Science & Environment

Emerging economies 'need to prioritise green growth'

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur (Image: BBC)
Image caption The Malaysian government, which is co-hosting the event, is keen to develop its green energy system

In order to move up the world's financial rankings, emerging economies need to prioritise green growth, a US expert on the topic says.

New York University's Jerry Hultin lists 10 "green future" priorities - such as green energy and innovation - as key areas to ensure future growth.

He also wants to see a system to accelerate the time it takes for ideas to appear in the marketplace.

Mr Hultin outlined his priorities at a high level forum in San Francisco.

"Young people are very excited about the chance to make the world a better place," explained Mr Hultin, who was under-secretary of the US Navy during Bill Clinton's presidency.

"The clock is ticking as far as population growth, consumption etc is concerned. We need to come up with solutions.

"As an under-secretary for the navy and thinking about the stability and defence of the world, solving this challenge is a great opportunity for young people around the world."

Mr Hultin's 10 priorities include:

  • Support green energy development and policies
  • Provide "cradle-to-career" education opportunities
  • Enable university researchers "to exit the system, run businesses, and return"
  • Create a "culture of national networking for innovation"
  • invest in "long-term, game-changing breakthrough research"

He said conventional fuel would be one of the "three big things" that will be in short supply in the future.

"Food, fuel and [water] are going to be in short supply when the population rises to nine or 10 billion people by 2050," he told BBC News.

"So green energy, both in terms of how you create it and how you use it, is a critical issue.

"In the United Arab Emirates, there is a lot of interest in green energy because they do not want to consume what is their most valuable source of revenue, which is oil and gas.

"They want to be sure that they have alternative ways to generate and use energy."

Networking key

Mr Hultin will be among speakers at the High Level Forum on Green Future in San Francisco, organised by the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) - a joint initiative between the Malaysia Industry-Government Group for High Technology and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS).

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, will be among the speakers at the event.

Mr Hultin identified an area that he felt needed to be unlocked in order for emerging economies to advance.

"The key that I think it missing to (unlock) innovative economies and societies is networking and communication," he suggested.

"We need an open system of ideas getting into the marketplace and tested so then we can see if they are successful or quickly determine that they are not going to work.

"So I put a high value on what I call networking because it is the flow of information, the flow of ideas and the flow of capital."

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