June 8, 2010

Renewable Energy Could Create Millions Of Jobs

Environmental group Greenpeace said Monday that making the switch to renewable energy could create as many as 8.5 million jobs by 2030 if the world's governments put their foot down on "dirty and dangerous" fossil fuels.

"Investing in people, rather than fossil fuels not only boosts global economic development but stems catastrophic climate change," Greenpeace said in a report unveiled in Berlin.

"The sustainable future of the planet is rooted in the investment in people and local communities who can install and maintain renewable energy sources," it said. 

Greenpeace said the global market for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power could be worth more than 600 billion dollars by 2030. That would be a six-fold increase from now.

The predictions are based on a scenario of carbon dioxide emissions being cut by more than 80 percent by 2050, and nearly 95 percent of the world's electricity needs being produced by renewable energy compared to about 18 percent presently.

Greenpeace senior energy expert and co-author of the new report, Sven Teske, told AFP that this scenario was "ambitious" and that major contributors to pollution have not set such long-term targets.

The European Union has pledged to reduce emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels within the next ten years. President Barack Obama is looking for similar goals to be set in the US, cutting emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

The world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, China, has pledged to cut its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.

The Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December failed to reach government agreements and targets for reducing emissions, and the US climate negotiator said last month it was politically unrealistic to try to agree on global targets.

The report, Energy Revolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook, the third edition, provides a "detailed practical blueprint for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency," Greenpeace said.

It "shows how to eliminate unpredictable fossil fuel costs, destructive mining and oil exploration and with it catastrophes such as the current BP Gulf oil spill" in the Gulf of Mexico, Teske said.


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