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Euopeans Worry That Fixing Greece’s Economy Could Derail A ‘Green’ Revolution

Here’s an unconventional reason not to force economic reforms on Greece: it’s going to delay a “green” energy revolution.

European environmental regulators argue that financial crises can create the perfect conditions for green energy and technology investments. Basically sacrificing a country’s economy to stop global warming.

EurActiv reports that “short-term” thinking on the part of European Union officials to bring “brown” jobs to Greece could “derail the transition to a green economy,” according to the heads of European environmental regulatory agencies.

Kristín Árnadóttir with the Environment Agency of Iceland said the country’s financial crisis a few years ago “created the conditions” for green energy and technology to grow. EurActiv asked her if the same thing could happen to debt-laden Greece.

“Why not? Do not let a good crisis go to waste,” she responded.

Greece has been hampered by high debt and a lagging economy for years. It is going through debt negotiations, which is worrying environmentalists who want to see the country become a green paradise.

Environmentalists are warning EU politicians not to cave to pressure for “short-term” results in terms of economic growth. They argue that while the upfront costs are higher, the benefits last longer and have higher pay outs.

“We need the courage to say regardless of the political pressures that go clearly in the direction of jobs and growth, that the green economy is something that needs attention in and of itself,” said Hans Bruyninckx, executive director of the European Environment Agency.

One thing European countries are trying to do is convince banks and other major financial institutions there is a risk to investing in fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. Central banks in England and China are reportedly moving towards pricing in “carbon risk exposure” on their balance sheets, reports EurActiv. The world bank has also been advocating for countries to price global warming into investment decisions.

“I’ve been amazed by the fact there are some very serious banking and finance people who are really recognizing that this is really an issue for financial and banking regulations,” Marianne Fay, chief economist at the World Bank, told EurActiv.

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