Resource efficiency definitions of “green”, however, open the door for greenwashing of the fossil fuel industry. The Australian argument for “clean coal” dovetails the Norwegian argument for “clean oil”. This is hypocrisy and serves to prolong the fossil fuel age.
Because the cuts in emissions needs to be so big, we should reserve the term of climate jobs to occupations where the climate effect of such jobs is highest, and most certain. The New York State initiative for climate jobs, for example, focuses on the energy, building and transportation sectors because they are the most carbon intensive.
So who are we gonna call?
On a global level, the most important climate jobs must come within renewable energy. The climate jobs in renewable energy, crucially, must be replacement jobs that help speed up the phase-out of fossil fuels. A global ‘we’ is emerging, with a clear understanding of what this means. On September 2O last year, 17-year-old climate strike organizer Daisy spelt out one of their demands in Australia to the Guardian live blog:
If our government cares about all of us then they need to get on with the job of stopping any new coal, oil and gas projects, powering Australia with 100% renewable energy by no later than 2030, and doing all this while funding just transition and jobs for all fossil fuel workers and their communities so that no one is left behind.
We also need to employ millions within the building sector. Here, energy efficiency is indeed key. The International Energy Agency has estimated that 40 per cent of emission cuts needed could be provided by energy efficiency policies. Construction workers who insulate houses to save the use of energy are an indispensable part of the climate jobs programs we must roll out in most countries.
Bus drivers are another group of workers who could help slash emissions very rapidly within the transportation sector – particularly in the megacities across the world. We can build buses, close main arteries in cities to nothing but buses, and employ more bus drivers within the decade that really matters, this one.
We must mobilize for climate jobs as a public service in every country
We need climate jobs whether they are profitable or not. In the market, somebody always loses. China’s market lead in solar power happened at the expense of Germany. It has to be different with global heating and the climate emergency. Every country needs its own firefighters, but we also need climate jobs, shielded from the fluctuations of the market, if we are to avoid losing big time.Print