Low carbon economy can generate millions of new jobs

Twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place, a new report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates.

According to the ILO flagship study (World Employment and Social Outlook 2018), climate change mitigation measures will inevitably cause job losses in certain sectors as carbon- and resource-intensive industries are scaled down, but they will be more than offset by new job opportunities.

Measures taken in the production and use of energy, for example, will lead to job losses of around 6 million as well as the creation of some 24 million jobs. The net increase of approximately 18 million jobs across the world will be the result of the adoption of sustainable practices, including changes in the energy mix, the projected growth in the use of electric vehicles, and increases in energy efficiency in existing and future buildings.

“The findings of our report underline that jobs rely heavily on a healthy environment and the services that it provides. The green economy can enable millions more people to overcome poverty, and deliver improved livelihoods for this and future generations. This is a very positive message of opportunity in a world of complex choices,” ILO Deputy Director-General Deborah Greenfield said in the official ILO release.

Ecosystem services – including air and water purification, soil renewal and fertilization, pest control, pollination and protection against extreme weather conditions – sustain, among others, farming, fishing, forestry and tourism activities, which employ 1.2 billion workers.

In order to ensure a just transition, efforts to promote the green economy must be accompanied by policies that facilitate the reallocation of workers, advance decent work, offer local solutions and support displaced workers.

Other key findings of ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2018:

  • Most sectors of the economy will benefit from net job creation: of the 163 economic sectors analysed, only 14 will suffer employment losses of more than 10,000 jobs worldwide.
  • Only two sectors, petroleum extraction and petroleum refining, show losses of 1 million or more jobs.
  • 2.5 million jobs will be created in renewables-based electricity, offsetting some 400,000 jobs lost in fossil fuel-based electricity generation.
  • 6 million jobs can be created by transitioning towards a ‘circular economy’ which includes activities like recycling, repair, rent and remanufacture – replacing the traditional economic model of “extracting, making, using and disposing”.

Read more:
ILO press release: 24 million jobs to open up in the green economy
ILO report: World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs

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