Green economy could create up to 60 million jobs

By Janaina Topley Lira, Jun 05, 2012, 16:48 2 minute reading

A new report authored by the Green Jobs Initiative and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), titled “Working towards sustainable development - Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy”, estimates that tens of millions of jobs could be created around the world by switching to a green economy. With the right policies, the natural refrigerant sector could benefit substantially. 

Published ahead of the landmark Rio+20 environment conference that starts on 22 June, the latest UNEP report calculates that the drive towards greener economies will create a large number of green jobs in key economic sectors. The study indicates gains in the order of 0.5–2 per cent, which would translate into 15–60 million additional jobs globally.
"The findings underline that [the green economy] can include millions more people in terms of overcoming poverty and delivering improved livelihoods for this and future generations. It is a positive message of opportunity in a troubled world of challenges,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP.
Despite such optimism however, the future trajectory of the job market will depend on a wide range of factors, not least of which are policies relating to skills and education. This is particularly relevant for the HVAC&R sector, where the emergence of natural refrigerant technology requires new competencies.
Greener HVAC&R sector will require more trained technicians
As new and more energy efficient HVAC technologies become available in the marketplace there will a growing need for trained technicians to install and monitor these new devices, creating net gains in the number of available jobs. 

According to the UNEP/ILO report, in Europe, it is estimated that the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which came into force in 2003, will create between 280,000 and 450,000 new jobs by 2020, chiefly among energy auditors and certifiers, inspectors of heating and air-conditioning systems, and in the industries that produce materials components and products needed in order to improve the performance of buildings.
In the US, the Bureau of Labour Statistics "Occupational Outlook Handbook", expects employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers to grow 34 percent through 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. 
Educational policies to address increased use of natural refrigerants
In the HVAC&R sector the increasing use of natural refrigerants is creating the need for refrigeration technicians able to service hydrocarbon, CO2, and ammonia technology in homes, commercial, and industrial settings. As such policies are needed that address training and certification of natural refrigerant technicians. For example AREA (Air Conditioning and Refrigeration European Association) advocates compulsory EU training based on harmonised minimum requirements.
The Green Jobs Initiative is a partnership established in 2007 between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The International Employers Organization (IEO) joined the Initiative in 2008.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Jun 05, 2012, 16:48

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