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Renewables 'creating more jobs than fossil fuels'

Renewables 'creating more jobs than fossil fuels'

Renewables 'creating more jobs than fossil fuels'

A new study from the UN has shown how spending on renewable power sources is making a genuine contribution to economic growth via job creation.

Presented at the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 last week (June 18th), the 316-page report argues that investment in green energy delivers "clear net-gains in employment generation" when compared against the fossil fuel industry.

It says that nations that spend 1.5 per cent or more of their gross domestic product (GDP) on energy efficiency and renewable power sources "will be able to maintain healthy economic growth rates, while providing sufficient energy sources to sustain growth".

"Significant progress has already been made in overcoming the hitherto conventional wisdom that taking steps to cut GHGs [greenhouse gases] is incompatible with economic growth," commented Yvo de Boer, director general of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which co-led the study.

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

The UN and GGGI's research centred around the economic impact of large-scale green energy projects in five countries: Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa and the Republic of Korea.

According to UN Industrial Development Organization director general Li Yong, their findings showed how investment is "not just viable or beneficial" for the world's most industrialised nations, but that countries of all sizes "can derive significant benefits" from the move.

The report is not the first to demonstrate that investment in green energy generates more employment than fossil fuels. In November, a study conducted by the UK Energy Research Centre found that ten times as many jobs per unit of electricity are created by the renewable energy industry than by conventional forms of power - about one per gigawatt hour, versus 0.1 for coal and gas.

Lead author Dr Will Blyth, of Oxford Energy Associates, commented: "The key challenge for government policy is to encourage an economically efficient transition towards the country's strategic goals, such as tackling climate change."

Furthermore, data released by the Renewable Energy Association in May showed that employment in the industry was up nine per cent in 2014, outstripping the growth rate for the UK as a whole seven times over.

There were more sobering findings to the UN and GGGI report, however. It says that in order to control climate change, governments worldwide will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

This will only be possible if most nations spend the 1.5 per cent of GDP on green energy proven to deliver economic growth.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of ThinkStock