Global race underway for low-carbon jobs Media Release

Dec 11, 2009 - 11:30am

Global research shows the international race is underway to benefit from the up to 20 million job opportunities in the emerging low-carbon economy, said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, from the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

The recent defeat in the Senate of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) was an economic and competitive stumble for Australia just when countries as diverse as Norway, South Korea, Brazil and Japan had increased their level of ambition at global talks.

“The dinosaurs who are delaying action are risking current and future job security,” said Mr Connor.

“The low-carbon train is leaving the station around the world and Australia is haemorrhaging investments in clean energy industries and technology to competitors in developed and developing countries.

“As Australian Senators dither and delay over climate action our competitors in US and China are investing billions in renewable energy in a contest over who will lead the global clean energy economy.”

The joint report, Low-Carbon Jobs in an Inter-Connected World,  cites the Australian Government’s analysis that 1.7 million new jobs could be created economy wide from 2008 to 2020, with an additional 4.7 million out to 2050, even while emissions are reduced by 60% by 2050.

Jobs in Australia’s electricity sector would grow  by up to 10,000 by 2020 and, economy wide, 1.7 million new jobs will be created over the same period, as carbon pollution is significantly reduced, an international report from The Global Climate Network* released today shows.

Employment in the Australian electricity sector will grow  by 17% and total 20,000 full time equivalent jobs by 2020 if, by 2020, 20% of electricity comes from renewable sources and national emissions are reduced by 25% below 1990 levels. The research also shows that, under this scenario:

  • 10,000 new jobs will be created in Australia’s electricity sector – a net increase of 3000 new permanent jobs and more than 7000 construction jobs.
  • On average, 2,300 local manufacturing jobs are likely to be supported. Spikes in years of high installation could see almost 7,000 construction jobs above current levels.

The report found that effective low-carbon policies could create 20 million jobs between now and 2020 in the low-carbon energy sector if governments addressed key areas of research and development; technology innovation and stimulating new low-carbon markets.

The report concludes that the Australia’s policy priorities should include, in addition to a CPRS and RET, investments in new, low carbon, energy sources and provide retraining and support for affected workers in carbon intensive areas.

* The Global Climate Network is a unique alliance of nine influential think tanks, including The Climate Institute, coordinated by the Institute for Public Policy (ippr) in London.

Read the report

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