Green switch may create up to 60m jobs globally

(SeeNews) - Jun 1, 2012 - Between 15 and 60 million jobs could be created globally over the next 20 years as a result of the transition to a greener economy, according to a study led by the Green Jobs Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organisations.

The report, out this week, said greening the economy could mean end of poverty for tens of millions of workers and warned that the gains would depend on whether the right policies are implemented. "It is a positive message of opportunity in a troubled world of challenges that we are relaying to capital cities across the globe as leaders prepare and plan for the Rio+20 Summit," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said of the report.

The transformation to a greener economy is expected to affect at least 50% of the global workforce, or 1.5 billion people. The changes are to be experienced across the economy, but eight sectors -- agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy, resource-intensive manufacturing, recycling, building and transport -- are likely to be at the forefront of the transition and be the most affected.

The report said that the shift had already created tens of millions of jobs. The renewable energy industry, for instance, currently employed almost five million people, more than a twofold increase from 2006-2010, with energy efficiency identified as another vital green jobs source.

Net gains in the region of 0.5% to 2% of total employment are seen as possible. Those are expected to be bigger in emerging economies than in industrialised countries as they can move straight to green technology without the need of replacing old resource-intensive infrastructure.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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