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Germany

Germany Says More Green Jobs Can Help Fight Recession

Boosting investment in the renewable energy sector and raising state spending on environmental protection could help Europe's largest economy shake off the recession, the German government said on Tuesday.

A solar panel unit in eastern Germany

Germany expects the creation of thousands of new jobs in its renewable energy sector

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Feb 24, Germany's Deputy Environment Minister Astrid Klug said hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be created in environment-related industries in Germany over the next decade.

"We need more climate protection, now more than ever, in this current situation," Klug said. "Investments in climate protection can help us get out of this crisis faster," she said at the conference called to present a government report on the job prospects of climate protection.

Klug said climate change and energy policy were directly related to technical development and economic growth.

Climate protection as a "job motor"

"The renewable energy sector is in the midst of a highly dynamic development. We want to maintain our world leadership in technology," Klug said. "Climate protection is a real job motor for Germany."

The minister said there were currently 250,000 jobs in Germany's renewable energy sector, but that this number could triple by 2020, and hit 900,000 by 2030.

A total of 1.8 million people currently work in environmental protection, accounting for 4.5 percent of Germany's workforce.

Wind mills are silhouetted against a bright orange sky

Germany has made strides in wind energy in recent years with a slew of investments in offshore projects

Germany is in the grip of its worst recession in decades as the global downturn batters exports, decimates companies' profits and raises the specter of large-scale job losses.

The government report, published on the environment ministry's Web site, said Germany would allocate 5.5 billion euros ($7.05 billion) for environmental protection in 2009. Around 4 billion euros from that budget is to be used to refurbish and better insulate apartments, schools and kindergartens.

A portion of the government's recently-passed 50-billion-euro economic stimulus package has also been set aside for energy efficiency projects.

Maintaining the lead

The government report said that both city dwellers and rural communities stood to benefit from stepped-up environmental policy.

The German government has set itself the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

The renewable energy sector, meanwhile, has the stated aim of tripling its contributions to national energy generation by 2020. As of 2008, the sector accounted for 15.1 percent of power generation.

Klug warned that Germany could not afford to lose its lead in renewable energy and said that many of the ambitious policies were aimed at remaining ahead of countries like the US.

"We're to stay ahead of the pack," she said.

Author: Darren Mara (reuters/dpa)

Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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