Japanese Ministry Says Renewables Will Improve Economy

A Japanese think tank has denied that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to promote new renewable technologies, would hurt economic growth and employment.

TOKYO, Japan, JP, 2001-11-30 [SolarAccess.com] In a report for the Environment Ministry, the Tokyo-based Research Institute for Systems Technology says new technologies could boost economic growth and employment significantly by 2010. By redirecting 1.6 trillion yen each year in government spending to 20 specific technologies, such as solar power and fuel cells, it says 2.1 trillion yen would be added to the nation’s gross domestic product by 2010, boosting it by more than one third of a percentage point and creating 180,000 jobs. Officials of the Environment department say the report conclusion and other calculations will reduce resistance from industry to measures to reduce GHG emissions, and will help convince the public that it stands to benefit from tackling climate change, even if certain sectors face hardships. RIST says the study shows that benefits will be gained by putting money into sectors where society needs it, rather than into conventional public works such as road construction. The study suggests the Japanese government channel funds into 20 technologies in five energy-consuming sectors. Spending 420 billion yen annually to promote the use of hybrid cars would yield a 798 billion yen rise in GDP by 2010, according to the study. It estimates that 200 billion yen from government to push industry to use fuel cells would produce the next-largest benefit by adding 379 billion yen to GDP. The developments would create 180,000 jobs, particularly in commerce and the automobile industry, or 5 percent of the projected jobless figure in 2010. The construction industry may lose 22,000 jobs. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is committed to cutting GHG emissions by 6 percent by 2012 from 1990 levels. The report suggests that by forging ahead with clean energy and other technologies that could be sold abroad, Japan would export emission reductions to other countries of 3.7 megatonnes.
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