Climate Change and Job Losses

European leaders have agreed to the goal of a 55% EU emissions cut by 2030. The target must still be approved by the European Parliament, which is pushing for an even more ambitious 60% reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels. Beyond that, Europe is also working on agreeing a legally-binding commitment to reach “net zero” climate neutrality by the year 2050.

What will all this mean for jobs? Some Member States’ economies, particularly in central and eastern EU countries, are heavily reliant on more polluting fossil fuels and industries. The green transition will affect all of Europe, though regions dependent on high-emission industries will be particularly impacted and will need to undergo a complete socio-economic transformation.

On 14 January 2020, the European Commission formally proposed the creation of a €100 billion Just Transition Mechanism (including a “Just Transition Fund”) to support those regions most affected by the shift to a low carbon future. Will this be enough to manage the transition in a fair manner? Can workers in carbon-intensive industries be retrained into more sustainable careers?

Want to learn more about EU plans for a “just transition to a more sustainable economy? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

Infographic: Can Europe transition to a sustainable economy without job losses?

What do citizens think? We had a comment come in from Jthk, who thinks the green transition will hurt Europe economically in the beginning but benefit our economy in the long-run. Is he right? Or can Europe transition to renewables without job losses?

To get a response, we put Jthk’s comment to Niels Fuglsang, a Danish MEP who sits with the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament and is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. What would he say?

For another perspective, we also put Jthk’s comment to Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. How would he respond?

Part of the Just Transition Fund will be spent on “reskilling” workers in polluting industries into more sustainable jobs. However, Duncan is worried about whether this sort of mass reskilling programmes genuinely prevent job losses (the evidence is mixed, to put it mildly).

How would Niels Fuglsang MEP respond?

Finally, what would Ludovic Voet from the European Trade Union Confederation say to Duncan’s comment about reskilling workers?

Can Europe transition to renewables without job losses? Can workers in polluting heavy industries be “reskilled” into more sustainable jobs? Do reskilling programs actually work? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: BigStock – (c) Visoot
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7 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Isn’t that the goal, just check out the world economic Forum website

  2. avatar
    Tristan Van Camp

    Yes, if we plan it right and see it as an opportunity

    • avatar
      Eddy Cormon

      Tristan Van Camp and then we all become poor except the ultra wealthy.

  3. avatar
    Ignace Debonne

    This means the end of Europe. If it is that great, why does it need to be forced?

  4. avatar
    Tristan Van Camp

    Eddy Cormon, no, not if planned right.

  5. avatar
    Eddy Cormon

    Tristan Van Camp The life expectancy of a wind turbine is 12 to 15 years at sea and 15 to 17 years on shore due to the bearings. Additionally high operational costs and expensive network switching costs due to unpredictable power production. For every Mwh installed in Green Energy a conventional power source needs to be installed and operational 24/7. Hence at least double investment and operational costs.

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