The energy transition from our model based on a huge majority of polluting fossil fuels to a model based on cleantech technologies such as energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will require a lot of money.
Indeed, we have seen recently that up to a trillion dollar would be needed every year to do so. The major advantage of doing so would be averting the worst of climate change, which would save our civilization.
Besides saving people from pollutions of all sorts, another added benefit – and not the least – would be staggering job creations. The proof in four parts.
Let’s start with Germany, which is currently leading the world in cleantech. To Energy Transition :
Per megawatt-hour generated, renewables create more jobs than the fossil and nuclear sectors, and most of those jobs occur at home, not abroad. Germany already has twice as many people employed in the renewables sector than in all other energy sectors combined.
The transition to renewable energy is a job engine. An estimated 377,000 jobs had been created in the renewables sector in Germany by 2012, far more than the 182,000 people working in all of the country’s other energy sectors combined. By 2020, more than 600,000 people are expected to work in the renewables sector.
Regarding the European Union, Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, stated on her official blog :
In Europe alone more than 300.000 new jobs were created in the renewables sector in just five years; and it is estimated that meeting the EU’s 2020 climate and energy goals would result in another 1.5 million new jobs.
Third, the situation in the United States is quite similar in terms of jobs creations :
While the United States has been quite late in joining the cleantech arms race and while things could be better, the solar industry employs nearly 120,000 in the country and wind power over 80,000 (source). To Americain Progress :
There are currently 2.7 million jobs in the “clean economy,” broadly defined to include both mature and emerging industries across the clean tech, transit, conservation, waste, agriculture, and other clean sectors.
In the second quarter of 2013 alone, no less than 38,600 green jobs were created in the United States.
Fourth, here is a post I wrote in 2012 :
To data gathered by 350.org, investing one million dollars would create 5 jobs in natural gas, 7 in coal, 12 in smart grids, 13 in wind power, 14 in solar, 16 in biomass, 17 in building retrofits and a huge 22 jobs in mass transit and light rail.
That’s right, for one job in coal, you can get more than three in biomass, for one job in natural gas, you can get two in solar or three in mass transit. Simple maths, isn’t it ?
I guess you now have further arguments to bring when one of your relatives or acquaintances tell you that cleantech is just an expensive hype that does nothing to create jobs and support the economy.
This is why we need more ambition from the world’s leading economies on climate change and the energy transition. Most of these countries are struggling with high unemployment. The energy transition is just the answer they are looking for.