Renewable energy sector jobs hit 12mln in 2020

China accounts for 39% of renewable energy jobs

  
Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The number of jobs in the renewable energy sector reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, and could potentially hit 43 million by 2050, a new report said. 

Solar and wind sectors accounted for 4 million and 1.25 million jobs, respectively, the report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), said. 

However, the number of jobs in the liquid biofuels sector has decreased.  

“Renewable energy’s ability to create jobs and meet climate goals is beyond doubt. With COP26 in front of us, governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA director-general. 

“The only path forward is to increase investments in a just and inclusive transition, reaping the full socio-economic benefits along the way.” 

Guy Ryder, the director-general of ILO noted that given the potential for renewable energy to generate jobs, environmental sustainability and employment creation “can go hand-in-hand”. 

“We do not have to choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand, and employment creation on the other.”

Where the jobs are 

China accounted for 39 percent share of renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2020, followed by Brazil, India, the United States and members of the European Union, the report said. 

Many other countries are also creating jobs in renewables. Among them are Vietnam and Malaysia, which are key solar PV exporters, as well as Indonesia and Colombia, with large agricultural supply chains for biofuels; and Mexico and the Russian Federation, where wind power is growing. 

In Sub-Saharan Africa, solar jobs are expanding in diverse countries like Nigeria, Togo and South Africa, the report said. 

Energy transition to net zero will become the source of new jobs in the coming decades, the report added.  

An ILO global sustainability scenario to 2030 estimates that the 24 to 25 million new jobs will far surpass losses of between six and seven million jobs.  

“Some five million of the workers who lose their jobs will be able to find new jobs in the same occupation in another industry.” 

The Abu Dhabi-based IRENA’s World Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that the renewable energy sector could employ 43 million by 2050. 

Most countries have committed to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to limit climate change. Major oil producer Saudi Arabia became the latest to make such a commitment when it said on Saturday that it aims to hit the target by 2060.  

Fellow oil producer UAE made the pledge earlier this month, promising to attain net zero by 2050. 

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Cleofe Maceda)  

brinda.darasha@refinitiv.com 

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