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Meeting global climate targets will lead to 8 million more energy jobs worldwide by 2050

July 24, 2021

By Paul Homewood


And this is supposed to be good news?


Researchers created a global dataset of job footprints in 50 countries and used a model to investigate how trying to meet the Paris Agreement global climate target of staying well below 2°C would affect energy sector jobs. They found that action to reach said target would increase net jobs by about 8 million by 2050, primarily due to gains in the solar and wind industries. The analysis appears July 23 in the journal One Earth.

"Currently, an estimated 18 million people work in the energy industries—a number that is likely to increase, not decrease, to 26 million or by over 50% if we reach our global climate targets," says corresponding author Johannes Emmerling, an environmental economist at the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Italy. "Manufacturing and installation of renewable energy sources could potentially become about one third of the total of these jobs, for which countries can also compete in terms of location."

The study conducted by Emmerling and colleagues is the first based on a comprehensive dataset of over 50 countries, including major fossil fuel producing economies. The team combined this dataset with an integrated assessment model to make job projections. The model helps see how the development of humans and the choices societies make affect each other. Almost all previous analysis relied on jobs data for OECD countries and generalized the results for the rest of the world using a multiplier.

"The energy transition is increasingly being studied with very detailed models, spatial resolutions, timescales, and technological details," says Emmerling. "Yet, the human dimension, energy access, poverty, and also distributional and employment implications are often considered at a high level of detail. We contributed to this gap by collecting and applying a large dataset across many countries and technologies that can also be used in other applications."

In the researcher’s model, of the total jobs in 2050, 84% would be in the renewables sector, 11% in fossil fuels, and 5% in nuclear. While fossil fuel extraction jobs, which constitute 80% of current fossil fuel jobs, would rapidly decline, these losses will be compensated by gains in solar and wind manufacturing jobs.

"Extraction sector jobs are more susceptible to decarbonization, so there needs to be just transition policies in place," says first author Sandeep Pai, who recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at The University of British Columbia. "For example, the mobility of manufacturing jobs will be useful in areas where decarbonization is rife. In many cases, fossil fuel workers also hold political influence because of their history and high rates of unionization among others, so as we move to low carbon sources, it is important to have a plan in place for the general acceptability of climate policies."

The researcher’s next goal is to explore the shifts in skill levels, education requirements, and wages that may result from trying to meet the global climate target of the Paris Agreement. They also anticipate that, since this is accessible to all these different groups around the world, it will inspire other data analysts to use it for running multiple scenarios, further clarifying the extent of jobs.

Three questions for these geniuses:

1) Who will pay the cost of these extra 8 million jobs.

2) How many jobs will be lost as a result of this loss of spending power?

3) And what will happen to the millions of workers in fossil fuels who will lose their jobs?

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    July 24, 2021 5:54 pm

    Do the figures include the excellent employment opportunities for children in Africa and the slave labour in China?

  2. chriskshaw permalink
    July 24, 2021 6:10 pm

    Here is a link to Inside Climate News. There seems to be an encyclopedia of bad information, any one of which requires debunking! Bit of a task

    • Bob Webster permalink
      July 24, 2021 7:31 pm

      Inside Climate News is a site for the Tiptoe Through The Tulips Brigade… who only look on the rosy side of the picture and never consider the adverse consequences of these so-called “Green Energy” sources. Wind farms are a death site for large migrating birds; a massive consumer of petroleum-based lubricating oils, and a short life cycle with no place to put the parts that must be replaced every 20 years.

      It is useless to try to appeal to the common sense of those who have none.

  3. tom0mason permalink
    July 24, 2021 6:13 pm

    And that the House of Commons and The House of Lords are completely captured by the Green Plan …

    … the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Its aim is to build back better, to use our recovery to level up the country, to scale up new industries and to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom as we accelerate on our path to net zero by 2050.

    Six months on, I am pleased to inform the House that we are already seeing this ambition being delivered on. The 10-point plan is projected to create and support up to 250,000 jobs, and mobilise £12 billion of government investment and up to three times as much from the private sector by 2030. We are investing in the UK’s most important asset—our workforce—to ensure that our people have the right skills to deliver the low-carbon transition and thrive in the high-value jobs this will create. This is the case for the engineers and construction workers who will build the new offshore wind farms and nuclear plants to provide clean power to our homes, and the retrofitters who will make homes more comfortable and efficient. This work of course builds on the strong progress we have already made as a country in decarbonising our economy.

    [my bold]

    IMHO the whole ’10 point plan’ smacks of communist style central planning with yet more government interference in the markets (picking ‘winners’ again?). In all probability the domestic energy markets will be screwed with domestic heating fuels being ‘levelized’ to match the price of domestic electricity.
    Build Back Better? More like Blighted Bureaucratic Blundering!

  4. Broadlands permalink
    July 24, 2021 6:41 pm

    Another question to be answered by these brilliant PhDs. How will anything move, be transported, when carbon fuels are at the zero and net-zero decarbonization targets? Solar, wind, even nuclear, do not move anything very far for very long. And all of these sources of energy (including lithium batteries) need carbon fuels to build, transport, install and maintain. Even carbon capture and storage to reach any net-zero target cannot be done with renewables. And “renewable” biofuels are 90% fossil fuel.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    July 24, 2021 7:24 pm

    When it takes over 70 cyclists pedaling furiously to generate enough power for one person to have a warm shower, it’s easy to realise 8 million more energy jobs won’t be very energy-productive.

    As a side note, a natural gas boiler creates less CO2 generating that amount of heat/energy than they do.

