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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Resource efficiency is the key to a Green Economy. Elaborate. (250 words)

    07 Aug, 2020 GS Paper 3 Bio-diversity & Environment

    Approach

    • Introduce by defining resource efficiency and green economy.
    • Explain how resource efficiency can help achieve a green economy.
    • Give a few points about how resource efficiency can be achieved.
    • Conclude by summarizing some more advantages of resource efficiency.

    Introduction

    • Resource efficiency is the ratio between a given benefit (or result) and the natural resource use required for it.
      • It is a strategy to achieve the maximum possible benefit with the least possible resource input.
    • The United Nations define a Green Economy as one that results in "improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.
      • The Green Economy is not only a simple metamorphosis of sustainable development, but it is the effective implementation of sustainable development in economic activity.

    Body

    How resource efficiency (RE) can help achieve a green economy

    • Green economy is a low carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive economy.
      • The growth in employment and income is driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • To achieve these objectives, resources efficiency is the first step forward.
    • Resource efficiency and reuse of secondary resources has enormous potential to save energy.
      • Scarcity of resources and their measurement is at the centre of the Green Economy and resource efficiency can help solve this problem.
    • Reduced extraction pressures due to adoption of RE strategies will help to reduce ecological degradation and pollution associated with mining.
      • Reduced extraction of resources has the potential to reduce conflict and displacement in mining areas, as well as improve the health and welfare of local communities.
    • Reduced waste generation will not only reduce pollution associated with disposal but also save related costs.
      • Reduced waste will also contribute to cleaner cities and rivers/water bodies through reduced disposal and associated pollution.
    • Resource efficiency can contribute to improved affordability of and access to resources critical for poverty reduction and sustainable human development.
    • There is a potential to create new jobs in green product certification, eco-labelling, and green marketing.

    How resource efficiency can be achieved

    • Promotion:
      • Eco-labelling and standard certification of products.
      • Technology development to promote quality in manufacture and performance of a product.
      • Strengthen awareness regarding green products.
      • Improve the availability and lowering the cost of green products in the markets.
    • Regulation, Economic instrument:
      • Viability Gap Funding (VGF) that can help businesses overcome the barriers and become competitive over time by building scale and upgradation of technology.
      • Tax reforms can play an important role in steering the economy towards resource-efficient practices and circular economy. Value-added taxes should be levied on value-added activities like mining, construction, and manufacturing.
    • Institutional Development:
      • Capacity development of key actors responsible for undertaking or overseeing RE strategies, including MSMEs and also the informal sector.
      • A dedicated institutional set up for development, assessment of RE measures should be established.
      • Baseline data collection and development of indicators.

    Conclusion

    • The Green Economy is simply the economy we must strive for, in which development is lasting and sustainable.
    • Increasing population, rapid urbanisation and expanding industrial production have led to the exploitation of available limited natural resources with concerns regarding resource depletion and future availability becoming more pronounced.
    • Ensuring resource security requires an integrated, concerted and collaborative approach in order to fulfil the needs of a vast and growing population.
    • Enhancing resource efficiency (RE) and promoting the use of secondary raw materials (SRM) is a pertinent strategy to address these challenges and reduce dependence on primary resources and hence transform into a Green economy.

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