Leaving the development of clean technologies to other countries would mean Irish industry could lose out on a sector which is expected to grow into a market worth $1.3 trillion (Euro 922bn), from today’s level of $284bn.

He added that green technologies could help Ireland endure and overcome the current global economic downturn as well as provide jobs for the growing number of PhD students the country is producing.

“As a country, we are facing the most difficult economic and financial challenge since the 1980s,” he told an Environmental Protection Agency conference.

“To have a sustainable economy, we must have a sustainable environment.

“Climate change is arguably the biggest issue facing Ireland. It won’t be tackled unless fundamental changes are made.”

According to the Industrial Development Authority, Euro 148bn was invested by venture capitalists into clean technologies last year.

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