According to the International Labour Organization, switching to a greener world economy could generate up to 60 million new jobs over the next 20 years, and lift tens of millions more out of poverty. Renewable energies already generate 13 percent of the world’s power and $200 billion in annual investments.
Not everybody agrees, however, on the power of going green. Poland’s Chamber of Commerce argues compliance with measures proposed in the EU’s low-carbon roadmap could slice 10 percent off the country’s GDP by 2020 and spark a 400 percent increase in electricity prices.
So will going Green harm or hinder the European economy? How can European green-tech companies keep their competitive edge as the likes of China and Brazil speed up development of their eco-industries?
Green growth could bring a range of economic benefits to the European Union. Do you think that “greening” the EU could help the economy recover?
Here’s the reply from Manuel Sarrazin, Spokesman on European Union Affairs of the Greens/Alliance 90 in Germany’s Bundestag:
Manuel Sarrazin pointed to Germany’s example where jobs are being created through the switch to renewable energy and green technologies. Greater energy efficiency could help southern European countries cut their debt by reducing fuel costs, he added, but more investment from the EU budget is needed to help southern countries develop the sector.
Rebecca Harms, Co-Chair of the Group of European Greens-European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, stressed the significance of job creation through a “Green New Deal”:
Rebecca Harms said politicians need to match words with deeds, and get beyond the fear that imposing targets aimed at tackling climate change will hinder economic growth. A focus on climate-friendly, energy efficient programmes could go a long way to solving Europe’s economic problems, she said.
What do YOU think? Can Europe pull itself out of the crisis by going green? Or will strict EU environmental standards push up prices and put European companies at a disadvantage against global competitors? Are cash-strapped governments right to cut subsidies to renewable energies? Do falling investments mean Europe is losing its edge in a thriving world green-tech market? Let us know your thoughts in the form below and we’ll take your comments to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.