Comhar report proposes massive "green new deal"

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SPENDING ON the smart economy should be increased eightfold to almost e4 billion a year to make Ireland a world leader in creating green collar jobs, according to the national advisory body on sustainable development.



In a report on a “Green New Deal” for Ireland published yesterday, Comhar argued that a multi- billion euro commitment would be needed if Ireland was to become a sustainable, low-carbon economy.



SPENDING ON the smart economy should be increased eightfold to almost €4 billion a year to make Ireland a world leader in creating green collar jobs, according to the national advisory body on sustainable development.



In a report on a “Green New Deal” for Ireland published yesterday, Comhar argued that a multi- billion euro commitment would be needed if Ireland was to become a sustainable, low-carbon economy.



The most eye-catching recommendation in the Towards a Green New Deal for Ireland report is that Anglo Irish Bank should be reconfigured as a green bank, offering mortgages, loans and savings accounts that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The report argues the nationalised Anglo Irish Bank should be the driver for financing many of the environmental and sustainable projects.



Minister for the Environment John Gormley, who launched the report at the Royal Irish Academy yesterday, said there were many interesting proposals in the document but said each, including the bank proposal, would need to be examined in great detail by the Department of Finance.



“I would be enthusiastic about many of the ideas contained in the report. They will have to be subject to greater scrutiny,” he said.



Comhar’s policy analyst Eoin McLoughlin said Ireland should be prepared to commit up to 2 per cent of GDP (e3.7 billion) each year over the next two to three years in order to finance the initiative.

He pointed out that since July 2008, spending on the green deal has been 0.37 per cent of GDP.



“To be a leader in Europe in green technology and green collar jobs by 2020, it’s important that we convert the challenge into opportunities,” he said.



The document sets out the council’s proposals on how economic recovery can be achieved using a sustainable and green approach.



Comhar defines the Green New Deal as reviving the economy and creating job opportunities “through building an innovative, low-carbon and resource-efficient society”.

It says the deal would necessarily protect ecosystems and biodiversity, provide social inclusion, and build the capacity to adapt to climate change.

(c) Irish Times

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