Aarti Dhar

Report warns that many of new jobs can be “dirty, dangerous and difficult”Too few green jobs are being created for the most vulnerable

NEW DELHI: A new study on the impact of an emerging global “green economy” suggests that efforts to tackle climate change could result in the creation of new “green jobs” in the coming decades.

The report, “Green Jobs: Towards Decent Works in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World,” brought out by the International Labour Organisation, says changing patterns of employment and investment resulting from efforts to reduce climate change and its effects are already generating new jobs in many sectors and economies, and could create millions more in both developed and developing countries.

Urgent action

However, the process of climate change, already under way, will continue to have a negative effect on workers and their families, especially those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and tourism. Action to tackle climate change as well as to cope with its effects is therefore urgent and should be designed to generate decent jobs.

Though the report is generally optimistic about the creation of new jobs, it warns that many of these jobs could be “dirty, dangerous and difficult.” Sectors of concern, especially but not exclusively in developing economies, include agriculture and recycling, where all too often low pay, insecure employment contracts and exposure to health-hazardous materials need to change fast.

The report says that too few green jobs are being created for the most vulnerable: the 1.3 billion working poor (43 per cent of the global workforce) in the world with earnings too low to lift them and their dependents above the poverty threshold of $ 2 per person per pay, or for the estimated 500 million youths who will be seeking work over the next 10 years.

The global market for environmental products and services is projected to double from the present $ 1,370 billion per year to $ 2,740 billion by 2020, according to this study. Half of this market is in energy efficiency and the balance in sustainable transport, water supply, sanitation and waste management.

Key sectors

Sectors that will be particularly important in terms of their environmental, economic and employment impact are energy supply, in particular renewable energy, buildings and construction, transportation, basic industry, agriculture and forestry. The report suggests that 2.3 million people have in the recent years found jobs in the renewable energy sector alone. Employment alternative energies may rise to 2.1 million in wind power and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030.

Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of $ 630 billion by 2030 will translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.

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