Forthcoming ILO Study on Skills for Green Jobs

Watch for an important new report, Skills for Green Jobs, to be released by the ILO Green Jobs Programme on October 15, 2011. It will examine the experiences of 21 developed and developing countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, India, South Korea, South Africa, France, Germany, Spain, U.K., and the U.S. Canada is not profiled. This comprehensive work identifies the sectors most affected by the shift to green restructuring, the changing and emerging occupations in major economic sectors, as well as gender implications. It concludes that, while a few new occupations will emerge in the transition to a greener economy, “massive change” will occur in existing occupations, and at all levels of occupations, across all sectors. Of note for further research: discussions of “Measuring and classifying green jobs and related skills”, and “Identifying skill needs: Evaluating existing systems and tools”. The report concludes that successful transition to a greener economy will require efficient re-training and skills upgrading, especially for the disadvantaged in the labour market. A key message is the need for coherence and coordination of environmental and skills policies.



Summary and links to Skills for Green Jobs are available at:–en/index.htm. This webpage also provides links to detailed country study reports for each of the 21 countries summarized in Skills for Green Jobs.

A Plan and Green Jobs in a Greener Sector: British Columbia’s Forestry Industry

A paper released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in August 2011 envisions a more carbon-focused, “green” approach to the forests and forest industry of B.C. Author Ben Parfitt covers a lot of ground in this document, including the prospects for exports to China; the loss of wood processing jobs to other provinces; the need for a workable carbon tax accounting system for forestry. Of the employment benefits of a greener approach, the report estimates 2,630 new jobs from processing logs into solid wood, pulp and paper and bio-energy products in B.C. rather than out of province, 2,400 forest industry jobs from processing usable wood waste left behind at logging operations, 5,200 seasonal jobs in tree-planting and associated tree nursery work, as well as eventually 10,100 jobs as a result of increased higher value manufacturing. He provides detailed policy recommendations which centre on: greater secondary forest products manufacturing; maximum use of forest industry wood waste in a range of bio-products; greater forest conservation (with carbon credits acting as an incentive to achieving such conservation); and more effective reforestation efforts. As he has done before, Parfitt calls for a restoration of staff levels in the provincial Forest Service.



“Making the Case for a Carbon Focus and Green Jobs in BC’s Forest Industry” by Ben Parfitt is available from a link at:


BC forestry missing out on great green job potential at:

Solar Industry Shows Superior Job Growth

With most eyes on the continuing story of the bankruptcy of U.S. solar manufacturer Solyndra, the Solar Foundation of the U.S. has pre-released preliminary data from the National Solar Jobs Census 2011, ahead of the full release scheduled for October 19, 2011. Census 2011 measured employment growth in the U.S. from August 2010 to August 2011 and found that solar businesses added 6,735 new workers since August 2010, representing a 6.8 percent growth rate. When measured against overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), this rate of job growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy (which grew by 0.7 percent) and fossil fuel electric generation (which lost 2 percent of its workforce).


Notably, Solyndra announced layoffs of approximately 1,100 full-time and temporary employees on August 31st. However, if the New York Times coverage is any indication, the real story of Solyndra is less about the viability of the solar power industry and more about political interference and lobbying in Washington.


A July 2011 report from the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides good news for the solar energy industry. The 10th edition of the PV Status Report provides data on the solar industry in the EU, India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. It shows that global production of photovoltaics more than doubled in 2010, making it one of the world’s fastest growing industries. The EU has the most PV installations, providing more than 70% of the total worldwide solar PV electricity generation capacity as of the end of 2010. China has become the major manufacturing centre for solar cells and modules followed by Taiwan, Germany and Japan.


The most recent survey of the Canadian solar photovoltaic sector comes from the Canadian Solar Industry Association, in a report they commissioned from Clear Sky Advisors Inc. and released in July 2011. The Economic Impacts of the Solar Photovoltaic Sector in Ontario 2008-2018 states that the solar PV sector in Ontario provides 8,200 full-time jobs in 2011, and is projected to create over 74,000 jobs by 2018. As the report acknowledges in its scenarios, these projections depend on political support for long range energy policies.



