Climate Change: 60 Million Jobs in Greener Economy

Climate change poses a threat to survival in the Southwest Pacific, and in most of the small islands around the globe. Photo: FAO/Sue Price
Climate change poses a threat to survival in the Southwest Pacific, and in most of the small islands around the globe. Photo: FAO/Sue Price

The head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) opened Thursday a summit meeting devoted to tackling climate change as a unique opportunity for job creation and economic growth, saying that up to 60 million jobs can be created in a greener, low carbon economy if the right policies are adopted.

“Inaction on climate change now will cost us all in the future,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said in his keynote address to the World of Work Summit taking place during the International Labour Conference, bringing together the agency’s member States at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Mr. Ryder underlined both the challenges and opportunities presented by a transition to greener economies, and kicked off this year’s summit that focused on climate change, ahead of a UN conference on the issue this December in Paris.

While some countries are struggling with persistent droughts, he said, others simply witness changes in the timing and rhythm of their agricultural and even their fishing seasons, affecting food production and security, and peoples’ incomes.

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“But we now also know that there is much potential for more and better jobs if we work towards sustainable development – so this is a debate about opportunity as well,” he said.

The ILO chief kicked off a high-level panel on ‘Climate Change and the World of Work’ that discussed how governments, workers and employers can help build resilience and create solutions in pursuit of social justice, productive employment and sustainable enterprises, and ensure a just transition for all.

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Rakesh Raman