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70,000 new green jobs if councils tackle climate change - new research

25 June 2009

At least 70,000 jobs could be created across England and Wales if councils slashed climate-changing emissions by insulating homes and businesses and fitting green energy to buildings, according to independent research released by Friends of the Earth today (Thursday 25 June 2009).

The research - by leading advisors to councils on climate change Carbon Descent - was published to launch a new nationwide campaign calling for local councils take urgent action to cut CO2  emissions.

Friends of the Earth's new campaign - Get Serious About CO2 - turns the spotlight on the big part local councils need to play in cutting the UK's carbon emissions. The campaign is calling on councils to commit to cutting carbon dioxide emissions in their local area by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and produce an action plan detailing how they will make the cuts.

The new research analyses the manpower required to insulate homes and businesses and install green energy on buildings - two of the key ways in which councils could achieve a reduction in their emissions of at least 40 per cent by 2020.

New jobs could be available as loft laggers, architects, plumbers, builders, electricians, plasterers and insulation specialists - with new admin, transit and warehouse positions also created to support the installation of insulation and renewable energy.

Some local councils are already putting in place schemes like those modelled in the research - for example Kirklees Council in Yorkshire has created 120 jobs through insulating 21,000 homes.

The latest science tells us that rich countries like the UK have to cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. Otherwise, climate change will make a billion of the poorest people in the world homeless - and people in the UK will be affected too by increased flooding and droughts, rising food prices and economic instability.

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"Local councils must play a big part in slashing the UK's carbon emissions to help avoid runaway climate change.

With the economy in such a sorry state at the moment, our towns, cities and villages could really use a boost from new green jobs.Some pioneering councils are already leading the way through comprehensive home insulation programmes and installing green energy like solar panels to buildings. 

If every council in England and Wales took action too they could create 70,000 new jobs, cut fuel bills and make people's homes more snug."

The Get Serious About CO2 campaign can be found here.

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"Carbon Descent’s methodology is really comprehensive and identified for us the most economically viable set of actions which will meet our ambitious carbon targets."

Bob Fiddik, London Borough of Southwark