The environment, our best job provider | WWF

The environment, our best job provider

Posted on 03 July 2018    
System of rice intensification implemented by local farmers in Tsaratana, Vondrozo area, Madagascar.
© WWF-MWIOPO
Which multinational company, State, or coalition can create 24 million jobs by 2030? So far none, and none probably ever will. Who then? The 2018 ILO report Greening with jobs asserts that tackling climate change will create 24 million jobs in less than 12 years all around the globe.

What does it take? One may think such a holy grail can only be the offset of some sort of sacrifice. Actually, all it takes is respecting what we – 195 countries -  have already pledged to do in december 2015 in the Paris climate agreement: keeping global warming within a 2°C increase by the end of the century.

To understand how so many jobs could be created in connection with the environment, one must first realize that it is already the case. Should it be for instance through fishing, forestry or farming activities, it’s no less than 4 in 10 workers on this planet who depend on nature for their jobs. Thanks to services like pollination, regulation of extreme meteorological events, soil renewal or water purification. Visible or not, nature is everywhere, including in our jobs: threatening our environment and disrupting our climate, it is our very jobs we jeopardize.

Yet, while resolving the climate crisis has long been seen as a burden to share, this report confirms what the recent years have proven: addressing climate change is an opportunity for our societies to thrive. 6 million jobs can derive from managing better our resources and producing less waste to achieve a more circular economy. 18 million jobs can be created from providing households and companies with clean energy. Concretely, in the United States, solar power creates 8 times more jobs than coal and natural gas; Brazil employs almost 900 000 workers in renewable energy.

This opportunity is real but we need to act fast.

It is a challenge, but one that is within our reach if we realize all the benefits to be reaped if we were to take action, and all the impacts that immobilism would compel us to face. According to ILO, it is the equivalent of 72 million full-time jobs that will disappear by 2030 due to heat stress if we don’t address climate change, striking first and foremost agricultural activities that so many developing economies depend on.

Inevitably such a drastic change in the economy will entail job destructions, but for every job lost, 4 new ones will be created in the green economy. Yet no single worker should be left by the wayside of this transition, which is why we must anticipate today those evolutions through an enlarged social dialogue to find shared solutions for tomorrow. To be successful those solutions will have to be fair and inclusive, to ensure the ecological transition embraces rural areas as much as urban ones, and offer a future to fossil fuel industry workers as much as green economy ones. 
It is now up to every one of us to look at what the facts say to us: the environment is not an obstacle for the economy, it’s a condition for its prosperity.
System of rice intensification implemented by local farmers in Tsaratana, Vondrozo area, Madagascar.
© WWF-MWIOPO Enlarge

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