The transition to a green economy 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.
“Greening with jobs” (1) focuses on changes in the society and changes in jobs the next ten-fifteen years.
Complementary policies can promote employment and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The transition to low-carbon, resource-efficient economies will lead to changes in the occupational structure of the economy, with some jobs being destroyed and others created during the transition. Jobs are also likely to be transformed, requiring a skills transformation.
When seen in this light, it may seem that jobs are passively moulded by the transition. But in practice jobs, and particularly green jobs can act as a catalyst for the transition to a green economy, and can be considered a policy objective in themselves.
Green jobs are defined as follows: they reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimize waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems and enable enterprises and communities to adapt to climate change. In addition, green jobs have to be decent (2). They can be found in any economic sector and any enterprise, including the environmental goods and services sector. The rural sector offers many opportunities for the creation of green jobs and particularly green jobs that further the traditional practices of indigenous and tribal peoples, which can advance sustainability. Importantly, green jobs can enhance the transition to a green economy.
Although climate change mitigation measures may result in short-term employment losses, their negative impact on GDP growth, employment and inequality can be reduced through appropriate policies. Climate change mitigation could bring down slightly the share of women in total employment unless action is taken to reduce occupational segregation, as employment gains associated with the 2°C scenario are likely to create jobs in currently male-dominated industries (renewables, manufacturing and construction). Coordination between the social partners can reduce inequality and promote efficiency gains, while coordination at the international level is necessary to achieve meaningful cuts in emissions. Certain mitigation policies (such as limiting the increase in temperature, for example by promoting renewable energy) may act as an incentive for enterprises to develop and adopt more efficient technology, thereby boosting employment in key occupations, as well as productivity. Adaptation policies (e.g. converting to climate-resilient agriculture practice) can also create jobs at the local level.
(1) Greening with jobs, WORLD EMPLOYMENT SOCIAL OUTLOOK, 2018, International Labour Organization 2018
(2) UNEP Background Paper on Green Jobs 2008
Lucubrate Magazine September 2019
Lucubrate Magazine highlights some of the main suggestions from the document “Greening with jobs”, World Employment Social Outlook 2018.
(This is the fifth article in Lucubrate Magazine in the series about future jobs. Find all the articles in the series here)
The picture on the top of the article showes offshore windmill farm in the ocean, windmills isolated at sea on a beautiful bright day Netherlands Flevoland Noordoostpolder, By Fokke