European Union environment ministers gathered in Germany on Friday to discuss how new technology can help slow global warming and create jobs.
„Eco-innovation will become key driver of growth, competitiveness and employment,” said a working paper prepared for the two-day meeting in the industrial city of Essen. Eco-efficient technologies form part of an ecological industrial policy that German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel hopes could turn the EU into a leader in the field. EU experts estimate that up to 2 million new jobs could be created in the sector of renewable energies by 2020 if more effort is made to introduce greener technology, according to the paper. Key growth areas are seen in bioplastics, solar thermal or CO2 reduced power plants as well as fuel cell applications that are expected to undergo an annual growth rate in the double digit range. During their talks, the ministers will examine the best ways to interconnect environment issues, technological innovation and the creation of jobs. The meeting will also be discussing ways of harmonizing regulations in relation to innovate technology as well as better learning and coordination between EU member states.
EU states agreed in March to achieve at least a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. This could rise to 30% if other industrial nations follow suit. Reaching this goal will require a significant increase in energy efficiency in the EU and faster expansion of renewable energies to achieve the European Council's target of a 20% share of renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020. In addition to talking about ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the 27 EU ministers will also discus other issues such as water protection, waste management, and loss of biodiversity. (eux.tv)