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28 March 2010

Green Jobs May Surge 44% Within Five Years, U.K. Lawmakers Say

Source: Bloomberg

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Britain may employ 44 percent more people in “green jobs” by 2015 working on renewable power, carbon capture and storage and efforts to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, a panel of lawmakers said.

The nation may earn 5 billion pounds ($7.4 billion) a year by selling rights to land under the North Sea for capturing carbon dioxide, Parliament’s cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee said today in an e-mailed 102-page report.

The report criticized the government for not giving industry the funds or direction it needs to shift away from fossil fuels to energy that pollutes less, said Paddy Tipping, a lawmaker from the ruling Labour party who chairs the committee.

“We know how to get from the past to the future, but we really need to get on with it,” Tipping said in an interview. “We need more money, more commitment, more zeal.”

Jobs across the range of carbon-cutting industries may increase to 1.27 million in 2015 from 881,000 in 2008, the panel said. The government needs to do more to spur potential export technologies including wave and tidal energy and carbon capture and storage, or CCS, Tipping said.

“With one new coal-fired power plant in China every fortnight, fossil fuel burn isn’t going to go away,” Tipping said. “If we can get CCS up and running, it’s a winner for us, both in terms of export potential and the real benefit of a reduction in emissions.”

Nuclear Plants

The panel also said the government shouldn’t directly fund new nuclear plants because of the risk of crowding out investment in renewable energy, and that obtaining planning consent for onshore wind power remained a “huge problem.”

A Green Investment Bank with 2 billion pounds of funding announced in the government’s annual budget on March 24 isn’t enough to spur the needed growth in green technologies, Tipping said.

“The Green Investment Bank is a good step forward, but the scale isn’t sufficient,” Tipping said. “It’ll require significantly more funding than that. I’d be looking at 5 billion plus another 5 from the private sector, which would be a good start. It should be in place as soon as possible.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at [email protected]