- What are the risks and negative impacts of climate change on employment?
- How are climate change impacts distributed across countries, regions and sectors?
- What are the employment effects of transitioning to a low-carbon economy?
- What are the employment opportunities of mitigating climate change?
- What are the employment opportunities of adapting to climate change?
Climate change will seriously impact employment across economic sectors and regions. These impacts will result from extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves, heavy precipitation, and increased occurrence and intensity of cyclones, or from more gradual climatic processes such as sea level rise, rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.
Negative impacts on employment can include:
Negative impacts on employment can include:
- Job losses
- In urban labour markets due to greater incidence of extreme weather events and resulting worker displacement and damage to business assets, transport and industrial infrastructure, and settlements;
- In rural labour markets due to a greater incidence of heavy precipitation and/or extreme heat and resulting damage to agricultural crops.
- Impacts on business assets and business interruptions due to weather damage or disruption of private and public infrastructure, such as buildings, machinery, production sites, raw materials and supply chains.
- Impacts on working conditions and occupational safety and health affecting labour productivity.
- For instance, heat stress in workers due to rising temperatures results in loss of working hours and days.
- Forced short-term and long-term migration due to income reduction, job losses and uninhabitable environment as a result of environmental risks and abrupt extreme weather events.
The impacts of climate change are unevenly distributed across regions, economic sectors and society. The highest impacts will be felt by:
- The working poor, those working in the informal economy, seasonal and casual workers, the self-employed, micro and small sized enterprises;
- The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) due to high vulnerability and low adaptive capacity;
- Sectors most dependent on natural resources and climate such as energy, water, agriculture and food production, tourism, transport, public services and industries.
Climate action and the transition to low-carbon economies will affect employment in several ways:
- Jobs will be created in new emerging green sectors, such as renewable energies where the demand for goods and services is expanding;
- Certain jobs will be eliminated without direct replacement, for example, through banning or discouraging the use of a particular processing methods or resources especially in energy-intensive and polluting industries;
- Certain jobs will be substituted as a consequence of industrial transformation. For example jobs in waste incineration plants will be substituted with jobs in recycling facilities;
- The majority of existing jobs will be transformed and redefined in terms of their profile requirements and working methods i.e. plumbers and architects in the adoption of more environmentally friendly practices such as efficiency improvements.
Mitigation strategies aim to limit or reduce the magnitude of long term climate change, primarily by reducing or preventing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). Mitigation strategies have significant potential to create new employment by:
- Stimulating investment and innovation in new green products and services that are more environmentally friendly and low-carbon. This also enables enterprises to access new markets and offers them a comparative advantage and for new enterprises to emerge.
- Improvements in energy and raw material efficiency at enterprise level. The greening of workplace practices can reduce the amount of resources needed for production; lower the amount of waste generated, and thereby save energy costs.
Adaptation strategies aim to minimize the negative effects of climate change on societies and economies and take advantage of any related opportunities. Adaptation measures offer opportunities for job creation and climate resilient communities, including through:
- Relocation of exposed settlements and industry
- Establishment of coastal defences
- Reinforcement of buildings and infrastructure;
- Construction of new climate resistant infrastructure
- Transfer of new climate friendly technology