date: 25 February 2009
embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday 26 February 2009
Creating thousands of green jobs could not only help the UK slash its CO2 emissions, but investment in a new low carbon workforce could also limit the length and severity of the current recession, says the TUC in the latest of its Touchstone pamphlets published today (Thursday).
But the union organisation warns against the Government taking a back seat and leaving it to the market to set the pace of transition to a green economy. In Unlocking Green Enterprise: A Low Carbon Strategy for the UK Economy, the TUC says that it is up to ministers to create the conditions that will allow the UK to keep up with European competitors such as Denmark and Germany, who have developed much bigger green industries.
The TUC pamphlet - which is the fifth to be published in the Touchstone series - says that the green economy was worth some $548 billion in 2004 and could be as much as $800 billion by 2015. And although the UK has reaped some of the benefits of this green growth, its 7,000 jobs in renewable energy compare poorly to the half a million employed in the sector in Germany.
Unlocking green enterprise: A Low Carbon Strategy for the UK Economy says that to push the UK in a greener direction, the Government must first convince business that it is serious about the environment and that green issues will be at the top of the political agenda even after the economy recovers. Ministers should be promoting the environmental message to the public, and where necessary introducing financial incentives to encourage both consumers and business to go greener.
The Touchstone pamphlet also urges the Government to assess the kind of workforce and skills that will be needed in the green economy. The UK will need more designers and engineers, and also workers qualified to install and maintain the new renewable energy technologies. Ministers need to act to ensure suitable degree courses and training schemes are in place, says the TUC.
One of the current barriers to unlocking green enterprise in the UK, says the TUC, is down to the current cost of goods and services not reflecting their actual impact on the environment, leaving companies with little incentive to introduce costlier, greener alternatives. This in turn makes it less likely than firms will invest in new green products and keeps consumer demand low. All of which underlines the need for Government action now to ensure the future success of the UK economy, says the TUC.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Everyone is talking about how the banks and irresponsible lending got the world into the economic mess it currently finds itself in, but not much is being said about how we lift ourselves out of the slowdown.
'Government action now to invest in low carbon technologies and in the skills to develop a new green workforce should mean the current recession is much shorter and shallower for UK businesses.
'But as our European neighbours show, it is only through governments - not the market - creating the right conditions, investing and changing laws where necessary, that a new green, sustainable workforce can emerge.
'This will be one of the key demands of the Put People First coalition when it marches and rallies in London the weekend before the G20. On Saturday 28 March the alliance - which includes unions, plus a variety of green and faith groups - will tell world leaders that they must work together to build a fairer, more sustainable world with green jobs and a low carbon economy at the heart of recovery.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- A copy of Unlocking green enterprise: A Low Carbon Strategy for the UK Economy can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/touchstone/greenenterprise/unlockinggreenenterprise.pdf
It costs £10 and can be purchased from www.tuc.org.uk/publications It is the fifth pamphlet to be published in the Touchstone series which is designed to inject a trade union perspective into serious debate about public policy issues.
- On Saturday 28 March the TUC will be part of the huge 'Put People First' platform which is made up of some 55 unions, development agencies, domestic poverty, faith and environmental groups. The alliance plans to tell world leaders attending the G20 summit - happening just five days afterwards on Thursday 2 April - that only just, fair and sustainable policies can lead the world out of recession.
- 'Put People First - March for Jobs, Justice and Climate' will start from the Embankment and culminate in a rally in Hyde Park. It will demand decent jobs and public services for all, an end to global poverty and inequality, and a green economy.
- The following organisations are amongst those backing the march: ActionAid, Action for Global Climate Community, ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa), Advocacy International, Akina Mama Wa Africa, BECTU, BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development), Bretton Woods Project, CAFOD, Centre for Democracy and Development, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, CHIC (Change is Coming), Christian Aid, Equity, Everychild, Fairtrade Foundation, Fatima Women's Network, Friends of the Earth, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, GMB, Jubilee Debt Campaign, MRDF (Methodist Relief and Development Fund), Musicians Union, Muslim Council of Britain, National Union of Journalists, National Union of Teachers, New Internationalist, One World Action, Oxfam, Pants to Poverty, PCS, People and Planet, Progressio, Salvation Army, Save the Children, Stamp Out Poverty, Stop AIDS Campaign, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Tax Justice Network, Teach a Man to Fish, Tearfund, Trade Justice Movement, Trades Union Congress, Trading Visions, Traidcraft, UCU (Universities and Colleges Union), UK Aid Network, UNISON, UNITE, USDAW, War on Want, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Development Movement, World Vision, WWF.
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Press release (1,100 words) issued 26 Feb 2009
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-16021-f0.cfm
printed 23 May 2013 at 22:24 hrs by 22.214.171.124