Over 12 million people work in the coal, oil and natural gas industries today. However, to keep global warming well below 2°C, a target enshrined in the Paris climate agreement, all three fossil fuels need to dramatically decline and be replaced by low carbon energy sources. While this is technically possible, whether it can be done fast enough is a political question. One major factor influencing political support for climate policies, particularly in fossil fuel producing countries, is the impact they have on fossil fuel jobs. Here we show that stringent climate policies consistent with keeping warming well below 2°C would increase global energy sector jobs from 18 million to 26 million in 2050. Moreover, while fossil fuel jobs, particularly extraction jobs, would rapidly decline, these losses would be more than compensated by gains in solar and wind jobs. A large portion (8.7 million in 2050) of the growth in solar and wind jobs would be in manufacturing jobs which are not geographically-bound, and which could lead to competition between countries to attract these jobs. Regionally, the Middle East and North Africa, and the US could witness a substantial increase in overall energy jobs with renewable energy expansion, but China may see a decrease with a decline of the coal sector.
Speaker: Johannes Emmerling, RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), Euro-Mediterranean Center of Climate Change, Italy
Moderator: Massimo Tavoni, Politecnico di Milano and RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), Euro-Mediterranean Center of Climate Change, Italy
Discussant: Zoi Vrontisi, E3Modelling and Greek National Center for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Presentation available here.