Paris agreement targets bring an increase of 8 billion employment in the energy sector to 2050

di Tommaso Tetro

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Achieving the objectives of the Paris agreement would lead to an increase of 8 million employment in energy by 2050. This emerges from an analysis of the global energy system and the impact of different climate and energy policies. The study was published by ‘One Earth’, by Rff-Cmcc European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg.

According to the survey, employment in the energy sector could increase from the current 18 million to 26 million if we met the target of limiting the global temperature increase to two degrees centigrade.

“Currently, it is estimated that about 18 million people work in the energy industry – says Johannes Emmerling, researcher in charge of the Low carbon Pathways unit of Eiee and Corresponding author of the study. This number is likely to increase to 26 million people employed in the energy sector if we achieve our global climate goals. The manufacturing sector and that of renewable energy could potentially absorb up to a third of the total of these jobs, for which the different countries could compete also in terms of localization”.

What would be needed are effective and stringent climate policies and as a result, most of the jobs in the fossil fuel sector would be lost with the end of this sector. In many countries, this loss could be offset by the new job opportunities offered by the renewable energy sector. Currently, more than 12 million people work in the energy sectors of coal, oil and natural gas. The most important repercussions could be seen in the number of jobs in the energy sector, which would see the disappearance of old industries.

Respecting the Paris agreement to increase employment in the energy sector

According to the results of the study, if temperatures remained sufficiently below the 2 degrees centigrade established by the Paris Agreement, in 2050 the employment in the energy sector would be divided as follows: 84% would be in the field of renewable energy, 11% in fossil fuels and 5% in nuclear. Moreover, while the number of jobs in the fossil fuel sector, which accounts for 80% of current jobs in the sector, would fall very rapidly, they would be offset by an increase in the number of jobs in the solar and wind energy sectors.

A large share of the growth in the number of new jobs in solar and wind energy would be in manufacturing, amounting to 7.7 million jobs in 2050. A sector that is not subject to geographical constraints and that could therefore lead to competition between countries to grab these new jobs. The results also show how, at the regional level, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States could be affected by a significant increase in jobs in the energy sector, with the expansion of renewable energy, while China could suffer a substantial loss of jobs with the decline of the coal industry.

“The energy transition – adds Emmerling – is studied with increasingly detailed models, spatial solutions, timeline and increasingly greater technological details. However, the human dimension, the issues of access to energy, poverty and also the implications for the world of work are often still considered with an insufficient level of detail. With our study we have helped to fill this gap by putting together and using a large data set, for many countries and technologies”.

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