As Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepare the government’s plans to rebuild the economy after coronavirus, they want to create as many new jobs as possible.
They’re also under pressure to deliver a ‘green recovery’ that helps the environment and gets us on track to tackle climate change.
The good news is, they can do both – and here’s the proof. New Greenpeace research shows that a green recovery plan could create 1.8 million new green jobs.
These new jobs would put people to work making the UK’s energy, transport and housing greener. They’d also provide a crucial lifeline for young people, workers moving away from polluting industries, and the people facing unemployment after coronavirus.
Where will new green jobs come from?
Cleaning up the transport system
The biggest green-jobs opportunity is in transport. Pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles is now the largest portion of the UK’s carbon footprint, and fixing this could create 890,000 new green jobs. These would be in areas like electric vehicle manufacturing, expanding and improving public transport and making our streets better for walking and cycling.
Electricity and the grid
Next on the list: the electricity system. The government could create 320,000 jobs for people building and servicing wind turbines and solar panels, as well as upgrading our electricity grid to ensure a steady supply of renewable power.
Warm homes and better buildings
We also need to fix up badly-insulated homes and buildings so they waste less heat. There could be 400,000 new jobs up for grabs here. If the government prioritises a green recovery, they could open up these new jobs almost immediately. And the quicker they move, the more homes, schools and hospitals we can upgrade in time for the winter.
Reducing waste and restoring nature
We can also put loads of people to work reducing waste and restoring our damaged environment. The Greenpeace research found 230,000 potential jobs in nature conservation and reforestation programmes. This one is another quick win: there are hundreds of nature conservation projects that are ready to go and could put people to work almost immediately.
How will this help people and the planet?
In August 2020, the furlough scheme winds down and employers will need to start contributing to the cost of employees. This means that the possibility of redundancy is looming over a huge number of people. At the same time, we urgently need to cut carbon emissions, reduce waste, and help the natural world to recover.
To put it simply, there are loads of people who need work, and loads of important work that needs doing. The government just needs to connect those two things together.
As well as providing a boost to the economy, a green recovery would help the UK tackle the climate and nature emergency. It would help people facing unemployment, and give people working in polluting industries a way out. If you think that sounds like a win-win: you’re right!