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FAQ: Debunking the myths


Action on the environment is bad news for jobs

Rather, past experience demonstrates that well-designed, environment-related investments are beneficial for employment overall, although there are shifts in the labour market structure. The so-called green sectors of the economy can be expected to create more jobs, directly and indirectly, than will be lost in other sectors. An HSBC survey found that, worldwide, businesses selling low carbon goods and services now generate more revenue than the aerospace and defence industries combined, making this sector one of the new linchpins of the global economy.

Environmental measures only bring financial costs

Win-win options clearly exist. Examples include the introduction of energy efficient appliances and equipment, the sustainable management of resources such as water, and improvements in housekeeping practices. The widespread introduction of such measures could greatly reduce carbon emissions in developing countries and would bring ancillary benefits such as short return-on-investment periods, net productivity gains, better working conditions and little or no harm to employment.

Environmental issues such as climate change are the concern of specialists and can be solved by environmentalists and negotiators alone

Whether we like it or not, climate change will revolutionize the way we produce, consume and earn a living. This historical transformation will affect all sectors of the economy, in all countries, and consequently all peoples. Any commitment by governments will require support from all layers of society; young and old, male and female, poor and rich, urban and rural, workers and employers. When deals made in high level conference rooms do not have grassroots support, they are hard to deliver on. Delivering on reduction targets starts with engaging those on the ground whose jobs and livelihoods will be the first to be affected. We need to anticipate and smooth the inevitable changes and manage a ‘just transition’ towards a sustainable, low-carbon path.

Green jobs are decent jobs

Good green jobs do not come naturally. They are not decent by definition. Throughout the world, for example, millions of workers are involved in recycling discarded computers and mobile phones. But they are often bad quality jobs where far too often the first things to go in the recycle bin are safety and health rules.

Building a low carbon economy is all about technology or finance

Actually, it is not only about technology or finance; it’s about people and societies. It’s about a cultural change to greater environmental consciousness. The best way to make a just transition is by ensuring a say to those who are most directly involved, employers and workers. We need effective social dialogue to help us grow into a greener economy.

Green Jobs are not relevant to developing countries

Green jobs are more relevant to those developing countries where there is significant unmet need and lower levels of infrastructure development. While renewable energy markets are currently limited and fossil fuels remain the most practical application for some energy needs, opportunities for economic growth and income-generation, based on distributed electrical generation systems and renewable energy technologies, for example, are larger in less developed countries than others with more developed electrical grid systems.



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