ILO sees “Tens of Millions of Green Jobs” Created Worldwide in all Sectors

Working Towards Sustainable Development is a report published by the ILO, as a result of the collaborative efforts of the Green Jobs Initiative (which includes UNEP, ILO, IOE and ITUC) and the International Institute for Labour Studies of ILO. In a comprehensive survey of green jobs around the world, the report documents the creation of “tens of millions” of green jobs across all sectors, and particularly in renewable energy. It concludes that “Concerns over job losses caused by greening the economy are therefore exaggerated.” The report also concludes that “outcomes for employment and incomes are largely determined by the policy instruments used and the institutions which implement them, rather than being an inherent part of the shift to a greener economy.” Outcomes are likely to be country-specific, with most gains to be made in developing economies. The report is structured according to specific sectors: agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, manufacturing, recycling, buildings, and transportation. Canada is mentioned throughout but not highlighted for any best practices. The report concludes with recommendations for policies that will ensure decent work and social inclusion.

 

LINK:

Working Towards Sustainable Development: Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy is available at the ILO website at:

http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—dcomm/—publ/documents/publication/wcms_181836.pdf

Where are the Polluting Jobs in Canada, and how can we Transition to Green?

In a report released in June by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, authors Marc Lee and Amanda Card acknowledge that transition to a zero carbon Canada will take several decades, and state that the principal challenge for Canada and all countries is to de-couple the economy from fossil fuels. They calculate that only 9% of Canadian workers are employed in jobs related to fossil fuels and other “hot spots” of Canadian industry (including electricity generation, freight transportation and transportation services, chemical manufacturing, metal manu­facturing and agriculture), yet these sectors comprise 78% of industrial and commercial GHG emissions. The authors also calculate GHG emissions per worker in 14 industrial sectors in Canada. The report offers 12 recommendations for achieving zero carbon growth while creating and maintaining decent green jobs.


LINKS:


A Green Industrial Revolution: Climate Justice, Green Jobs and Sustainable Production in Canada,
published by of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, is available at:

Alternative Visions for a Community-Based Power in British Columbia

In a report released in June by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, John Calvert and Marc Lee warn that households and small businesses face steep rate increases for their hydro power as a result of the increasing demands of the province’s natural resource extraction industries. The authors argue that these industries create very few jobs (only 1% of BC’s employment) and a great deal of pollution. Their alternative vision is based on seven recommendations, starting with a change in energy planning to a balanced supply and demand frame­work, anchored in public power, and refocused on meeting the province’s GHG reduction targets. “Aggressively pursing the energy efficiency and conservation potential in BC, combined with support for small- and community-scale renewable technologies, can significantly reduce the need for new electricity supply. However, this will only happen if the govern­ment’s energy-intensive resource extraction policies are dramatically scaled back”.

 

Powering our Province seeks to assess the job creation potential for rural B.C. of independent power producers (IPP) and community-owned clean energy projects. The report identifies 5 immediate opportunities in: skilled trades and construction; community and First Nations engagement; scientific and environmental monitoring; plant operations and maintenance; and indirect business support. Key barriers faced include the lack of built infrastructure, difficulties accessing advanced education and skills training, and a shortage in capacity for skilled workers, due in part to competition and labour demand from out-of-province and urban centers. The report was published in August by Globe Advisors, and commissioned by the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC) and its project partners.

LINK:

 

Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting Our Energy Needs in a Zero-Carbon Future is at:

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2012/06/CCPA-BC-Clean-Electricity.pdf

 

Powering our Province is available at:
http://www.ruralbcgreenenergy.com/images/GLOBE_BC_Clean_Energy_Business_Opportunities_AnalysisFINAL_July%2030.pdf

New U.S. Fuel Economy Standards Result in Job Creation

New fuel economy standards were announced by the U.S. government on August 28, to begin ramping up in the 2017 model year. It is expected that by 2025, fuel economy for cars and light trucks will have been reduced by 90%. Two new reports estimate the job creation that will occur as a result of the new regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft regulatory analysis document which, at 377 pages, is complex and comprehensive, looking at multiple impacts. Chapter 8, which deals with employment effects of the new regulations, surveys multiple models and concludes with a highly qualified statement that “For the regulated sector, the cost effect is expected to increase employment by 600 – 3,600 workers in 2017, depending on the share of that employment that is in the auto manufacturing sector compared to the auto parts manufacturing sector.”

