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Researchers recently conducted an analysis of how trying to meet the Paris Agreement targets would affect energy jobs in 50 countries. They found that action to reach the targets would increase net jobs by about 8 million by 2050, primarily due to gains in the solar and wind industries.
Why This Matters: An estimated 18 million people work in the global energy industry including in fossil fuel extraction, refining, as well as in renewable energy industries.
Reaching Paris Agreement goals by 2050 would increase that total by nearly 50% to 26 million.
The analysis shows that fossil fuel jobs will decline but can be offset by those associated with cleaner forms of energy.
This is especially important as the U.S. energy sector lost 10% of its workforce last year as a result of the COVID pandemic, with the bulk of the losses being felt in the fossil fuel sector. The Biden administration’s clean energy goals will be key to restoring these losses while helping the United States get on a path to meet Paris goals.
The Study: The study was conducted by a team led by Johannes Emmerling, an environmental economist at the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Italy, and is the first based on a comprehensive dataset of over 50 countries, including major fossil fuel producing economies.
The team combined this dataset with a model to make job projections.
The model helps see how the development of humans and the choices societies make affect each other.
Almost all previous analyses relied on jobs data for OECD countries and generalized the results for the rest of the world using a multiplier.
A Just Transition: Dr. Sandeep Pai, who led the analysis as part of his Ph.D. at the institute for resources, environment and sustainability at the University of British Columbia in Canada, explained that there will undoubtedly be winners and losers in the transition to greener energy.
“The winners will be people who take these jobs in the renewable sector, and there are the health benefits of fresh air and cleaner cities – but there will also be people, companies and governments who lose out.” Pai told The Guardian.
This is why it’s crucial to ensure a just transition to a clean energy future for all workers. This will also be important in helping the politics to align and make a path to meeting Paris goals feasible.
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