A Strong Climate Treaty Could Mean More Jobs

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greenjobssignsThe world stands to gain 6.9 million jobs by 2030 in the clean energy sector if a strong deal is reached in Copenhagen, according to a report released recently by Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

A switch from coal to renewable electricity generation will not just avoid 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions, but will create 2.7 million more jobs by 2030 than if we continue business as usual. Conversely, the global coal industry — which currently supports about 4.7 million employees worldwide — is likely to contract by more than 1.4 million jobs by 2030, due to rationalization measures in existing coal mines.

“Global leaders can tackle the twin crises of global economic recession and climate change head on by investing in renewable energy,” said Damon Moglen, Greenpeace USA global arming campaign director. “For each job lost in the coal industry our green energy scenario, known as the Energy [R]evolution, creates three new jobs in the renewable power industry. We can choose green jobs and growth or unemployment, ecological and social collapse.”

Greenpeace’s latest research provides a model for cutting emissions while achieving economic growth, illustrates how the transition to clean energy will provide more jobs by 2030 in the power sector than would be available if it stays on the current carbon-intensive path. However, leaders and governments must act on this information as soon as possible to provide necessary jobs and retraining.

“Now is the time to put in place a ‘just transition’ to sustainably transform the jobs of today and develop the decent and green jobs of tomorrow,” added Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). “The union movement, as well as the authors of this report, believe ambitious climate action by world leaders can and must be a driver for sustainable economic growth and social progress.”

The report: “Working for the Climate: Renewable Energy & The Green Job [R]evolution” (PDF) is based on Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution and research from the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney.

The report shows that by 2030, 6.9 million people could work for the renewable power industry, and another 1.1 million jobs would be created due to higher efficiency in electrical applications.

“There are already 450,000 people working in the renewable energy industry in Europe, representing a turnover of more than EUR 40 billion. This research proves that renewable energy is key to tackling both the climate and economic crises,” said Christine Lins, Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

The report was developed in conjunction with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Institute Ecofys and more than 40 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world.

Greenpeace undertook this new study to determine whether there would be jobs created by this nine-fold increase in renewable energy, and massive global energy efficiency measures required for the Energy [R]evolution by researching jobs in power generation and electrical efficiency (excluding heating, cooling and transport). Efficiency to improve building insulation is not included in this number and would be additional.

Article appearing courtesy of Green Economy Post.

[photo credit: Flickr]

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