 

A second report, Gearing Up, uses a “quasi-dynamic input-output analytical model” called Dynamic Energy Efficiency Policy Evaluation Routine (DEEPER). The resulting estimates show 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs will be created in light-duty vehicle manufacturing and assembly by 2030, with real wages projected to increase faster than job growth. The report also explores the job creation potential of increasing domestic content requirements in the U.S.

 

LINKS:
Draft Regulatory Impact Analysis:Proposed Rulemaking for 2017-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards is at the EPA website at:

http://epa.gov/otaq/climate/documents/420d11004.pdf

 

Gearing Up: Smart Standards Create Good Jobs Building Cleaner Cars is available at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) website at:

http://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/e127.pdf

(registration required, free).

A summary of the topic, New Car Rules Get it right on Energy, the Environment and the Economy, is at the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions at:

http://www.c2es.org/blog/greenwaldj/new-car-rules-get-it-right-energy-environment-economy

U.S. Studies of the Employment Impacts of Clean Energy Policies

Some highlights from U.S. studies published in the summer of 2012 include: A report from Michigan State University focuses on the investment and job impacts that would result from increasing Michigan’s renewable energy generation to 25% of total electricity by the year 2025. The “25 by 25” proposal will appear on 2012 election ballot for Michigan voters. See Projected Job and Investment Impacts of Policy Requiring 25% Renewable Energy by 2025 in Michigan, at: http://www.environmentalcouncil.org/mecReports/MSU_Jobs_Report_25x25.pdf

 

Illinois ranked 4th in the United States in overall installed wind capacity and currently hosts 42 wind power projects. 23 of these projects have in excess of 50 MW capacity. A report published in June by the University of Illinois Center for Renewable Energy uses the JEDI model to analyze the economic impacts for those 23 projects. Findings: those 23 projects created approximately 19,047 full-time equivalent jobs during construction (with a total payroll of over $1.1 billion) and support approximately 814 permanent jobs in rural Illinois areas.

See Wind Energy Development in Illinois June 2012 at: http://renewableenergy.illinoisstate.edu/wind/publications/2012EconomicImpactReportForWeb.pdf

The Center for American Progress published an analysis of the potential for clean energy installations on public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. They project that these states could stimulate more than $137 billion in investment in solar, wind, and geothermal energy over the next two decades, create more than 209,000 direct jobs, and provide electricity for 7 million homes. See The Vast Potential for Renewable Energy in the American West: Developing Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy on Public Lands at: http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/08/pdf/renewable_energy_west.pdf

International Cooperation in Skills Training by Labour Unions

In August, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) and the Plumbing Trades Employees Union (PTEU) of Australia signed an affiliation agreement for joint skills training and employment initiatives in the United States, Canada and Australia. The goal is to help streamline the building industry, reduce the shortage of skilled workers and tackle the global problem of climate change. North Americans can provide expertise in heavy industry as Australia embarks on expansion of their oil and gas refining and power generation; Australian expertise in water conservation will benefit North America as it seeks to address its aging water and sewer infrastructure. More details are at: http://www.green-unions.com

Training Models for Clean Energy Jobs

Duke Forum for Law & Social Change published a special edition dedicated to “A Just Transition to a Green Economy” in August. One paper discusses the adequacy of job preparation for a more sustainable energy economy in the U.S. and highlights “the failure of our current education and workforce system to provide for adequate and appropriate training-with the exception of a few innovative community college-industry partnerships”. The authors recommend that governments at all levels support workforce and economic development programs between community college and clean energy industry partnerships, and that the U.S. federal Perkins Career and Technical Education funds be directed toward large-scale experimentation with these partnerships.

 

LINKS:

 

Duke Forum for Law & Social Change Volume 4 (2012) special issue on “A Just Transition to a Green Economy” is available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dflsc/ , including: Gordon, Soares and Steigleder, “Preparing America’s Workforce for Jobs in the Green Economy: A Case for Technical Literacy” and Farrell, “A Just Transition: Lessons Learned from the Environmental Justice Movement”.

Indicators to Measure Gender Representation in Climate Change Decision-Making

A new report from the European Institute for Gender Equality proposes a set of indicators for objective K.1 of the Beijing Platform for Action – i.e. to “Involve women actively in environmental decision making at all levels”. The report reviews the theoretical links between gender issues and climate change. It is the first EU-wide report on gender equality and climate change which provides comparable data at the for the 27 EU countries, in the form of a series of tables showing women’s current participation in climate change decision-making for ministries related to the environment, energy, and transportation, as well as at the EU and international levels. It also provides data about the proportion of women graduates among all graduates in scientific and technical fields related to climate change.

