By Julien Vincent, Climate and Energy Campaigner - Greenpeace Australia-Pacific

The jobs question. It is often the ‘elephant in the room’ during debates over climate change and the need to decarbonise our global energy supply. Quite rightly, people will immediately be concerned for workers in carbon intensive industries that are incompatible with a liveable planet. This makes it all the more important that we tackle the jobs question head on and take action that protects and provides new opportunities for people working in carbon-intensive industries, as well as maximising the new opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution scenario is an example of how we can shift towards a renewable energy-based global energy system, putting us on a path to achieving the deep emissions cuts essential for a safe climate. Today, an essential addition was made to the Energy [R]evolution as the first ever jobs analysis of a clean energy scenario was made on a global scale.

Our new report, Working for the Climate, shows that far from delivering economic and social ruin, the Energy [R]evolution is our best bet for energy security, environmental security and job security.

As we shift away from greenhouse-polluting energy sources such as coal, gas, and oil, one less job in that sector is met by three new jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Result? Not only are we on a pathway to deep cuts in global CO2 emissions, but in 2030 we are 2 million jobs better off than we are today.

In fact, by 2030, there would be 8 million renewable and efficiency power sector workers if the world adopts the Energy [R]evolution.


A photograph of the PS10 Concentrating Thermal Power Plant in southern Spain - more installments like this are part of the Energy [R]evolution that can provide new, green jobs.

Some present the alternative as continuing with business as usual as some sort of bold defense of the working class, in order to protect the dirty energy jobs from ‘grasping greenies’ determined to wreck the economy. Think again. Under a business as usual scenario, the global power sector actually loses 500,000 jobs by 2030, mainly in coal mining. This really shouldn’t be anything new – coal industry employment is already in steady decline as mechanisation increases.

World leaders need to wake up to the fact that fossil fuels are a dead end. We desperately need an Energy [R]evolution to preserve a safe climate, as well as secure, affordable energy and jobs in the power sector in the long-term.