A letter to the editor of "Oberösterreichische Nachrichten" by Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard
With reference to your recent article "Die Vertreibung der Industrie und was bleibt" published on 12 March I would like to make the following comments:
The fact is that rising oil prices make the case for moving towards a low-carbon economy even more compelling. Yes, it requires massive investments to carry through the transformation to a climate-friendly society – 1.5 percent of GDP every year. That is a lot, but in fact these additional investments would just bring us back to the aggregate investment level, we had before the economic crisis.
And instead of sending billions to foreign countries to pay for costly fossil fuels, investing in clean technologies, better energy infrastructure and research and innovation will reduce our energy bill and improve competitiveness. And as investments will be made in Europe, jobs will be preserved and created in Europe.
The 2050 Roadmap recently presented by the European Commission shows that investing now will be paid back, or even over-compensated. By 2020 we could create a net of 1.5 million jobs in Europe. Fuel savings would amount to € 175-320 billion on average per year by 2050. And reduced air pollution levels would bring down costs from healthcare and pollution control measures by up to € 88 billion a year by 2050.
Delaying climate action, on the other hand, would require additional investment expenditures of around € 100 billion per year between 2030 and 2050. And in addition Europe would risk losing out in the green race which has recently been dramatically intensified. With the launch of an ambitious, new Five Year Plan China bets heavily on strengthening their competitive advantage in fields like electric vehicles, renewable energy, smart grids and other low-carbon technologies.
By starting now we can still take the cost-efficient path to the climate-friendly society and sharpen our competitiveness in the key growth industries of the 21st century. Stakeholders across Europe realise the economic potential of climate action, which is also the reason why the 2050 Roadmap has been welcomed by a large number of businesses, Member States and NGOs.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action
- Article published at "Oberösterreichische Nachrichten"