EPA chief calls for urgent action on green economy

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IRELAND CANNOT afford to wait before investing in the green economy, the director general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference, Mary Kelly said there were significant economic opportunities for Ireland in becoming a low-carbon and greener economy.

IRELAND CANNOT afford to wait before investing in the green economy, the director general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference, Mary Kelly said there were significant economic opportunities for Ireland in becoming a low-carbon and greener economy. However, if we were to maintain and improve the country’s environment for current and future generations we must keep investing in it.

The two-day EPA conference in Croke Park began yesterday and included speakers from equivalent organisations in Northern Ireland, Sweden and the US. Conference themes addressed the green economy, climate change and investment in environmental infrastructure.

Ms Kelly said fundamental changes would be required to ensure that economic recovery, when it comes, was low carbon and sustainable. “It will require imagination, innovation and new ways of working, and it will also require investment in research and development, infrastructure, in systems and lots more.”

She warned that many countries had already identified the green technologies which could give Ireland a competitive advantage. “Ireland cannot afford to wait; if we want the green lining we are looking for we need to invest or we will be left behind.”

Joe Harford, chairman of the Government High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise, said the global environmental goods and services market was one of the best performers despite the downturn. There was an all-Ireland market of €2.8 billion, excluding construction.

He said Ireland had one of the best wind and ocean resources in Europe. “There is more energy flowing over Ireland every day than what is underneath Saudi Arabia.”

Mr Harford said there was a shortage of skilled people to maintain wind generators. Other opportunities lay in convergent technologies, water quality, waste-treatment facilities, biosystems and food.

(c) Irish Times

Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2009 12:15

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