The refrain to justify not moving away from fossil fuels has been that it would put people out of work. Coal and petroleum are big employers. India alone has about 8.6 lakh energy jobs now. But a new study has found that phasing out fossil fuels would actually add 80 lakh energy sector jobs across the world by 2050, of which over 5.4 lakh would be in India.
“Climate action results in more jobs,” Dr Sandeep Pai, co-author of the paper published in ‘One Earth’ journal on Friday, told TOI. Data he shared show that if the Paris Agreement target of temperature rise staying well below 2°C werema met, the number of jobs in India’s energy sector would go up from 8.6 lakh to 14 lakh by 2050. The rest of South Asia, meanwhile, would add about 69,000 jobs. China, on the other hand, would lose over 27 lakh jobs. “According to our study, the US and Middle East and North Africa are clear winners in terms of adding maximum numbers of jobs. They all add over a million jobs by 2050,” Pai said.
The reason this happens is because low-carbon technologies are more job-intensive. That would lead to an increase in the number of jobs, especially during the expansion of renewable energy capacity.