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UK's Brown: 'Green New Deal' will help fix economy

INVESTMENT in "green" projects will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and could help put the world's ailing economy on the path to recovery, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today.

Brown, who held talks with US President Barack Obama in Washington this week, said Britain and the United States both see the environmental sector as crucial to future growth.

Spending money on environmentally friendly infrastructure and new technology will create 400,000 new jobs in Britain alone over the next eight years, Brown said.

The investment will form part of a global "Green New Deal" that aims to restore growth while dealing with climate change and energy security, he said. In the 1930s, US President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" helped to lift the United States out of the Great Depression.

"President Obama and I discussed not just our respective domestic programmes but how we can turn the present economic crisis into a global opportunity," he said, according to excerpts from his speech to a low-carbon summit in London, released in advance by his office.

"(It is) an opportunity to tackle our over-dependence on oil and to meet our three interlinked objectives -- energy security, climate change and job creation -- together."

Stimulus packages across Europe and Asia also stress the importance of green measures.

Britain is in recession, unemployment has risen to two million and Brown is under pressure to create jobs before an election which must be held by mid-2010.

The former finance minister said he and Obama discussed the "critical importance" of UN-led climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year.

"We agreed on the imperative of laying down green infrastructure and investing in new green technologies as a route to creating jobs and growth, making this one of the key drivers of our future prosperity," Brown said.

Leaders of about 190 countries meet in Copenhagen in December to try to agree a global framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol on fighting global warming, which expires in 2012.

Obama wants to reduce US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 -- a cut of 14.3 percent from 2007. The European Union plans to cut its emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.


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