Low carbon economy brings more and better jobs: ILO

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 3 minutes
10 February 2015

LONDON: The International Labour Organization (ILO) has called on governments and policymakers to pursue ambitious climate action to create more and better jobs.

The appeal comes in a document requested by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), the UN arm in charge of developing the binding climate deal to be signed by global governments at the COP21 talks in Paris this December.

But even though there has been much progress toward this necessary goal, there is still work to do to show the public tackling climate change will not hurt the economy and jobs. “Evidence yet demonstrates that this is not the case if properly managed, through a just transition. Climate change action can on the contrary lead to more and better jobs, poverty reduction and social inclusion,” specifies the document. In particular, the UN says the low carbon economy could bring 60 million more jobs over next 20 years.

A better environment means more and better jobs,” remarked Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “And it means continued and sustainable economic growth. In the past concerns have been voiced that dealing with climate change will undermine jobs, so the fact that a respected international organization whose number one concern is creating and protecting employment – the ILO – is arguing for the transition to a low carbon economy is tremendously important.

“The New Climate Economy report spells it out, and with our partners we also experience it every day. Leading companies like IKEANestlé and Swiss Re have committed to use 100% renewable energy through our RE100 campaign because it just makes economic sense. Last September, during the Climate Week NYC, top companies also joined the We Mean Business coalition to ask governments and policymakers to take bold measures against climate change - the only measures that will allow our economy not only to survive but to grow.

We already have the necessary technology. We just need the political will to support this transition. We welcome the outcomes from the ILO document; another important demonstration that by acting now, and together, we can be key agents of this ineluctable change.

Inaction is not an option

The ILO document echoes the necessity for supportive policy, pointing out that the cost of climate inaction could have huge costs on jobs if governments don’t act. Hurricane Sandy in the US affected 150,000 workers, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh hit 567,000 jobs in 2007, and Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines in 2014 involved around 800,000 workers.

Studies also predict that without taking additional measures, higher concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cut economic output and aggregate productivity levels by 2.4% in 2030 and 7.2% by 2050.

Therefore, the ILO calls for the global climate agreement in Paris to implement “policies and measures proven to be valuable to protect jobs from climate impacts, and promote decent work creation in low-carbon and climate resilient sector”.

Such measures will “anticipate and attenuate negative employment and social impacts,” trough trainings aimed to the specific skills needed for this new economy. The ILO also calls to enhance “programmes on social protection, micro-insurance and public employment programmes”.

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by Ilario D'Amato

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