Kyoto agreement will create 1-2 million jobs in Europe

The achievement of the ambitious Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% by the 2010 will lead to a creation of additional jobs of 1-2 million by the year 2010, says EU Environment Commissioner.

Speaking at a seminar on environment and employment in Brussels this week, Commissioner Bjerregaard highlighted some of the positive economic impacts of environmental protection. “Renewable energy sources alone have a high employment potential. Estimates show that the job potential of wind energy can be as high as 320,000 jobs, and that of biomass production to 1,000,000 jobs. Mainly small and medium sized companies will create these new jobs as they easier can change production processes.”

Studies in Germany and the U.K. have shown that cleaner cars and more and better public transport systems not only improve urban air quality but can also create employment. Similarly, increased activity in recycling and the provision of green spaces for people’s recreation and as habitats for flora and fauna often result in new businesses opportunities and new jobs.

Energy taxes have the potential to create up to half a million jobs, says Bjerregaard, as the resultant revenues can be used to reduce labour costs – an indirect incentive for enterprises to create more jobs. Hence the Commission would like to see it’s proposal on an energy product tax be approved as soon as possible.

The Commissioner pointed to the enforcement of environmental legislation as another stimulus for environmental employment, but called for co-operation from all economic players, including business, trade unions, financial institutions, universities and NGOs.

Currently, over 3.5 million people in the European Union work in jobs related to the environment.

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