Green jobs should be at the heart of the Covid-19 recovery to ensure long-term growth, according to a new report from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Investing in jobs that will help the UK meet its net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050 will help to deliver the government’s “levelling-up” agenda, by creating work across the country in the near term and setting the groundwork for sustainable and resilient longer-term economic growth.
The report – Jobs for a strong and sustainable recovery from Covid-19 - published today by LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment – outlines how tens of thousands of jobs could be created through green initiatives.
The authors set out six key areas, where government investment could create jobs and advance the fight against climate change:
• Energy efficiency in buildings
• Natural capital projects
• Active travel equipment and infrastructure, such as bicycles and cycle lanes
• Renewable power generation, distribution and storage
• Electric vehicle production and charging infrastructure
• Carbon capture, use and storage, and blue and green hydrogen production
The research highlights the longer-term employment and growth benefits to green investments, as global demand for cleaner and more environmentally-friendly products and technologies is set to increase rapidly. An area where the UK already has notable strengths, such as in manufacturing parts for wind turbines, could be developed further.
The report recommends that efforts to create jobs in the short term should be complemented by investments, policies and incentives for building innovation and skills to meet these longer-term challenges.
Report co-author Sam Unsworth, policy analyst at the Grantham Research Institute, said: “There is an urgent and immediate demand for labour-intensive and hence job-creating investments that will address large-scale unemployment triggered by the Covid-19 crisis. The job-creating investments we set out in our report are key to meeting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“These investments are complementary to each other since they are likely to create near-term employment opportunities across a number of regions, supporting a UK-wide recovery from Covid-19 and helping to prevent places from being left behind.”
Anna Valero, ESRC Innovation Fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance and report co-author, said: “Looking beyond the immediate crisis, the transition to a green economy offers extraordinary opportunities for sustainable, resilient and more inclusive growth. With global demand for cleaner and more environmentally-friendly products and technologies set to increase rapidly in the coming decades, countries that take early action to develop green innovation and production capabilities are likely to reap significant growth benefits.
“The UK’s future economic, social and environmental prosperity will be shaped in large part by how it deals with, and recovers from, the impact of Covid-19. Our work highlights the opportunity for the UK to ‘build back better’ from the crisis.”