GHDI logo

Environmental Minister Jürgen Trittin Supports Ecological Modernization (October 21, 1999)

Minister of the Environment Jürgen Trittin (Green Party) asks business and labor unions to work toward ecological modernization. In order to assuage fears about the impact of ecological measures, he argues that better environmental protection will create more jobs, especially in the energy sector, provided that higher taxes make renewable energy sources competitive.

print version     return to document list previous document      next document

page 1 of 6

Minister of the Environment Jürgen Trittin: Ecological Modernization Creates Jobs

[ . . . ]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The federal government has declared its commitment to the principles of sustainable, environmentally-sound development that balances economic, social, and ecological imperatives.

Here, the main task is the ecological modernization of the economy and society.

Fears that ecological modernization will worsen economic conditions are unfounded.

Sophisticated environmental policy creates jobs and has a positive impact on competitiveness.

But this is not a matter of using employment policy to legitimize environmental protection.

Preserving vital natural resources for future generations should be reason enough for action.

I am firmly convinced that work and the environment go hand in hand, and that the ecological modernization of the economy will have a positive impact on employment, both in terms of the quality and quantity of jobs.

Today, one million people in Germany already work in the field of environmental protection. And this is a conservative estimate, since it was based on very cautious assumptions and narrow definitions.

3. Globalization and Environmental Protection

“Globalization” is a catchword that we constantly encounter in today’s world.

It is often perceived as a threat, because the globalization of the economy allows for the full exploitation of the cost advantages associated with particular business locations.

But it is also linked to a considerable increase in worldwide prosperity.

Right now, the global economy is growing faster than ever before.

Since the mid-1980s – that is, within barely fifteen years – the total volume of world trade has tripled.

At the same time, the consumption of energy and raw materials, toxic emissions, greenhouse gases, industrial waste, traffic, and the proportion of developed land have increased dramatically in some cases.

The environmental crisis threatens to become an impediment to growth.

For this very reason, globalization must be accompanied by environmentally-sound, sustainable development.

first page < previous   |   next > last page