Climate action presents an enormous opportunity for global economies. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), a green recovery scenario with investments into renewable energies, building efficiency and green transport would create some 20.5 million additional jobs by 2030.
Only the construction of new sustainable buildings should generate more than 6.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the forecasts. After the energy sector, this will be the second sector that will grow the most in terms of green jobs in the coming decades.
Architects, engineers and builders try to create buildings that consume as little electricity as possible, generate their own energy, recycle water and are able to heat or cool without the need for air conditioning or central heating. According to the BBC, in 2000, only 41 building projects were officially classified as green buildings in the US. Last year, that number jumped to over 65,000. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 105% job growth for solar panel installers through 2026, with more than 11,800 jobs being created in the country.
Completely new jobs are likely to emerge given the growing demand for green buildings. The ILO foresees the creation of positions such as eco-designer – to design more efficient products – and energy efficiency specialists will become increasingly important in countries like China and India, where the construction sector is booming.
The transition to a low-carbon economy brings net job gains but also involves deep structural changes in labor markets. Addressing the employment and social dimensions of climate action is therefore vital.