ILO finds transition to green economy to create new jobs

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windfarm ILO

A NEW REPORT by the International Labor Organization (ILO) found that the transition to a greener economy could generate 24 million jobs in a span of about a decade, with Asia and the Pacific seen to have the highest level of job creation at 14 million.

According to the report, “World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs,” action to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius will result in sufficient job creation to more than offset the expected job losses of 6 million in traditional energy sectors.”

The global findings also showed that, of 163 sectors analyzed, “only 14 will suffer employment losses of more than 10,000 jobs worldwide. Only two sectors, petroleum extraction and petroleum refining, show losses of one million or more jobs.”

On the other hand, “2.5 million jobs will be created in renewables-based electricity, offsetting some 400,000 jobs lost in fossil fuel-based electricity generation,” the report also concluded.

The report also found that “6 million jobs can be created by transitioning towards a ‘circular economy’ which includes activities like recycling, repair, rent and remanufacture — replacing the traditional economic model of “extracting, making, using and disposing.”

In Asia and the Pacific, the report said economic growth remains linked with greenhouse gas emissions. “Environmental degradation is further exacerbated by the high volume of extraction; the region was responsible for 55% of the 84 gigatons of materials extracted globally in 2013 (including freshwater and raw materials),” the report said.

The report further noted: “Heat stress is another concern, as rising temperatures impact the health of workers and reduce worker performance. Southern Asia could face productivity losses equivalent to 4.8%, corresponding to around 40 million full-time jobs as a result of rising temperatures. Agriculture workers will be the most affected.”

Sought for comment, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in part that it “fully supports the transition to a green economy.”

“The DENR Administrative Order No. 2017-08 provides the guidelines for the transition of the agency’s programs and projects to ‘green economy models’ or GEMs where community members create sustainable goods and services for the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems. It aims to create viable community enterprises where households are the focal members and players in creating value-added environmental products and services, and accelerate the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems,” the DENR also said in its e-mailed response, adding that the order “is pursuant to Republic Act No. 10771 or the Philippine Green Jobs of 2016.

“Among the development and rehabilitation activities to be undertaken under the GEMs are the Enhanced National Greening Program with focus on the expansion of bamboo and mangrove plantations, the biochar program, the Sustainable Coral Reef Ecosystems Management Program, the Coastal and Marine Environment Program, and the National Ecosavers Program. Other activities include ecotourism, mining rehabilitation, pollution mitigation and bioremediation,” DENR said further.

“GEMs are open to all interested households located within and adjacent to existing and potential project sites, as well as organized community enterprises composed of grouped households who are interested in various development and rehabilitation projects of the DENR. Under the GEMs, participant member households will get the chance to have tenurial rights and access to all DENR-controlled resource-based programs and projects,” DENR also said. — Gillian M. Cortez