The Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, to be co-hosted by the U.N. and the United Kingdom and France. In advance of the Summit, the U.K. has made high-profile announcements, including A Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution (Nov. 18),which aims for the creation of 250,000 green jobs, and on December 3, an announcement that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions “by the fastest rate of any major economy” – with an ambitious new target of at least 68% reduction compared to 1990 emissions levels, by 2030.
Green Jobs Taskforce
Receiving less attention was another announcement on November 12: the launch of a Green Jobs Taskforce. The press release announces that the Taskforce sets “ a clear ambition to support 2 million green jobs by 2030 ….. to set the direction for the job market as we transition to a high-skill, low carbon economy.” The Green Jobs Taskforce met for the first time on November 12 under the leadership of the Minister of Business, Clean Energy and Growth, and the Minister of Skills; it includes representation from workers ( the TUC Deputy General Secretary), as well as representatives from business and the skills sector. Specifically, the Taskforce is meant to “focus on the immediate and longer-term challenges of delivering skilled workers for the UK’s transition to net zero”:
- Ensuring we have the immediate skills needed for building back greener, such as in offshore wind and home retrofitting.
- Developing a long-term plan that charts out the skills needed to help deliver a net zero economy.
- Ensuring good quality green jobs and a diverse workforce.
- Supporting workers in high carbon transitioning sectors, like oil and gas, to retrain in new green technologies.”
Reaction from the Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) points out the discrepancy between the 250,000 jobs target in the Ten Point Plan and the 2 million jobs discussed in the Taskforce announcement. GJA also calls for:
- “a skills policy that is properly funded and built on a long-term strategy of quality apprenticeships and upskilling of the current and future workforce
- co-ordinated local, regional, national and sector frameworks in the development of jobs for the future
- full union engagement in policy development and delivery to ensure a just transition at different levels and sectors of the economy
- introduction of a legal right to appoint trade union green reps in the workplace.
- restoration of support for the Unionlearn fund
- comprehensive changes to procurement and supply chain policies to ensure the potential for local employment growth is maximised, and that is based on union recognition and decent terms and conditions of employment
- a Green New Deal which supports local recovery models as part of an industrial strategy that is clearly aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”