Can the Net Zero Strategy be the Driving Force for Global Employment?

Excerpt from earth.org

Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing the 21st century. A concrete and shared political commitment at a global level is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.

This past year, COP26, the UN climate summit in Glasgow, yielded results that fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, policymakers around the world are well-aware of the need for greater action taken against the ongoing climate emergency and implement a concrete net zero strategy. At the same time, there are still many unknowns surrounding the increasingly urgent necessity to abandon fossil fuels, including the impact that the transition may have on the economy. Over the past decades, one of the biggest questions regarding this energy transition has been this: will renewable energy create jobs and how would they offset the losses within conventional energy sectors?

Will Renewable Energy Create Jobs?

2021 was a crucial year for climate action and the wider sustainability agenda. In June, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released the World Energy Transitions Outlook, a pathway for the world to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and bring CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050. The latest edition of the IRENA’s Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review, released in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), predicts that by following the 1.5C-compatible pathwayjobs gains driven by the energy transition are likely to outweigh losses of fossil fuel jobs over the coming decades. According to the report, by 2050 the energy transition could lead to the creation of around 122 million new jobs, of which the ever-growing share of renewable energy industries are expected to account for 43 million. Solar photovoltaics will provide the most jobs (20 million), followed by bioenergy, wind, and hydropower.