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Climate change driving ‘fourth tech revolution’: Brown

By AFP (Agence France Press) - November 19, 2007

Climate change is driving the need for a “fourth technological revolution” to cut pollution and save the planet, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday.

In his first major speech on the environment since taking office, Brown said the developing green technology sector could employ 25 million people worldwide and be worth three trillion dollars annually by 2050.

Britain currently produces 654 million tonnes of so-called greenhouse gases per year, and needs to cut that by more than half by 2050 — while its economy is likely to have grown two and half times bigger.

“This means a significant change in our energy economy. Indeed I believe it will require no less than a fourth technological revolution,” Brown said.

“In the past the steam engine, the internal combustion engine and the microprocessor transformed not just technology but the way society was organised and the way people lived.

“Now we are about to embark on a comparable technological transformation – to low carbon energy and energy efficiency.”

Such a transformation was both a challenge and an opportunity, he said.

“Globally, the overall added value of the low carbon energy sector could be as high as three trillion dollars per year worldwide by 2050, and it could employ more than 25 million people.

“If Britain maintains its share of this growth there could be over a million people employed in our environmental industries within the next two decades,” added Brown, who succeeded Tony Blair in May.

At the weekend UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to world leaders to push for “a real breakthrough” on climate change at a key meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali from December 3-14.