EU Examines Impact of Climate Change on Jobs

BRUSSELS (RPRN) 6/22/2009–On 22 and 23 June, the European Commission will hold a major event in Brussels to examine the impact of climate change on employment. Bringing together around 300 policy makers and experts, this latest edition of the Restructuring Forum will address issues such as how many jobs will be lost and how many created due to climate change; how skills and qualifications will have to evolve; and what role the social partners can play to help.

‘Climate change and our response to it will have an enormous effect on jobs and skills in Europe over the coming years,’ said Vladimír Å pidla, Commissioner for Employment. ‘There are both huge opportunities – such as the potential for thousands of new green jobs – but also risks, if changes in the economy and labour market are not well anticipated. Today’s forum is a crucial step in analysing how we need to transform skills and qualifications as Europe adapts to the new reality of a green economy.’

As a prelude to the EU’s 2009 Green Week, today’s event brings together delegates from trade unions, employers and governments as well as experts to analyse how climate change policies will affect the labour market and what can be done to smooth the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Climate change policies affect an ever-increasing share of the economy. Brown jobs may be lost, and green jobs created, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Reducing the carbon footprint of the economy means that the vast majority of employees will be affected one way or the other. Mostly, they will have to learn green skills in order to do the same jobs with less CO 2.

The Restructuring Forum will look at job creation, e.g. in the various renewable energy sectors or resulting from improved building insulation. For instance, a recent study by the European Commission put the net number of jobs created by reaching the target of 20% for the share of renewables in energy use in 2020 at 410 000. It will also look at job losses, for example in energy-intensive industries or in relation to international competition.

Moreover, it will analyse how jobs which are neither lost nor created will need to adapt, particularly in terms of skills and qualifications required from employees. To do this, the Forum will address issues such as research and training needs, the potential for job transformation by the employees themselves, and regional aspects.

Finally, the Forum will discuss how the social partner organisations, i.e. employers and trade unions, can work together to ensure that the economy will not be more disrupted than necessary.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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