 

LINKS:

 

Review of the Implementation in the EU of area K of the Beijing Platform for Action: Women and the Environment is available at:

http://www.eige.europa.eu/content/document/gender-equality-and-climate-change-report

 

Measuring Green Jobs by Time Spent Using Green Technology or Practices

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of its Green Technologies and Practices Survey at the end of June 2012. The most frequently reported types of green technologies and practices were related to improving energy efficiency within the establishment (57%), and waste reduction as a result of operations (55%). About 854,700 jobs, representing 0.7 % of total U.S. employment, were held by workers who spent more than half of their time involved in green technologies and practices during the survey reference period of August 2011.

 

LINKS:

 

Green Technologies and Practices Summary is available at:

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/gtp.nr0.htm , with links to technical documents.

Defining the Green Economy in Canada

Sustainable Prosperity, based at University of Ottawa, has released a White Paper which argues for a definition of green economy that encompasses all sectors, including but not limited to natural resources and the environmental goods and services sector. In providing its guiding principles for a framework for a green economy, the report also defines relevant concepts such as decoupling and natural capital. The report identifies the “priority challenges” for Canada to achieve a green economy, including: increasing resource productivity; identifying ecological limits; improving competitiveness and innovation; and increasing resilience to climate change and other shocks.

 

LINKS:

 

Towards a Green Economy for Canada is available at the Sustainable Prosperity website at: http://www.sustainableprosperity.ca/dl864&display

Forest Biomass Updates

The B.C. Bioeconomy Committee was formed in July 2011 to provide advice on opportunities in the sector – specifically forest biomass- to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. The report, released over the summer of 2012, provides a snapshot, rather than a comprehensive study, of the wide range of activities already underway in B.C., as well as Alberta, Ontario, U.S., Europe and Finland. The Committee concludes that there is an urgent need for government leadership, and provides recommendations for action.

On July 19, Ontario announced that it is proceeding with the conversion of the Atikokan Generating Station from coal to biomass, as part of its plan to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation by the end of 2014. The government projects that the conversion will create 200 construction jobs, as well as preserve existing long-term jobs because of a provision that the biomass must be sourced from Ontario’s forests and processed in Ontario.

On September 13th the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility at the University of British Columbia was officially opened, to convert local, renewable wood fuel to energy by means of a biomass gasification technology. Note that the federal government also announced funding on September 13 for the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) tidal energy project in Halifax.

LINKS:

B.C. Bioeconomy report is available at:

http://www.gov.bc.ca/jti/down/bio_economy_report_final.pdf

News Release: Ontario Government converts Coal Plant to Biomass at:

http://news.ontario.ca/mei/en/2012/07/ontario-converts-coal-plant-to-biomass-creates-200-jobs.html

News Release: Harper Government Supports Innovative Renewable Energy Project and Innovation in British Columbia September 13, 2012 at: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/6521, with a Backgrounder at: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/6519

Australian Carbon Price Directs Support to Industry and Jobs

Australia’s carbon tax of $23 per tonne was authorized by legislation in November 2011 and began on July 1st 2012. The price, which affects approximately 500 facilities that emit more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, is fixed for the first 3 years and then will rise at 2.5% per year, until July 1 2015, when it will transition to a fully flexible price under an emissions trading scheme. The government has pledged to allocate approximately 40% of carbon price revenue to help businesses and support jobs; the Jobs and Competitiveness Program has earmarked $9.2 billion for assistance until 2015- including $1.3 billion for a Coal Sector Jobs Package. The Clean Energy Act 2011 and its amendments – including amendments in June and August 2012 – are compiled and summarized at:

http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/clean-energy-future/legislation.aspx

 

Review of the B.C. Carbon Tax

The B.C. carbon tax, which began in 2008, applies to the purchase or use of fuels within the province, with revenues being returned to citizens in the form of reductions in other taxes. Its price is now frozen, awaiting the conclusion of a government review of the program, including revenue neutrality and the impact on the competitiveness of B.C. businesses, especially agriculture and food producers. Citizen’s submissions were accepted until the end of August 2012; the review continues to the end of the year. In June 2012, Sustainable Prosperity published its own review of B.C.’s carbon tax, by Stewart Elgie. Their report states that B.C.’s GDP growth has outpaced the rest of Canada’s by a small margin since 2008, while use of petroleum fuels has declined by 15.1% and GHG emissions have also shown a substantial reduction. See the B.C. Ministry of Finance Review website at:

http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/tbs/tp/climate/carbon_tax.htm

For official documents, see British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Shift: the First Four Years at the Sustainable Prosperity website at: http://www.sustainableprosperity.ca/dl872&display .

