INTERVIEW-Renewables stir growth, create jobs - EU adviser

Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:33pm GMT

* EU climate adviser says more renewable energy needed

* Rifkin argues euro zone debt crisis exacerbated by austerity

* Renewable energy created 250,000 jobs in Germany

By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - A major expansion of renewable energy could create millions of jobs worldwide, stir economic growth in heavily indebted countries and help fight climate change at the same time, an American adviser to the German leader Angela Merkel said on Monday.

Jeremy Rifkin, a best-selling author and an adviser to the European Union on climate change and energy security, said Germany has been leading the way by creating some 250,000 jobs in renewable energy in just a few years, but could do more.

Rifkin, who will join Merkel at a public hearing on the subject in Berlin on Tuesday, said investing more in renewable energy and the accompanying internet technology to link homes and buildings with green energy networks could help economies weighed down by the euro zone debt crisis to start growing again.

"The question right now is how do you save the euro zone and the EU?" Rifkin told Reuters. "It's not just austerity, austerity, austerity because there's no growth. How can an economy grow to pay back the loans with all these cuts?

"Everyone realises the only way to grow is to balance the austerity with other measures and what's needed is an economic plan that creates thousands of business opportunities and millions of jobs. This is a moment of great opportunity."   Continued...

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