Green taxes are among ways to spur jobs and economic revival despite less focus on environmental solutions since the U.N.'s Copenhagen summit in 2009, Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
Green issues are still on the agenda, he told Reuters during a one-day jobs conference in Oslo that had scant focus on U.N. calls for a shift to renewable energies such as wind and solar power to cut unemployment and help end recession.
One of the ways that we can restore public finances is to try to have green taxes, he said.
One of the problems many countries in Europe are facing is that they reduced taxes during times of high economic growth and now they have problems in financing the public sector, he said.
We see a very close link between climate issues and economic recovery. Investments in green technology are part of the solution, he said.
Yet during the conference, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stood out among several leaders by stressing greener jobs, for instance via more solar power or building insulation. Few other participants mentioned green jobs.
A 102-page document by the International Monetary Fund and the International Labour Organization about the conference on growth, employment and social cohesion has a few references to protecting the environment. It does not mention green in an environmental context nor climate change in the main text.
Asked if the focus on climate issues was as strong as last year, when countries were preparing for a December climate summit in Copenhagen, Stoltenberg said: No, it's not as strong as then. But the environmental problem is as big as it was.
The Copenhagen summit came up only with a non-binding deal to limit temperature rises to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times and to raise billions of dollars to help developing countries combat climate change.
Stoltenberg is co-chair of a group appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looking into ways of raising a target of $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations combat climate change.
He said it was too early to say the conclusions of the U.N. report on climate financing due out late in 2010.
(Editing by Ron Askew)