National Solar Jobs Census 2011 press release is at:


The Solar Foundation homepage is at:


Solyndra company press release of August 31 2011 is at:


“In Rush To Assist A Solar Company, U.S. Missed Signs”, from the New York Times, September 23, 2011 at:


PV Status Report by the European Commission Joint Research Centre is available at:


The Economic Impacts of the Solar Photovoltaic Sector in Ontario 2008-2018 is available at:

Jobs in the U.S. Recreational Tourism Sector

This report from the Center for American Progress reviews recent research in the United States on the direct, indirect, and induced jobs created by the conservation economy-recreational tourism, renewable energy, land restoration, and sustainable forestry and land management. The report estimates the size of the current job market in each of these sectors, with the disclaimer that these numbers are likely underestimated because of a scarcity of research on jobs in
restoration and forest management. The size of this sector is impressive, even if it is underestimated: recreation and tourism on Department of the Interior Lands is estimated at 388,000 jobs, with an additional 224,000 jobs on Forest Service Lands. The report makes 15 policy recommendations to encourage further job creation, including a call for increased effort to track the number of jobs and the economic impact of land conservation on rural communities.



The Jobs case for Conservation: Creating opportunity through stewardship of America’s public lands by Jessica Goad, Christy Goldfuss, and Tom Kenworthy is available at the Center for American Progress website at:


Workplace Education Regarding Climate Change for B.C. Public Sector Workers

On August 29th, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) at the University of Victoria launched an online climate change course aimed at public sector workers, most specifically policy analysts in British Columbia. “Climate Insights 101” is the first of four planned modules; it uses a combination of animation, interviews and click-thrus to educate about the basic concepts and findings of climate science research. Module two (regional climate change and its impacts), module three (adaptation) and module four (mitigation) are currently in production and are planned for release next year. In launching this workplace education initiative, the provincial Minister of the Environment, Terry Lake, is quoted as saying that “building a solid knowledge base within the province’s civil service is essential because climate change will impact not only the environment but also the economy, the way we live, how we use our land and water, and what our future agricultural options are”.


Press release describing the initiative at:


Climate Insights 101 course at:

Keystone Pipeline Protest Includes a Concern for Lost Jobs

Dave Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, was among those arrested in Ottawa on September 26th for protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas. The union has consistently opposed construction of the pipeline, on the grounds of environmental damage, energy security for Canada, and because of the loss of potential oil refining jobs in Canada. The CEP bases its arguments on a 2006 study by Informetrica, which estimated that the increased export of Alberta bitumen will cost the Canadian economy 40,500 potential direct and indirect jobs. CEP is calling on the federal government to reverse the decision to allow construction of the Keystone pipeline.



Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union Backgrounder on Keystone XL at:


National Energy Board Reasons for Decision regarding the Keystone Pipeline, case OH-1-207, issued in September 2007. Note chapter 9, which summarizes the socio-economic arguments made by CEP, the Alberta Federation of Labour, Parkland Institute and Dr. Laxer at: (English) (francais)

Fife Wind Farm to Fund Apprenticeship Training

Carbon Free, a wind farm developer, has partnered with Adam Smith College in Fife, Scotland in a unique community benefit scheme. According to the agreement, the revenues from the electricity generated will support a minimum of 5 apprenticeships per year over 25 years, to provide employment opportunities to people living near the wind farm, and to address skills shortages in the engineering sector. The 8-turbine Earlseat wind farm was approved by local councils on September 20th and is expected to be built by the end of 2013. For a fuller news report go to:

Website to Monitor Country Actions on Mitigation

On September 9, 2011, the Open Climate Network website was launched as a platform for updates and analysis on country actions on climate mitigation and the provision of climate finance. The website provides information on the latest policy developments and results of Open Climate Network analysis. Participant countries include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union nations, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, and the United States. Clare Demerse of Canada’s Pembina Institute is one of the five Network Experts. Visit the network at:

Feed-in Tariff Programs and the WTO

A new paper released by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) examines the local content regulations of the FIT programmes implemented by Ontario, Germany and the United Kingdom in the context of the World Trade Organization subsidy rules. The Ontario cases are the first WTO disputes related to climate change, and are being watched for their ramifications for all future climate-change related trade disputes.



Feed-in Tariffs for Renewable Energy and WTO Subsidy Rules: an initial legal analysis by Marie Wilke of the ICTSD is available at: