Climate Energy

As the fossil-fuel business diminishes, renewable-energy jobs are expected to rise fivefold globally by 2050

According to an international group of experts, global renewable energy jobs would rise fivefold from 4.4 million currently to 22 million by the year 2050, with over 85 percent of those gains coming from the wind and solar industries. According to the researchers, employment in the fossil-fuel industry will drop from 12.6 million to about 3.1 million at the same period, with oil, gas, and coal production accounting for nearly 80% of the employment losses, according to the researchers in a report released in a journal One Earth.

Under the report’s “well-below 2°C” (WB2C) scenario, the number of employments in the energy business will expand from 18 million now to 26 million in the year 2050, with 84 percent of those in the renewables, 11 percent in the fossil fuels, and 5 percent in nuclear.

“Climate policies are frequently pitted against employment losses in the national politics; however, our findings show that, while the large proportion of fossil fuel jobs may be lost as those industries decline in WB2C scenarios, these jobs may be offset in many parts of the world (though not all) by benefits in renewable energy employment,” said the report’s authors, who were made up of scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Chalmers University of Technology located in Gothenburg, Sweden and the European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Milan, Italy.

“In particular, there would be a significant increase in renewable manufacturing employment opportunities, which could result in competition to attract and broaden solar and wind sectors. “This is an important finding because current fossil-fuel-dependent countries with significant fossil-fuel extraction jobs that are facing job losses in sectors such as coal mining or others might promote domestic sustainable energy equipment manufacturing. Southeast and South Asia, Indonesia, the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, Brazil, Japan, India, and South Korea are all likely to profit from the energy shift.

“In absolute words, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the United States, may add almost 1 million employments in 2050 under the WB2C scenario compared to today,” the report authors wrote. “Future employment losses in these regions will be in the comparatively low-job-intensity fossil-fuel sector,” says the report (meaning less people are employed). These places, on the other hand, have a high renewable power potential (due to higher job concentrations in the renewable power industry), which will result in more jobs in the future.”

According to a recent report by think-tank REN21, governments around the world are passing up a “civilization-changing” opportunity to shift away from a fossil-fuel-dominated global economy confronting a climate catastrophe by shifting financial support to assist an intensified build-out of renewable energy sources while shutting down the taps on gas and oil.