New Report Finds Green Economy Could
Create Millions of Jobs
Sep 25, 2008 - Voice of America
A new study says tackling climate change could create
millions of new jobs in both developed and developing
countries. At the same time, the report warns there
will be job losses in certain sectors as countries
adjust to the shift from fossil fuel to renewable
energy. The International Labor Organization, the
U.N. Environment Program and the International Organization
of Employers produced the study. Lisa Schlein reports
for VOA from Geneva.
This is the first comprehensive study on the emergence
of a so-called green economy. The new report finds
efforts to reduce climate change are underway and
are generating new jobs in many sectors and economies.
Policy Director at the International Labor Organization,
Stephen Pursey, says tackling climate change will
offer many job opportunities in both developed and
developing countries. But, he notes job losses will
result from the greening economy.
He tells VOA the urgent need to stop climate change
from occurring means that all jobs eventually will
have to be part of the green economy.
"Now, some jobs will probably be phased out, particularly
in areas like fossil fuels and new jobs will be created
in areas like solar, building insulation, infrastructure
investment," said Pursey. "Overall, the evidence we
have so far is that there are probably more job opportunities
from shifting to sustainable development patterns
than there will be job losses."
"But, of course, they will not be the same people
and the same places. So, we have big issues of transition
to make sure that people who are losing jobs have
opportunities to get back into the green economy,"
Authors of the report are generally optimistic about
the creation of new jobs. But, they warn many can
be dirty, dangerous and difficult, especially in developing
countries. These include jobs in agriculture and recycling
which often are low paid, insecure and could involve
Pursey says environmental policy makers must think
of the employment consequences when considering ways
to contain and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Decent work is something that is really important
for every family tomorrow," he said. "But, now it
is increasingly important that we address climate
change urgently. We cannot afford to put it off, even
for decent work. So, we have to get the two going
together and what the report is showing is that this
is possible. You can have decent work, you can improve
working conditions and create better opportunities
and tackle the environmental challenges."
The report says the global market for environmental
products and services is projected to double to more
than $2.7 billion a year by 2020. And, half of this
market, it says, is in energy efficiency and the balance
in sustainable transport, water supply, sanitation
and waste management.
It notes 2.3 million people have found new jobs in
the renewable energy sector alone in recent years
and by 2030, nearly 8.5 million people will be working
in wind and solar power.
It says renewable energy now generates more jobs
than employment in fossil fuels.
The report cites examples of massive green jobs that
already have been created in countries such as China,
India, Brazil and South Africa. It adds, in Nigeria,
a biofuels industry based on cassava and sugar cane
crops might provide jobs for 200,000 people.