May 26, 2009

How Germany Created Jobs by Going Green

President Obama says investing in a “green economy” can create 5 million jobs in the next 10 years. How? The answer may lie in Germany. The country that is home to Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen is on its way to making its green sector larger than its auto industry by 2020, according to a recent study. Germany has developed 250,000 new jobs in renewable energy, including nearly 50,000 wind-power jobs in the last five years alone.

The government worked to promote a green culture through all levels of society. ”We started with simpler parts, like automating systems in office buildings to use less power,” says Elmar Bollin, a director of research in Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Financial incentives were given to people who retrofitted their homes with renewable sources. Police officers ticketed polluting cars that drove in emission-reduction zones. Competitions challenged citizens to see who could save the most power. Schoolchildren in the city of Heidelberg who devised and implemented successful plans received some of the money they saved to use in their classrooms.

The green-jobs creation program costs the aver­­age German family $38 per year on its utility bill. The country leads Europe in developing and exporting green technology, generating $240 billion in annual revenue. And the German government continues to lead by example: Its parliament building is set to run solely on green energy.

Susan Fine
courtesy of Parade Magazine
5/24/09

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