Green tech boom looms but poor nations risk being eclipsed: UN
Green technology is booming, but developing countries could fall behind in the race.
The green technology sector could be worth several trillion dollars by 2030, but developing countries will miss out unless they invest now, according to the UN.
Green technology exports from advanced countries have already surpassed those from developing countries, according to the United Nations' trade and development office, UNCTAD.
It adds that without intervention to close the disparity, early adopters will gain long-term advantages, making it even more difficult for developing nations to catch up. "We are at the beginning of a technological revolution based on green technologies," said the agency's chief Rebeca Grynspan.
"Missing this technological wave... would have long-lasting negative implications." According to UNCTAD, 17 important frontier technologies at the forefront of green innovation could generate a market worth more than $9.5 trillion by 2030, up from $1.5 trillion in 2020.
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Artificial intelligence, electric cars, green hydrogen, biofuels, nanotechnology, 5G, gene editing, robotics, 3D printing, wind energy, and blockchain are among the innovations. They can be used to produce goods and services in a way that leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
With a combined 70 percent of patents, the United States and China presently dominate these fields.- Richest countries gain ground - In terms of readiness to embrace and exploit such technologies, high-income countries dominate the UNCTAD ranking chart, headed by the United States, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Russia is ranked 31st among the BRICS countries, China is 35th, Brazil is 40th, India is 46th, and South Africa is 56th – the highest on the African continent.
China's lower-than-expected ranking is due to insufficient rural internet penetration and slow broadband speeds. However, several Asian nations outperform, with India ranking 67 places higher than its GDP per capita ranking, the Philippines 54 spots higher, and Vietnam 44 spots higher, putting them in a strong position to seize the initiative.
Latin America, the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa are most at risk of missing out on current opportunities.
Despite a slow start, a gap in green tech exports is already opening up, with developed nations pulling ahead of the rest with exponential growth.
Total green tech exports from developed countries increased from around $60 billion in 2018 to more than $156 billion in 2021, while exports from developing countries, including China, increased from $57 billion to $75 billion during the same time.
During that time, developing countries' share of global exports dropped from more than 48 percent to less than 33 percent.