Strong Climate Treaty Could Bring 2.7 M Jobs, Report Claims

As the deadline for an international climate treaty in Copenhagen draws near, a report from Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) shows the world stands to gain millions of jobs by 2030 in the clean energy sector if a strong deal is reached.

A switch from coal to renewable electricity generation will not just avoid 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions but will create 2.7 million more jobs by 2030 than if we continue business as usual. Conversely, the global coal industry ─ which supports about 4.7 million employees worldwide ─ is likely to contract by more than 1.4 million jobs by 2030, due to rationalization measures in existing coal mines.

"Global leaders can tackle the twin crises of global economic recession and climate change head on by investing in renewable energy," said Damon Moglen, Greenpeace USA global arming campaign director. "For each job lost in the coal industry our green energy scenario, known as the Energy [R]evolution, creates three new jobs in the renewable power industry. We can choose green jobs and growth or unemployment, ecological and social collapse."

Greenpeace's latest research provides a model for cutting emissions while achieving economic growth, illustrates how the transition to clean energy will provide more jobs by 2030 in the power sector than would be available if it stays on the current carbon-intensive path. However, leaders and governments must act on this information as soon as possible to provide necessary jobs and retraining.

"Now is the time to put in place a 'just transition' to sustainably transform the jobs of today and develop the decent and green jobs of tomorrow, "added Guy Ryder, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. "The union movement as well as the authors of this report believe ambitious climate action by world leaders can and must be a driver for sustainable economic growth and social progress."

The report "Working for the Climate: Renewable Energy & The Green Job [R]evolution" is based on Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution and research from the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney.

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