A rapid transition to clean energy would create, not eliminate, jobs.
This month, when diplomats met in Poland to negotiate the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the United States took on the role of the villain. The United States, which plans to formally withdraw from the pact, rejected a landmark scientific report and touted the need for fossil fuels. Why? In justifying his opposition to the Paris Agreement, Trump has repeatedly said that it will eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.
According to research, however, his position is unfounded, especially over the long term. By working to achieve the stated goal of the Paris Agreement, to limit warming to 2 degrees C, most countries will see a net gain in employment.
“Our findings show that if we take action to limit climate change, we will have more jobs by 2030 than by not doing anything,” said Guillermo Montt, author of the study and a senior economist in the research department of the International Labor Office, a special UN agency that focuses on labor issues. “More jobs will be created than those that are lost, so the economy and countries as a whole stand to gain.”
The study, which appears in the journal International Labour Review, found that accelerating the transition to clean energy could add 24 million jobs globally by 2030. In reaching their conclusions, Montt and his colleagues developed a model of the world economy to reflect how it would look with widespread adoption of renewables and enhanced energy efficiency. They found the impact in the renewables sector will ripple across other industries, such as construction and manufacturing.
“Energy is related to many other sectors in the economy. Changes in energy affect the rest of the economy as well, affecting jobs all over,” Montt said. “Also, there are more jobs in a world with renewables and energy efficiency because we need more workers to produce one gigawatt-hour of electricity from renewables than from fossil fuels.” MORE