The Importance of New Skills Training for Construction, Managers and all Occupations, in a Low Carbon Europe

Greener Skills and Jobs, a joint publication of the the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was released at the 2nd Green Skills Forum in Paris in mid-February.

The publication consists of papers presented by policy makers, researchers, experts from international ogreener-skills-and-jobs_9789264208704-enrganisations and academics at the first forum in 2012. With a focus on European experience, the papers are organized into three sections: Gearing up Education for Training and Growth; Enterprise Approaches For a Workforce Fit For a Green Economy; and Integrating Skills Into Local Development Strategies For Green Job Creation.

Beyond the expected overview of the quantity and quality of green jobs in the EU countries and the arguments for the need for labour market flexibility and retraining, the 228-page document also offers detailed and specific chapters, including: “Licensing and certification to increase skills provision and utilisation amongst low-carbon small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom” (a study of construction trades and the emerging energy efficiency jobs), and “Managerial skills in the green corporation”, which used case study interviews to confirm the importance of three competencies for middle and top managers: change management leadership, collaborative openness, and eco-innovative mindset.
The overall message is that green skills will be needed “in all sectors and at all levels in the workforce as emerging economic activities create new (or renewed) occupations”.

LINKS

Greener Skills and Jobs is available at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/industry-and-services/greener-skills-and-jobs_9789264208704-en (read-only, or download with OECD credentials). It is not yet available in French. Links to all the OECD Green Growth Studies are available at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/fr/environment/oecd-green-growth-studies_22229523

Meeting skill needs for green jobs: Policy recommendations (November 2013) is a related document published by the International Labour Organization, which describes the complex international policy environment related to green vocational education. It was prepared for the G20 Working Group relating to Human Resources Development. It is available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_234463.pdf

OECD Analysis of Innovation for Clean Energy Emphasizes the Importance of Human Capital

A recent OECD working paper reviews case studies of renewable energy initiatives in Australia, Brazil, China, Mongolia, Spain and the United Kingdom, and  emphasizes the importance of local governments in the transition to low-carbon economies. “What sets a region on a path to innovation is openness to new ideas of business…their ability to source and absorb new ideas; in effect, a region’s ability to learn. This is also strongly related to the training and skills ecosystem present in the region. A region’s capacity to innovate relates to the stock and quality of human capital embodied in its workforce. The successful transition to a low-carbon economy will only be possible by ensuring that the labour force is able to transfer from areas of decreasing employment to other industries, and if adequate human capital exists to develop new industries that will grow as a result of climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. Skills development activities will play a major role in each of these transitions.”

LINKS

Improving the Effectiveness of Green Local Development: The role and Impact of Public Sector-led Initiatives in Renewable is available from a link at: http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment-and-sustainable-development/improving-the-effectiveness-of-green-local-development_5k3w6ljtrj0q-en

Carbon Markets the Best Route to Low-Carbon Global Economies

In a new report, Climate and Carbon: Aligning Prices and Policies, the OECD condemns fossil fuel subsidies and tax exemptions, and posits carbon markets as most effective mechanism for transitioning to a low-carbon economy and tackling climate change. The report, drawing on evidence from 15 countries (but not including Canada), points out that “carbon markets are more than 16 times cheaper at cutting greenhouse gases than renewable subsidies paid to power producers”. However, carbon markets worldwide are being undermined by a lack of coherence in government approaches to carbon pricing and financial support for fossil fuels. According to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, limiting global temperature increase to 2ºC requires sending consistent carbon price signals to consumers, producers and investors alike.Climate and Carbon: Aligning Prices and Policies is available at:http://www.oecd.org/environment/climate-carbon.htm

 

Coastal Cities at Risk from Climate Change: Vancouver, New York

According to an article published in Nature Climate Change online in mid-August, Vancouver ranks 11th amongst the world’s 136 large coastal cities at risk of flooding, as measured by annual average losses of people or “assets”. Most at risk: Guangzhou, Miami, New York, New Orleans, and Mumbai. The article is part of an ongoing OECD project to explore the policy implications of flood risks due to climate change and economic development. Future Flood Losses in Major Coastal Cities is available for purchase (with a brief free preview) at the Nature Climate Change website at: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1979.html#access. Also see a summary at the OECD website at: http://www.oecd.org/env/resources/future-flood-losses-in-major-coastal-cities.htm

Vancouver adopted a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in July 2012 to guide building and maintenance of streets, sewers, building infrastructure, parks and greenspaces. See http://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/climate-change-adaptation-strategy.aspx for links to the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, plus implementation reports for 2011-2012, and 2012-2013.

In June 2013, New York unveiled a plan in response to Superstorm Sandy, which proposes more than 250 initiatives, costed at $19.5 billion – most of which would be spent to repair homes and streets damaged by Sandy, retrofit hospitals and nursing homes, elevate electrical infrastructure, improve ferry and subway systems and fix drinking water systems. See A Stronger, More Resilient New York, at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/sirr/html/report/report.shtml