Despite the detrimental effects brought on by climate change, new industries to combat global would likely spur employment oportunities for not just the middle class, the head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in December.
“Talk of environmental sustainability and climate change often emphasizes the costs, but downplays the significant employment opportunities from the transition to a global economy that is not only resource efficient and without the huge emissions of greenhouse gases, but one that also restores environmental and social values,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.
He pointed out that research shows that these are not just ‘green collar’ jobs targeted at the middle classes, but that opportunities abound for workers in areas ranging from construction, sustainable forestry and agriculture, engineering and transportation.
“Millions of new jobs are among the silver, if not indeed gold-plated linings on the cloud of climate change,” Steiner said.The research is part of a draft report entitled “Green Jobs: Can the Transition to Environmental Sustainability Spur New Kinds and Higher Levels of Employment?” that was commissioned by UNEP.
It found that the United States environmental industry in 2005 generated over 5.3 million jobs, ten times the number in the country’s pharmaceutical industry.
Delhi, it noted, is introducing new eco-friendly compressed natural gas buses that will create 18,000 new jobs, while Brazil’s ethanol programme has lead to half a million new jobs.
Last November, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Nairobi Framework aimed at spreading the benefits to Africa.n Since then, several projects have been launched in Africa, but the total number of initiatives on the continent comprise only 2.6 per cent of the some 800 registered projects.