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):
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!