Green economy is a jobs creation success story with more potential
The green economy is delivering more jobs in Northern Ireland than the motor trade, financial services sector and telecommunications combined.
A new report claims the UK's general economy is predicted only to return to 2007 levels by 2014, but the green economy is tipped to grow by 40% in that time.
The 'UK Success Story' report by environmental think tank Green Alliance reveals there was a £180m investment in renewable energy in Northern Ireland during 2011/12, as revealed by Department of Energy and Climate Change figures, creating 767 jobs.
And Northern Ireland is now the second largest consumer of renewable energy in the UK at 11% - lying behind Scotland at 22%.
Meanwhile, there are now 31,700 low carbon and environmental jobs here, more than the motor trade (10,700), financial services (17,700) and telecommunications combined (3,100).
Green group WWF says the figures suggest the UK's green economy has shown true recession resilience, growing healthily since the banking crisis erupted.
WWF NI policy officer Malachy Campbell said it shows there is real potential in Northern Ireland - yet we could be doing better.
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"I think overall there is room for improvement," he said.
"This report shows that there is a huge potential green economy, given the healthy level of growth in the last number of years.
"Longer term we need a clear policy commitment to go down a low carbon path. Hopefully this research, illustrating the importance of and opportunities offered by developing a green, low carbon economy, will make this a higher priority for our politicians."