NAIROBI: The cost of adopting responsible policies on climate change for global economies could be balanced by the creation of millions of "green jobs," the United Nations said on Thursday.
In a statement released as thousands of delegates gathered in Bali for a key meeting on climate change, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Chief Achim Steiner called for a major boost to so-called clean industries.
"Millions of new jobs are among the many silver, if not indeed gold-plated linings on the cloud of climate change," said Steiner, also UN under-secretary general.
"Talk of environmental sustainability and climate change often emphasises the costs, but downplays the significant employment opportunities from the transition to a global economy that is not only resource efficient and without the huge emissions of greenhouse gases, but one that also restores environmental and social values," he added.
Steiner was referring to the preliminary findings of a report on "green jobs" due to be released next year and commissioned by Nairobi-based UNEP, the International Labour Organisation and the International Trade Union Confederation.
"In the US alone, the environmental industry in 2005 generated more than 5.3 million jobs - ten times the number in the US pharmaceutical industry," a UNEP statement said, quoting the report.
It also said that "by the year 2020, Germany will have more jobs in the field of environmental technologies than in its entire automotive industry."
According to UNEP, investment in renewable energy has now reached 100 billion dollars (70 billion euros) and represents 18 percent of new investments in the power sector.
"Added together, we are clearly on the edge of something quite exciting and transformational," Steiner said, urging government officials gathered in Bali to send strong signals to promote such development.