Government leaders around the world debate future of green jobs after pandemic

At the end of January 2021, the American president Joe biden signed a number of executive orders supporting the fight against climate change, including stopping new oil and gas drilling on federal lands and reducing fossil fuel subsidies. Biden also pledged to create new jobs supporting economic growth and green policies, unlike the anti-environmental policies of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. If executed successfully, Biden’s plan could increase U.S. employment in the clean energy sector from 3 million jobs to 10 million jobs.

The new president unveiled a government policy that places climate change at the center of U.S. security and foreign policy, along with resilient infrastructure planning and management, which Biden says will provide millions of people. decent jobs.

Many opponents, however, argued that stopping large operations polluting the industry would result in the loss of their jobs for many Americans employed in these positions. Unemployment has always been a major subject in American discourse.

However, more emphasis has been placed on unemployment issues due to the ongoing pandemic and the new president taking office.

Despite this, it appears Biden has remained committed to implementing a new future for American jobs, especially when it comes to “green jobs” in the renewable energy sector. Investing in this vision, he believes, will not only create a healthier environment for our children, but will also generate a strong and sustainable economy for a new developing market.

Profiting from a global crisis

It has been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but there are still many new findings that scientists and experts are learning almost daily about its spread and transmissibility. However, it is more than clear that this has had a huge impact on the state of our economy, our society and almost every aspect of our lives.

According to the OECD Employment Outlook 2020 report, Israel has experienced the second highest unemployment rate due to the coronavirus pandemic compared to other developed countries, such as the United States. The report also predicted that the unemployment rate in the country would rise in the event of a second wave (which actually took place in late summer and fall). Data reported by the Bank of Israel (correct as of August) showed the unemployment rate to be around 12%, which confirmed this prediction.

Many organizations around the world see the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity. Although they perceive the current global crisis as a disaster, these organizations have also observed changes in the patterns of resource consumption. Thus, they seek to take advantage of this otherwise grim situation.

Indeed, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 report on the future of nature and business identified the transition to a green economy as being capable of generating $ 10 trillion in annual business opportunities that could lead to the creation of 395 million jobs worldwide by 2030.

A good example of these two factors is the Australian government’s decision to create more than 10,000 new waste recycling jobs in the country, diverting more than 10 million tonnes of waste from landfills. The idea behind this initiative is to change not only the country’s waste and recycling industry, but also its methods of dealing with resource waste. As part of this effort, the Australian government announced an investment of A $ 190 million (equivalent to US $ 130 million) to establish the Recycling Modernization Fund (RMF).

Can Israel take advantage of the economic vacuum created by the pandemic like other countries and create more green jobs?

“Can he? Sure. Are you okay? That’s the million dollar question,” says Ori Sharon, deputy director general of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and professor of Law and Environmental Policy at Bar-Ilan University Law School.

“Because Israel doesn’t have a functioning government, Israel doesn’t have a budget, so there is basically nothing we can do. If you want to create jobs, you have to invest in infrastructure, whether for recycling, renewable energies, public transport… All of this requires a lot of money, and most of the money will come either from the national budget. government or loans. , explains Sharon.

“From an economic point of view, Israel is uniquely positioned to establish and take such measures which will increase the number of green jobs in the economy and help us out of the financial crisis that has been created as a result of COVID. But for now, I don’t see any feasibility due to the current political crisis, ”says Sharon.

Tackle three issues at once

Investing in renewable energy sources and creating a green labor market during this global pandemic can help us tackle three issues at once: alleviating the climate crisis, increasing the resilience of our infrastructure and security, and creating jobs. additional in the labor market.

For example, over 3 million Italian workers (13.4% of the workforce) are already employed in green jobs. These include jobs in high demand for workers in Italy, ranging from cooks who work with local, organic and raw materials; engineers and lawyers specializing in renewable energies; and green building and planning. Companies offer incentives to those who provide green solutions that help optimize productivity and business profits, and there is a growing demand for experts who know and understand the procedures and laws related to renewable energy.

Europe today produces around 30% of the world’s photovoltaic energy, led by Germany, which employs around 40,000 solar energy technicians. There is always a demand for more technicians in the field.

Israel, on the other hand, is still building a green labor market. “We have a very interesting high-tech and green-tech industry, but all of the high-tech makes up about 10% of our economy, so green high-tech takes an even smaller share,” says Sharon.

“We don’t have a lot of green jobs. We have a lot of sun here, so there is a lot of potential to invest in solar energy, but there are regulatory hurdles, ”says Sharon. “Urban areas are the best areas to install solar energy. Currently, however, most solar energy development projects take place outside cities, on undeveloped land, farmland and open areas, which can harm biodiversity and the environment.

“It’s because it’s very difficult to grow inside cities,” says Sharon. “It requires the consent of the people living in the buildings, and it is difficult to get building permits. The government has taken some steps to facilitate the process of making urban areas more attractive to developers, but it has not done enough. There is also a question about the lack of funding as it is difficult for businesses, banks and investment companies in Israel to invest in renewable energy. All of these things can be solved, but we need the government to step in and solve them, ”says Sharon.

Think long term

Some argue for the short-term economic benefits of maintaining the status quo and believe that we should continue to invest in the fossil fuel-based energy industry at least until mass-produced technological improvements and serious investment can be made. save us from the climate crisis. . Nonetheless, demand for fossil fuels is declining due to both green governance and various technological innovations – a move that is expected to hurt major fossil fuels exporters to the United States, Russia and Canada as early as 2035.

According to a Dutch study examining investments in the oil industry, if the United States encourages new technologies and reduces the use of fossil fuels, it will be able to create jobs and compensate for lost revenues from oil exports. Conversely, if the United States continues to invest in the declining petroleum industry, it will still lose revenue from this industry, miss the development of the new labor market, and become more dependent on petroleum imports for the benefit of the economy. ‘an outdated local industry.

In terms of America’s new push to generate a massive wave of green job creation, Sharon believes this will have a positive but eventual influence on Israel’s future economic landscape. “I think whatever happens in America makes aliyah in Israel, but it usually takes a decade. I hope this time it will take less.

“Former President Trump thought climate change was a hoax, so he did a lot of things that weren’t environmentally friendly, like pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement. Being a close ally of the United States has therefore made it difficult for Israeli leaders to take environmental and climate action, ”he explained.

As the pressure for government-backed green policies and initiatives begins to build, experts like Sharon are optimistic about the influence this is likely to have on Israel.

“I think it will be easier to act and that it will encourage the Israelis to think more engaged in environmental and climate issues. If the United States is committed to environmental causes and climate action and creates opportunities for cooperation, Israel will always be happy to build more bridges in this area with its ally.

About Yvonne Lozier

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