Green drive could generate jobs

Investment in the green economy and harnessing renewable energy sources (RES) could generate more than 200,000 jobs at a time that unemployment is rising and an unprecedented debt crisis is threatening the future of many traditional sectors, a new study has found. According to research carried out jointly by conservation group WWF Hellas and the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), increasing the use of RES for electricity production and making buildings and modes of transport more energy-efficient could create up to 210,000 new jobs. The report, whose findings were made public yesterday, said RES could account for 30 percent of the country’s energy production by 2020 with the right planning and infrastructure. At present, Greece’s power production is heavily dependent on the use of fossil fuels, such as coal. The authors of the report note that some 11 billion euros in investments would be required over the next nine years if this goal is to be attained. Another 15 billion euros is needed to make buildings more energy-efficient by 2020, the report says, but it foresees profits of 2 billion euros in this area. According to the chief author of the report, AUEB professor Anastasios Xepapadeas, meticulous planning is necessary if the country is to capitalize on neglected potential. «These initiatives must be carefully planned and implemented over a long period of time and priority should be given to the implementation of measures likely to pay off soonest,» Xepapadeas said. WWF Hellas director Dimitris Karavellas also called for the creation of a monitoring mechanism to ensure profiteers are kept at bay and that the environment is protected. In May, Prime Minister George Papandreou told an international summit that «new tools» were needed to tackle the debt crisis that has engulfed Greece and is threatening the eurozone. He said that the green economy could be an agent for warding off recession and boosting growth.

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