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UN: clean energy investment can support economy more than fossil fuels



Transitioning to renewable energy sources can create more jobs and positively benefit economies, according to a new report. The paper argues that investment in clean energy, rather than fossil fuels, will boost job creation.

The research, from the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), states that countries that sustain annual investments in energy efficiency and renewables at a rate of 1.5% of GDP will “maintain healthy economic growth rates” while providing the energy resources needed to sustain growth.

Yvo de Boer, director general of GGGI, commented, “Significant progress has already been made in overcoming the hitherto conventional wisdom that taking steps to cut greenhouse gases is incompatible with economic growth.

“This report moves the debate another positive step forward by showing that employment and development result from sustainable green growth.”

Previous studies and data sets have also highlighted that economic growth is decoupling from greenhouse gas emissions, suggesting that climate change targets can be met without harming economies. The International Energy Agency found that in 2014 global carbon emissions stalled for the first time in four decades without an economic downturn.

The GGI and UNIDO paper looked at the employment impacts of large scale clean energy plans in five countries – Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa and the Republic of Korea. It concludes that there is a clear path for the global economy to achieve carbon reduction targets while also expanding job opportunities, even while the fossil fuel sectors may be contracting.

“The results in the five countries presented in this report clearly show that green growth investments are not just viable or beneficial for the month highly-industrialised countries. On the contrary, all counties, be they developed or developing, can derive significant benefits from investments in clean and renewable energy,” said director general of UNIDO Ll Yong.

Photo: N A I T via Flickr

Further reading:

Green bond issuance triples in 2014

Renewable jobs growing 7 times faster than average

Sustainability jobs are career change of choice and pay well – survey finds

Wind power industry set to lose thousands of jobs

Fracking jobs claims ‘overstated’, argue environmental group


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