A warning in a new UN study about the need for bold action on climate change has highlighted the importance of a just transition to low carbon green economies.
It strengthens the ILO‘s call for economic strategies that support clean energy, foster resource-efficient economic growth, create income and decent jobs, and reduce poverty and inequality.
The UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – authored by 278 scientists from 65 countries – says that harmful carbon emissions between 2010 and 2019 have never been higher in human history.
Without immediate and deep emission reductions across all sectors limiting global warming to 1.5°C will be beyond reach, the report says.
Reducing global warming is possible if there are major transitions in the energy sector, the report’s authors stress. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels such as hydrogen.
The reports notes that, “equity and just transitions can enable deeper ambitions for accelerated mitigation. Applying just transition principles and implementing them through collective and participatory decision-making processes is an effective way of integrating equity principles into policies at all scales.”
“Our jobs and businesses depend on a healthy planet….. We have the opportunity to take action now to reduce carbon emissions while creating millions of decent jobs in the green economy.”
Moustapha Kamal Gueye, head of the ILO‘s Green Jobs programme
The Just Transition Declaration , agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in December 2021, recognizes the need to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition to net zero economies – particularly those working in sectors, cities and regions reliant on carbon-intensive industries and production.
The ILO played a key role in drafting the declaration, which reflects the ILO’s 2015 Guidelines for a Just Transition, which outline the necessary steps towards well-managed, environmentally sustainable economies and societies, decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty.
The head of the ILO‘s Green Jobs programme, Moustapha Kamal Gueye, said the latest IPCC report highlighted the urgent need for ambitious climate action.
“Our jobs and businesses depend on a healthy planet. Our future depends on a just transition to a carbon and resource efficient economy. We have the opportunity to take action now to reduce carbon emissions while creating millions of decent jobs in the green economy,” he said.