The issue of climate change is a hot topic across the globe, and many countries believe that they should take action to combat it. Many studies indicate that climate change is a result of global warming that in turn is caused by human activity.
Activities like industrialization and the use of fossil fuels in different sectors across the economy contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses. These gases form a shield over time in the space and trap heat which leads to warming of the earth. The phenomenon of global warming has adverse effects such as rising seas, droughts as well as floods in different parts of the globe.
The aspect of climate change can pose a severe threat to the lives of humans, animals and the environment at large. It is against this background that in December 2015, the United Nations (UN) member states signed the historic Paris Agreement accord on climate change.
The Paris Agreement is a framework upon which different member countries can draw their environmental policies to combat the challenge of climate change. All the member states pledged to fight climate change by maintaining temperature rises below two degrees Celsius.
The International Labor Organization (ILO), a UN organ believes that a green economy can combat the challenge of climate change. ILO’s 2018 report on World Employment and Social Outlook states that the move will lead to more than 24 million new jobs by 2030 globally.
However, noble as it may sound, the endeavor to create a green economy has both opportunities and drawbacks that can affect its full implementation. People from other parts of the globe can be skeptical about this new climate change drive.
Opportunities Of Green Economy
The green economy can open new job opportunities that can offset job losses in other traditional industries. The ILO report states that the initiative can lead to the creation of new jobs in the sustainable energy sector through shifts in public policies. For instance, policies that promote the use of renewable energy will stimulate growth and development in these sectors.
The energy sector represents a higher percentage of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of fossil fuels. Public policy shifts can lead to various industries adopting renewable energy like wind and solar. These forms of energy have many advantages compared to other traditional sources of power.
Source: International Labour Organization
Such a shift in the policy will also stimulate private sector growth and development. The private sectors can chip in by manufacturing a variety of renewable energy products. It can also benefit from making electric cars and designing energy-efficient buildings.
According to the ILO report, the creation of a green economy offers a chain of job opportunities from the manufacturing, designing, marketing as well as maintenance services among others. The report states that Asia and the Pacific are the regional winners from investments in energy production and use. For instance, a total of 14 million jobs will be created in these regions while the Americas will get three million and Europe creating two million jobs.
The other advantage of a green economy is that it can help millions of people to overcome poverty. It can also help them to improve their welfare and ensure sustainable living standards for future generations. Sustainable development can also lead to the development of a healthy environment.
According to the ILO, many sectors across the globe will benefit from the green economy. Out of a total of 163 industries analyzed, only 14 will face job losses of about 10,000 worldwide.
Challenges Of Green Economy
The ILO report also predicts that a transition to a green economy will lead to a loss of about six million jobs. The industries that heavily rely on carbon-based production will be most affected. Petroleum extraction and refining are the two major sectors likely to be struck and see job losses of about two million.
Negative job growth of -0.48% in the Middle East and -0.04% in Africa is forecast if the reliance on mining and fossil fuels continue in these regions. These regions are the major producers of fossil fuels, and they also involve a lot of mining activities.
If the transition to the green economy is to be successful, it is essential for other member states to assist low and middle-income countries. There are likely to be potential short-term job losses in countries trying to transition to sustainable economies.
The good thing about a transition to a green economy is that it helps to create a win-win scenario to all countries involved. Many states will benefit from the job opportunities that come with this initiative. For instance, the jobs that will be created by the green economy are eater than the jobs likely to be lost. In this case, the transition brings 24 million new jobs versus six million job losses showing a positive statistic.
A social dialogue between major stakeholders that include the employees, employers and member states is also vital. Dialogue plays a crucial role in reconciling economic and social objectives with different environmental concerns. In most cases, many organizations are concerned about their profit-oriented goals at the expense of the environment.
It is also vital to put incentives in place for stakeholders like workers so that they can quickly embrace the transition. Things like better social insurance and lower fossil use can lead to faster economic growth. When many people realize the significance of the program, they are likely to change their behavior according to the ILO.
The success of greener economies also depends on various governments taking urgent action to train multiple people about different skills required. Every change initiative needs the workforce to gain a new set of skills to implement it. It is also essential for governments to play a leading role in educating the citizens about the significance of the transition to a greener economy.
Renewable energy is cheaper in the long run, and it can bring about a lot of benefits to people in different parts of the globe. A green economy is also advantageous in that it leads to a healthy environment which is good for the welfare of all the people.