Up to 8,224 green jobs could be created in West Cumbria’s Copeland, where locals are objecting to controversial plans for a new coal mine. Image: Pexels
Green jobs will be key in the UK’s efforts to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But the move towards planet-friendly, sustainable work is just as important in the country’s recovery from the pandemic and to solve the ongoing employment crisis.
Thousands of green jobs could be created in every constituency across England, Scotland and Wales, and now climate campaigners Green New Deal UK can help you see just how many could be established in your area.
The organisation estimates 1.2 million jobs could be created over the next two years with £68bn in government funding – rising to 2.7 million roles within a decade – and have published a tool to help job hunters get into work.
What are green jobs?
“Green jobs” are usually roles in low-carbon sectors such as energy efficiency, electric vehicles and renewable energy – industries which will be key to the UK reaching its climate targets as well as taking on workers who can adapt their skills from other more carbon-heavy industries – but there is not yet consensus on the exact definition of a green job.
“Green jobs are win-win,” Hannah Martin, co-director of the Green New Deal UK, told The Big Issue. “We’re in an unemployment crisis and also in a climate crisis, an inequality crisis. If you look at those things together, it’s no wonder that people across the UK are angry and want more.
“We need massive investment in a green new deal to tackle these things now before it’s too late. Our research showed we could create enough green jobs to cover those lost during the pandemic permanently.”
Sectors fertile for green jobs include construction, for work such as insulating buildings and putting solar panels on roofs, she said. And the organisation classes other kinds of work – such as in social and health care – as part of the green economy because it helps the country build “resilience” to future crises and tackles inequality.
Martin added: “There’s a potential to support communities and people in places that have been forgotten about through the creation of good green jobs. When we say good jobs, we mean well-paid jobs, secure jobs, unionised jobs. Jobs that people can rely on where they’re working not too many hours and not too few hours, like zero-hours contracts often are.”
How many green jobs could there be in my constituency?
The free tool allows users to check the number of planet-friendly roles which could be created in specific constituencies.
Nearly 1,500 green jobs could be created in both the Cities of London and Westminster, for example, and a similar number in Manchester’s Gorton constituency. Glasgow Central has the potential for nearly 2,000 new green jobs.
In West Cumbria’s Copeland, where locals are objecting to controversial plans for a new coal mine, there could be 8,224 green jobs created in the next two years.
The information is based on a series of recent studies carried out by Green New Deal UK as well as the Trades Union Congress and environmental think tanks. Find out more about how they came up with the numbers here.
What about my current job?
A green transition means people in carbon-heavy industries could need to adapt their skills, or reskill, for new jobs. But many so-called green jobs are roles millions of people work already.
“These kinds of jobs are all over the green economy, if you look at things like agriculture, energy, buildings, transport, but they’re also across things like teaching and social care and health care,” Martin said. “Even the arts. These are things we need for a thriving society, one that can support itself when the next crisis hits, whether that’s another pandemic or to do with the climate crisis.
“That needs to come at the same time as an uplift in things like a Universal Basic Income or a living income to support people who aren’t able to work for whatever good reasons so that people don’t fall through the gaps.”
What can I do to demand more green jobs where I am?
Once you have found the number of green jobs which could be created in your area, the tool allows users to download a graphic to send your MP in a call for more investment in low-carbon sectors.
The campaigners want significant investment in green jobs over the next two years, but they also want the Government to commit to a ten-year programme of investment across society to “get rid of inequality and stop climate change”.
It’s important to demand action now because “emissions don’t respond to targets on paper or warm words,” Martin said. “They respond to proper plans and proper investment.
“So far we’ve seen nothing like the scale of investment required, and we’re lagging behind other countries like the US and Germany. We’re not even nearly meeting current emission targets. nevermind new ones. We cut the Green Homes Grant, which wasn’t even rolled out properly, yet the government stands up on the world stage and says they’re climate leaders.
“We want to see proper support for reskilling and transitioning workers from traditionally heavy fossil fuel industries like aviation and shipping. We need a comprehensive industrial strategy that moves people from the jobs they’re in to new jobs while supporting them every step of the way.
“We can’t have another situation where we let vast areas of the country fall by the wayside just because our economy’s moving on. We need to take people with us.”
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