissions on a lifecycle basis it is excluded from a green economy due to its potential for long-term adverse environmental impacts.

To learn more about the green economy — or to help make it happen — review green economy 101, check out our green economy business directory, see a list of green economy events or explore our social media options.

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