CLIMATE AND JOBS
FACING THE CLIMATE CRISIS CAN BE AN ENGINE FOR GROWTH AND JOB GENERATION, BUT IT REQUIRES PLANNING AND COORDINATED ACTION
In the eight edition of the Sustainable Future Dialogues series, promoted by the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS) and the German Embassy in Brazil, labor union leaders, research institutes, specialists and public administrators gathered to debate how the climate crisis affects work and jobs. The international event happened during the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW), which was held in Salvador in 2019.
According to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), 24 million new jobs can be generated globally by 2030 if policies are implemented to face the climate crisis and promote a cleaner economy.
Lutz Morgenstern, First Secretary for Environmental Matters from the German Embassy in Brazil, illustrated the potential of fighting against climate change as an engine for job growth and generation.
“In Germany, one in every thirty employees owes their job to the implementation of climate policy. Around one million people work in the field of environmental protection, sanitation and energy-efficient buildings. Nearly 300 thousand employees work in the renewable energy sector and another 85 thousand people work in manufacturing goods used to fight climate change.”
First Secretary for Environmental Matters from the German Embassy in Brazil
According to Ana Toni, executive director at iCS, Brazil’s high unemployment rate can be caused precisely because we haven’t yet focused on the future’s economy.
“We need to leverage a reindustrialization based on bioeconomics. In order to do that, we must train the workforce, allowing people to have the skills to take these growing opportunities, and guarantee that these jobs aren’t precarious.”
Executive Director at Institute for Climate and Society (iCS)
Discussions about climate and jobs have gained more prominence since the inclusion of the concept of just transition in the 2015 Paris Agreement, where 195 countries have made a commitment to decrease emissions to face the climate crisis.
According to Montserrat Mir, Special Advisor at the Just Transition Centre of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), it was a big milestone, bringing social dimension into climate discussion in a more significant way.
“It was in important first step to prepare our workers for performing their role, since not all of our members understood climate change as a priority. As a result, we’ve made progress such as trade unions suggesting the creation of task-forces to governments as a way to prepare for just transition. These alliances were created in countries such as New Zealand, Canada and Germany.”
Special Advisor at the Just Transition Centre of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
The city of Bottrop, in Germany, where economy was strongly dependent on the coal industry, was able to transition into renewable energy while maintaining their jobs. Local government reached the region’s lowest unemployment rate, generating around 1,200 jobs a year since 2015.
“We learned twenty years in advance that the last coal mine should be closed by 2018. Therefore, we could prepare for the transition. We invested 200 million euros to leverage the renewable energy, electrification, mobility and green building sectors, and most of the investment came from private initiatives.”
Head of the Environmental Planning Division at the City of Bottrop, Germany
CHALLENGES IN BRAZIL
Fernanda Hassem, the mayor of Brasileia, a city in Acre, brought to the table a practical example of environmental preservation, economic development and population income generation. The city has a 290-mile extractive reserve, which has been managed for decades, but in the last few years has counted on the Floresta em Pé Program, which subsidizes the activity of 3 thousand extractors living in the reserve.
“We’ve invested a lot in family agriculture, proving that the forest can stand and be productive. Now, the city acquires the entire production of 130 family farmers, meeting the needs of our hospitals, schools, nurseries, and providing for the entire city’s market.”
Mayor of Brasileia, AC
Daniel Gaio, General Secretary for the Environment of the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT), highlighted that the renewable energy sector has begun to share trustworthy job data. 11 million jobs are now generated around the world and Brazil has a high standing in segments such as hydroelectricity and other growing renewable energies. Brazil is the highest employing country in the biofuel sector, but there are still challenges regarding the quality of generated jobs.
“We must understand challenges to build opportunities, and they come up in dialogues like this. Then we can build alliances to face this extremely adverse scenario in Brazil and in the world.”
General Secretary for the Environment of the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT)
Clemente Ganz Lúcio, Technical Director at the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (DIEESE), highlights there is no solution to the climate issue, without structural investment, including from the private sector.
“We must mobilize to resist and propose other trajectories, including in microspheres, such as at the city level. This means we must prepare citizens for this discussion and maybe tomorrow they’ll become mayors because they became capable of discussing a complex situation. And they must be daring to build a community. It’s urgent to go back to treating this issue as essential.”
Clemente Ganz Lúcio
Technical Director at the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (DIEESE)
Embaixada da República Federal da
Alemanha em Brasília
SES - Avenida das Nações, Qd. 807, lote 25
Brasília, DF, Brasil - CEP 70.415-900
Tel +55 (61) 3442-7000