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Over 130 experts, leaders seek sustainable jobs from energy transition

By Kingsley Jeremiah, Abuja
03 November 2021   |   3:52 am
With millions of jobs at risk as the pressure against fossil fuels continues, over 130 global renewable energy leaders yesterday asked governments at national, regional, and local levels to ensure access to high-quality, sustainable jobs during the energy transition.

Solar…a key source of renewable energy

With millions of jobs at risk as the pressure against fossil fuels continues, over 130 global renewable energy leaders yesterday asked governments at national, regional, and local levels to ensure access to high-quality, sustainable jobs during the energy transition.

The energy leaders, under the auspices of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action, launched the call at the Call to Action for COP26.

Although the ratio of employment in the oil and gas segment of the workforce in Nigeria is relatively low and estimated at a mere 0.01 per cent despite accounting for 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue, energy transition could further reduce the figure from the current estimated 65,000 direct and 250, 000 indirect jobs.

Given climate change concerns, there have been pressures to limit the earth’s temperature rise to 1.5oC by 2050. To become feasible, the full decarbonisation of the energy sector would be required, implying that energy transition is expected to be accelerated to avoid a crisis.

Currently, countries including Nigeria, especially President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari are in Glasgow in Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

IRENA in a statement yesterday, insisted that to address the crisis, there was need for energy transition to advance in a just and inclusive manner, leaving nobody behind.

While transition grounded in renewable energy has been proven to generate widespread socio-economic benefits, including jobs, the experts said, leaving fossil fuels behind, the world needs to make sure that everybody can participate in a low-carbon economy.

IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera, said policies are needed to make the best use of renewable energy players’ insights and best practices in driving a new market and creating adequate and equal opportunities for all.

“The Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that the renewable energy sector offered employment to 12 million people in 2020 – a steady increase since 2012 at 7.3 million. Renewable energy jobs are also more inclusive, showing better gender balance with 32 per cent women employed in the sector, compared to 22 per cent in the fossil fuels sector. These records provide a very promising insight into a clean energy future.

“With the clock ticking, members of Coalition for Action urge governments to consider the following five recommended actions in their decision-making to accelerate a just and inclusive energy transition, at COP26 this week:
Comprehensive structural and just transition policies are critical to secure the benefits and manage labour market misalignments that result from the energy transition,” the group stated.

They called for concrete and resilient finance mechanisms for countries to equitably transition away from fossil fuels, adding that job and enterprise creation in the renewable energy sector must be complemented with labour and socio-economic policies in the energy sector.

“Long-term partnerships between industry, labour unions and governments are essential to ensure job security and social protection, especially in areas particularly impacted by the energy transition (e.g., coal mining regions).

“Data-driven actions and solutions are needed to support targeted policies that encourage job creation, capacity building and reskilling to empower those disproportionately impacted, such as women, youth and minorities,” the release noted.