A hard sell This commitment to environmental measures is not an obvious strategy in today’s difficult economic climate. Green spending is hard for governments to sell to disenchanted and impoverished voters, so the potential boost to jobs and growth has moved centre-stage in the presentation of investments in low-carbon technologies and sectors. It is no longer just the right thing to do for the environment but also the right kind of growth stimulus, politicians argue. US President Barack Obama claims that his ‘New Energy for America’ scheme will “help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150bn [€119bn] over the next ten years to be a catalyst to private efforts to build a clean energy future”. Growth advantages From India and China – which emits more carbon than any other country – to Indonesia and Australia, governments are pushing clean energy while stressing the employment and economic growth advantages. Green business is good business, the argument runs. Few governments and politicians dispute that green policies are a necessity if a global environmental disaster is to be avoided. China, long seen as a major polluter with little regard for the environmental damage it causes, is becoming more serious about reducing pollution and mitigating its effects: 37.8% of its stimulus investments are green, according to HSBC. It has seized on the manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbine components as a source of growth and is aggressively investing in rail transport and grid infrastructure that can reduce transmission losses, as well as production of electric cars and energy-efficiency in construction. In Japan, the opposition Democrats have put tough emission targets and spending on green energy at the heart of their policy, outbidding Prime Minister Taro Aso on green credentials. But Japan’s green stimulus is just 2.6% of its overall package, and it is uncertain how ‘green new deals’ now in preparation will withstand the forces of the economic slump once put to the electoral test. The global stimulus package of multilateral and national responses to the economic crisis is not just the largest but also the greenest ever. Around 15% is designed to support low-carbon or other environmentally-friendly economic growth, according to the research division of HSBC bank. In relative terms, South Korea is way ahead of everyone else as 80.5% of its stimulus goes to investments in energy efficiency and water and waste management – ranging from installing efficient lighting in public buildings to constructing dams for hydro-electric generation. But in absolute terms, China and the United States lead the way: their green investments are worth €175.25 billion and €88.93bn respectively, according to HSBC.
By Brett BickleyBlowing up big in the music scene, livetronica band Big Gigantic announced that they will be the first performers to use the cutting edge technology known as “Projection Mapping” at Colorado’s legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. The band will perform on September 29 at the Morrison, CO venue, best known for its awe-inspiring surroundings. “Projection Mapping” will transform the natural rock amphitheater into an audio/visual experience, making the famous “red rocks” audibly and visually part of the experience. The Big Gigantic has dubbed the evening, “Rowdytown”. Support acts for the evening will be Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dillon Francis, GRiZ and Raw Russ.