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Why it's really easy being green


It's not just General Electric which is getting all puffed up about green technology through its Egoimagination drive.

Institutional investors managing $3.22 trillion have also got in on the act. According to Munich Re, 2004 saw the largest ever insured losses from natural disasters.

So at a special summit at the United Nations in New York in May to explore the effects of global warming on the investment community, investors backed calls for, among other things, $1 billion of new investment in clean technology and better corporate disclosure of climate risks.

Yet, for investors, estimates that the greenhouse gas emissions trading markets could be worth $2 trillion by 2012 and that the market for clean technologies could be worth $1.9 trillion by 2020 are likely to be even more compelling.

"On the one hand, the negative economic consequences of climate change are clear," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, "yet for the financial and business communities our efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change and its impacts present emerging opportunities for those with the vision, entrepreneurial flair and commitment to embrace new business challenges."

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