The green motor is creating jobs since many years, and still there is a lot of potential in Europe to creat jobs in the automotive, energy and packing industry, as well in research. The proposed EU target to cut greenhouse gases by 80-95 % of 1990 levels by 2050 will not be possible by solely relying on incremental efficiency gains: “Innovation may be the single most important driver to change the inefficient way we currently use resources,” EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said.
The recently-published ‘Greener Skills and Jobs’ report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) draws attention to a number of factors which have a significant impact on the development of the skills, knowledge and competences that are to contribute to resource-efficient, competitive economic growth.
Environmental taxes could encourage job creation but are under-used in the EU, equivalent to only 2.4 % of GDP in 2012. There may be multiple benefits – countries with the highest environmental taxes also seem to rank very highly for eco-innovations and competitiveness. The EU aims to increase the share of manufacturing to 20 % of GDP by 2020, from 15.1 % in 2013. This could be an opportunity to boost environmentally-beneficial innovation in areas such as renewable energy, according to the report authors.
Economic crisis cannot stop the job motor
The economic crisis seems to have had an effect on some environmental issues in the EU, including partially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and some air pollutants. Nonetheless, in most areas Europe seems to be on a similar trajectory as it was before 2008, continuing long term trends; in some other cases the crisis seems to have slowed progress.
Following the 2008 financial and economic crisis there were some expectations that additional public investment could encourage more efficient resource use in Europe.
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