    • July 24, 2021 7:33 pm

      You hit the nail on the head Joe! How is it good that more people are needed to produce energy? What about the more meaningful metric of unit of energy produced per person? Boasting rights go to the power generation method that uses the least amount of people. I’m guessing off the top of my head it’s something like natural gas, nuclear, or hydro. Certainly not windturbines, solar panels, and blokes on bikes.

    • Bob Webster permalink
      July 24, 2021 7:39 pm

      Good point! All that pedaling and the poor bloke had a lukewarm shower (at best)… and all that huffing and puffing generated more CO2 than a conventional on-demand natural gas heater would have!

      What happened to the world’s thinkers? Human-caused-climate-change is a complete fraud. CO2 has nothing to do with changing climate. 3.5 billion years of data tell us that much.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      July 24, 2021 8:34 pm

      That programme was so moronically stupid it was almost beyond ridicule. Show that to anyone with the slightest engineering savvy and they would seriously laugh.
      Even this green pseudo engineering site takes the piss out of that programme.

      • Joe Public permalink
        July 25, 2021 10:31 am

        From your link:

        “One way to solve the large energy losses of pedal power generators is not to produce electricity at all but power devices mechanically, whenever possible.”

        Water can’t effectively be heated mechanically. That was the entire point of using the clip to demonstrate a gas boiler can heat water with lower emissions than >70 fit cyclists working arduously.

  6. Charlie Moncur permalink
    July 24, 2021 8:38 pm

    What about the tax revenue from all facets of fossil fuel production refining and sales?

    • Dave Fair permalink
      July 24, 2021 9:13 pm

      Fascinating question, Charlie. Currently, politicians and their bureaucrats extract massive amounts of tax, royalties, use fees, etc. dollars from FFs. Conversely, unreliables receive massive infusions of cash from mandates, subsidies, tax reductions, etc.

      How is it said politicians and bureaucrats expect to make up revenue shortfalls from the loss of the FF income? Shirleey, they don’t expect to get by on less.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 24, 2021 9:17 pm

      And the tax revenue from the stuff all the people moving to energy production used to produce.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 24, 2021 9:14 pm

    So thats 8 million people more to produce the energy we require, which is a vast additional cost, AND 8 million people no longer producing what they produce now for us, which is a vast loss of production we would otherwise have.

    This is somehow a good thing?

    • Russ Wood permalink
      July 25, 2021 11:01 am

      What so many ‘green’ enthusiasts forget (or never knew) is that labour (i.e. jobs) is a COST. So boasting that this change will generate more jobs is out-and-out saying that this idea will COST you!

  8. Linley permalink
    July 24, 2021 11:19 pm

    To be fair, I don’t think this research is passing comment on whether this is good or bad.

    I looked at the research paper and it looks at only direct energy sector jobs. Thus coal mining is assessed as reducing, manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels as increasing. However it does not seem to look at the mining and ore processing required before wind turbines, solar panels and batteries can be manufactured. I think it is well known that there will be considerable increase in mining to support this manufacturing so the people involved in the energy system is likely to be far greater than identified here.

    As others have said, the impact on the economy and society from having so many more people employed in the energy system is the concern. In particular, more scientists, engineers and other professionals, who could be involved in medical research or in projects in third world countries to help pull them out of poverty.

    I think papers like this are important to give information on the direction the western world is taking.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      July 25, 2021 5:22 pm


      How right you are. The supporters of unreliables never look at what is required to manufacture their beloved turbines and solar panels and only talk about CO2 emissions from them after they are deployed in their comparisons with fossil fuels.

      The International Energy Agency recently published a report on ‘The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions’ (May 2021) The following extracts are from the Executive Summary.

      “A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas fired plant. Since 2010 the average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50% as the share of renewables has risen.”

      “….a concerted effort to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement….. would mean a quadrupling of mineral requirements for clean energy technologies by 2040. An even faster transition, to net zero by 2050, would require six times more mineral inputs in 2040 than today”

      Further more, according to the World Coal Association a typical modern wind turbine requires about 260 tonnes of steel made from 170 tonnes of coking coal and there is no near term substitute for coking coal in steel production. Coal is also the most widely used energy source in the manufacture of cement, of which wind turbines require prodigious amounts.Some 200-450 kgs of coal is needed to produce 1 tonne of cement.

      Fly ash from coal combustion also plays an important role in cement manufacture and in the construction industry generally.

      • Linley permalink
        July 25, 2021 9:27 pm

        I know a Dave Andrews. Do we have a common interest?

  9. Lorde late permalink
    July 25, 2021 1:33 pm

    Did I see the words ‘new nuclear plants’?
    No thought not. Must be my eyes.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      July 25, 2021 5:14 pm

      If the real “problem” was CO2 emissions then every greenie would have to support new nuclear (the IPCC actually does as does the high priest of dodgy climate science James Hansen) but of course CO2 emissions are not the “problem” they are looking to address.

  10. Steve Budd permalink
    July 25, 2021 1:52 pm

    When the off-shore wind farms are operational how many people will be employed to keep them operational??? some companies do not employ any one, they contract out these jobs to smaller companies so the owners can make maximum profits from the huge subsidies they get from the UK government.

  11. Coeur de Lion permalink
    July 25, 2021 6:10 pm

    But CO2 doesn’t matter! And any ‘job’ that is subsidised by the taxpayer is not a ‘job’ but a burden on wealth creation and heh heh- jobs.

  12. CheshireRed permalink
    July 25, 2021 10:23 pm

    Their ‘predictions’ are worthless propaganda. They always are.

    They must produce a check list and just go ✅ ✅ ✅.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    July 26, 2021 11:46 am

    8 million jobs. M’kay. We’ll need 8,000,000 bottles of Windex, and 8,000,000 microfiber towels.

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