Meeting well-below 2°C target would increase energy sector jobs globally
Journal article, 2021

To limit global warming to well-below 2°C (WB2C), fossil fuels must be replaced by low-carbon energy sources. Support for this transition is often dampened by the impact on fossil fuel jobs. Previous work shows that pro-climate polices could increase employment by 20 million net energy jobs, but these studies rely on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) jobs data, assumptions about jobs in non-OECD countries, and a single baseline assumption. Here we combine a global dataset of job intensities across 11 energy technologies and five job categories in 50 countries with an integrated assessment model under three shared socioeconomic pathways. We estimate direct energy jobs under a WB2C scenario and current policy scenarios. We find that, by 2050, energy sector jobs would grow from today's 18 million to 26 million under a WB2C scenario compared with 21 million under the current policy scenario. Fossil fuel extraction jobs would rapidly decline, but losses will be compensated by gains in solar and wind jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector (totaling 7.7 million in 2050).

climate change

renewable energy jobs

Paris Agreement

just transition

energy transition

fossil fuel jobs


Sandeep Pai

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Johannes Emmerling

Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, Milan

Laurent Drouet

Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, Milan

Hisham Zerriffi

Colorado School of Mines

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Jessica Jewell

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

University of Bergen

One Earth

25903330 (ISSN) 25903322 (eISSN)

Vol. 4 7 1026-1036

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Renewable Bioenergy Research

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems

Areas of Advance




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