A new report released today says that if we shift our economy — to a greener, low-carbon economy — we will have more jobs, not fewer.
Earlier this week, Tony Blair (former prime minister of the UK) and the Climate Group reported that if we worked to avoid climate change we’d create 10 million new jobs by 2020 — worldwide. Another recent study by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council says that such a shift could increase employment in the EU by 2.7 million jobs by 2030.
One more report, released today by the Global Climate Network (an alliance of nine influential think tanks) comes to similar conclusions.
More Jobs from Clean Technology
“Creating Opportunity” is the name of the report, which is about findings from an international study to be published in October. Conducted in nine countries, it finds that “creating markets for low‐carbon technologies will in turn create new job opportunities and that these will be greater than the number of jobs lost in carbon‐intensive sectors.”
Creating renewable electricity generation markets and prioritizing low-carbon sectors in China could create 30 million additional jobs by 2020.
Going full-throttle on wind energy development in India could create 243,000+ jobs by 2020.
In Nigeria, 273,500 extra jobs could be created from the development of smallscale hydro and gas technologies.
Another major finding, echoing Tony Blair and the Climate Group’s findings, is that there will more benefits if there is global cooperation.
Those 243,000+ jobs in India (above) could jump to 288,000+ jobs if there is strong global devlopment of wind energy.
Overall, more global investment equals more benefit because we live in a global economy now with global supply and demand.
Careful with the Numbers
The report states that we all need to be careful not to get caught up in numbers. Jobs will increase, but in new technology markets there is always a lot of variation in the growth over time. The report says, “politicians should adopt a guarded approach to predictions of job numbers and targets and focus on measures to stimulate low‐carbon technology markets. All such data is highly uncertain and is based on sets of assumptions that, as technologies and technology markets mature, may prove errant.”
This kind of thing has happened in the information and communication technology sectors already and “teaches us that the dynamism of technology is inherently unpredictable and that numbers of jobs created by prioritising technology could be many times greater than current predictions are likely to suggest.”
The positive thing, is that in most cases the estimates will be lower than the actual number of jobs created.
Strong Governmental Polices
One of the most important factors in this new job creation is strong governmental policies. The report builds on earlier findings from the UN Environment Programme that “active government policy to trigger the wholesale expansion of clean‐energy industries is a key driver of low‐carbon employment opportunities.” In particular, some important policies reiterated in this study are “setting ambitious renewable energy targets, increasing funding for R&D, creating technology testing facilities and centres of excellence, introducing economic support mechanisms such as feed‐in tariffs, phasing out subsidies for carbon‐intensive industries, and putting a price on carbon emissions.”
The market has responded in countries that are implementing such policies (i.e. Germany and the UK). If these countries and others implement stronger policies, the job growth is expected to increase much further.
The studies keep coming — if we put more money into emerging clean technology, especially renewable energy, more jobs will be created all around the world.
This is a global and a local matter, and action on both levels will create greater benefits for all.
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