Measuring Sustainable Manufacturing Practices

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) launched the Higg Index in July 2012, to measure the environmental life cycle of apparel production (materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, use, and end-of-life). The vision is to expand the index to include the footwear industry, and to measure social and labour impacts. SAC, a trade organization of retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, academics and government representatives, claims to represent more than a third of the global apparel and footwear industries, including Walmart, NIKE, Marks and Spencer, and Levi’s. Their website is at: http://www.apparelcoalition.org

WTO Decision Re Ontario’s Fit Program is Delayed

The Chairman of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Board announced in June that, due to the complexities of the dispute, the board will not rule until the end of November 2012 in the international complaint against the domestic content requirements of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program. The decision had been scheduled for September 2012. Details are at:

http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds412_e.htm

Public Opinion about Climate Change

An Angus Reid poll released in late June 2012 shows that 58% of Canadians believe “it is more important to protect the environment, even at the risk of hampering economic growth”. Only 45% of Americans and 43% of Britons agreed with that statement. The summary is at: http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/45431/global-warming-skepticism-higher-in-u-s-and-britain-than-canada/ with a link to the full report and tables.

 

In the U.S., a survey conducted by the University of Michigan compares the levels of concern for climate change among adults between 32 and 52 years of age. Only 16% were very or moderately interested in the issue (down from 22% in 2009). The detailed report, including where the cohort sources their information, and possible explanations for the lack of engagement is: Miller, Jon D. “Climate Change: Generation X Attitudes, Interest, and Understanding” in Generation X Report v. 1 #3 (Summer 2012) at: http://www.sampler.isr.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/GenXReport.pdf

Views on Canada’s Energy Policy

The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources released Now or Never on July 19th, after 3 years of consultations and hearings. The unanimous report presents 13 priorities for action to achieve long-term and affordable energy solutions.

 

LINKS:

Now or Never: Canada must act urgently to seize its place in the new energy world order is available at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/enev/rep/rep04jul12-e.pdf and the French version, Maintenant ou jamais: Le Canada doit agir d’urgence pour prendre sa place dans le nouvel ordre mondial de l’énergie, is at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/enev/rep/rep04jul12-f.pdf

New Energy Policy Proposes to End Nuclear Power in Japan

In Japan’s first review of its energy policy after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, a panel of the Japanese Cabinet made public its recommendations on September 14th. Part of the proposed new policy includes phasing out nuclear power by the 2030s – mainly by retiring aging reactors and not replacing them. Japan’s big business lobby is vehemently opposed to such a plan, but strong anti-nuclear public opinion has been evidenced by weekly mass rallies in front of the prime minister’s office, and in submissions to public hearings held by the government as part of its review.

 

“Japan Will Try to Halt Nuclear Power by the End of the 2030s” (Sept. 14 2012) at the New York Times website at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/world/asia/japan-will-try-to-halt-nuclear-power-by-the-end-of-the-2030s.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www

 

A summary of the options presented for public consideration is at Options for Energy and the Environment: The Energy and Environment Council Decision at:http://www.npu.go.jp/policy/policy09/pdf/20120720/20120720_en.pdf

Progress on Canada’s GHG Emissions?

In August, Environment Canada released its 2012 report documenting Canada’s emission trends. See Canada’s Emission Trends 2012 at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/253AE6E6-5E73-4AFC-81B7-9CF440D5D2C5%5C793-Canada%27s-Emissions-Trends-2012_e_01.pdf (English) or Tendances en matière d’émissions au Canada 2012 at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/253AE6E6-5E73-4AFC-81B7-9CF440D5D2C5%5C793-Canada%27s-Emissions-Trends-2012_f_01.pdf (French).

 

P.J. Partington of the Pembina Institute states: “The progress reflected in this year’s emissions trends report is largely the result of updated baselines and accounting rules for greenhouse gas pollution, as well as the considerable action some provinces are taking to reduce their emissions.” See http://www.pembina.org/media-release/2364. Climate Action Tracker, in its September Update, states: “Canada’s government uses uncommon methods of comparing and projecting emissions, while its 2020 reduction target is unchanged and still estimated as “inadequate” by a wide margin.” http://climateactiontracker.org/assets/publications/briefing_papers/2012-09-04_Briefing_paper_Bangkok.pff.pdf