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Green employment, renewable sources give work to 12 million people

Published the eighth edition of the “Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021”

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Green employment in the world is growing. In just one year, despite the pandemic, jobs in the renewable energy sector have increased by about 500 thousand. The data comes from the new report Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021, presented this morning by the International Agency for Renewable Energy (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). In its eighth edition, the document shows how employees in green energy have increased from 11.5 million in 2019 to 12 million in 2020.

Obviously the crisis of Covid-19 has affected a lot. It has slowed down the momentum gained in the past years and affecting some markets more. Like liquid biofuels, which, like other transport fuels, had to react to the sudden drop in demand for 2020. Better luck in wind and photovoltaics. The two sectors continued to drive global green employment growth with 4 and 1.25 million jobs respectively.

In this context, China remains the most active “employer“. Here, in fact, there are 39% of people employed in renewable sources globally. For a total of more than 4.7 million workers. Next, Brazil (which is the largest employer in the biofuels segment). The United States, India and European Union countries. In 2020, however, other nations also followed this growth trend. These include Vietnam and Malaysia, major exporters of photovoltaics; Indonesia and Colombia, with large agricultural chains for biofuels; and Mexico and Russia, where wind energy grows.

Green employment: accelerating specialized training

The ability of renewable energy to create jobs and achieve climate goals is beyond doubt. With COP26 in front of us, governments must increase their ambition to achieve zero net emissions,” says Francesco la Camera, IRENA’s Director-General. “The only way forward is to increase investment in a fair and inclusive transition, reaping all the socio-economic benefits along the way“. The report shows that women have suffered more from the pandemic because they tend to work in sectors that are more vulnerable to economic shocks. It stresses the importance of a fair transition and decent jobs for all, ensuring a fair wage, safe workplaces and respect for rights.

The authors also point out that it is essential to increase the level of expertise in the field of clean energy. The training of the future workforce takes time and therefore the report considers it one of the most immediate steps to follow for the energy transition. In a scenario in line with the target of +1.5% C by 2050, approximately 61 million workers with primary or secondary education and at least 13% with high-level education will be needed.

The potential of renewables in generating decent work is a clear indication that we should not choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand and employment on the other,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “The two can go hand in hand“.

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