RIO DE JANEIRO — Former British premier Tony Blair and other statesmen and corporate chiefs urged world leaders Monday to usher in "a green industrial revolution" to steer the planet on a sustainable future.
"By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion," said the signatories of an open letter published on the eve of the G20 and Rio+20 summits.
They called for a coordinated policy shift to save the world economy and the climate.
Blair, chairman of the non-profit Climate Group, threw his support behind the proposed policy chief in a speech screened at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
The Climate Group works with business and governments around the world to promote clean technologies and policies, with the aim of expanding clean technology markets and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
"At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future," the signatories said.
They backed the launch in Rio of a Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by the Climate Group and other public and private sector partners for a "green growth" push out of global recession.
"The Clean Revolution is the expressway to the green economy. It will be a new Industrial Revolution. Because of the current financial crisis, acting on climate change is more than ever before an opportunity to lead the world out of recession," Blair said in his speech.
"An incremental approach is no longer adequate for either humanity's needs or the new realities of the global economy. We need a step change. And it begins, today, at Rio+20," said Mark Kenber, head of the Climate Group.
World leaders are to meet here from Wednesday to Friday to discuss prospects for a green economy that reconciles economic growth with poverty eradication and environmental protection.
Meanwhile a new report co-authored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Climate Group said China was on the cusp of driving a new global "clean" industrial revolution.
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