The energy transition is expected to create 40 million additional jobs in the energy sector by 2050, with 18 million more jobs globally in renewables alone, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Also, the world could witness an average annual increase in GDP of 1.5% by 2050 under the 1.5°C pathway compliant with the Paris Agreement, when compared to the Planned Energy Scenario, IRENA said in a new report released ahead of the UN Climate Conference COP28 in Dubai.

Volume two of the World Energy Transitions Outlook provides insights into how economic activity, employment and human welfare will be affected by 1.5°C and thereby assist governments to design policies that maximise the benefits of the transition.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said: “I echo the COP28 Presidency’s call for a global renewable energy target as a practical step to implement the Paris Agreement. But policymakers have predominantly concentrated on the technological facets of the energy transition, often overlooking its socio-economic implications.”

“The energy transition holds great promise for boosting the global economy, but we must address persistent inequality. Bridging gaps in climate policy ambition and fostering essential structural changes places unprecedented demands on policymakers," he added.

Although the renewable sector employment is expected to triple by 2050 overall, jobs are unevenly distributed across regions, IRENA said, adding Asia is expected to hold 55% of global renewable jobs by 2050, followed by Europe at 14% and the Americas at 13%. Only 9% of the jobs would be in Sub-Saharan Africa.

And while Africa’s per capita GDP is set to double, the continent’s resource-rich countries will likely see faster growth, exacerbating regional inequalities, IRENA said. 

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)