Government policies that promote a greener economy could create 24 million new jobs across the world by 2030, more than offsetting the six million lost elsewhere.
That is according to a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), which highlights how many of the job gains will be created by adopting sustainable practices in the energy sector.
New roles will also be found in promoting electric vehicles and improving the energy efficiency of buildings, while ‘ecosystem services’ such as air and water purification will sustain industries employing 1.2 billion workers.
However, the report also calculates that heat stress caused by rising temperatures will result in a 2% global loss in hours worked by 2030 due to sickness, particularly in agriculture.
“The findings of our report underline that jobs rely heavily on a healthy environment and the services that it provides,” ILO deputy director general, Deborah Greenfield, said.
“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.”
At the regional level, new policies concerning the production and use of energy are forecast to result in job creation in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe of three million, 14 million and two million respectively.
In contrast, the Middle East and Africa’s dependence on fossil fuels could see the two regions experience job losses 0.48% and 0.04% respectively if current trends continue.
Of 163 economic sectors analysed, just 14 are expected to suffer employment losses of more than 10,000 jobs worldwide, with petroleum extraction and refining the only two experiencing losses of one million or more.
It is also predicted that 2.5 million new roles will be created in renewables-based electricity, offsetting 400,000 lost in fossil fuel-based power, while another six million will be created transitioning to a circular economy.
Report lead author, Catherine Saget, said it would be important for all stakeholders to be consulted if the negative impacts of some employment losses are to be minimised.
“Social dialogue which allows employers and workers to participate in the political decision-making process plays a key role in reconciling social and economic objectives with environmental concerns,” she continued.
“There are cases in which such dialogue not only helped to reduce the environmental impact of policies, but also avoided a negative impact on employment or working conditions.”
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