Madrid, Dec 12 (IANS) United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday said the world was losing the climate race and shifting to a low-carbon economy offered opportunities that could create 65 million new jobs by 2030.
“We are losing the climate race. The New Climate Economy tells us that shifting to a low-carbon economy represents a $26 trillion growth opportunity that could create 65 million new jobs by 2030,” Guterres said at an event on the penultimate day of the 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change here in the Spanish capital.
“Today, the fastest-growing job creators in several economies are those related to solar, wind and geothermal energy and related businesses,” he said.
“On our current trajectory we are looking at a three to four degree temperature rise by the end of the century. But we can choose another path,” he said at the annual climate summit, with delegates from 200 countries, that is expected to finalise rules governing the 2015 Paris Agreement that formally kick in next year.
The UN chief said the path of climate action is for well-being of the people and the planet. This path is about people’s jobs, health, education, opportunities, and their future.
Today, millions of workers are on the frontline of climate impacts. Many in sectors like tourism and agriculture are losing livelihoods. Others have to withstand unbearable working conditions.
“The answer to the climate crisis lies in transforming how we generate our power, design our cities, and manage our land,” Guterres stressed.
“But it also requires that our actions are consistent with making people’s lives better. It means ensuring that national commitments under the Paris Agreement include a just transition for people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected as we move from the grey economy to the green.”
“To achieve our Sustainable Development Goals we must leave no one behind. We can no longer refuse to face up to the climate crisis.”
He reiterated that the governments have to commit, businesses have to lead, and people everywhere have to embrace the transformation that will make the world carbon-neutral by 2050.
“It sounds daunting — but we too often overlook the enormous opportunities linked to climate action,” he said.
For that, the governments, business and labour leaders must work together to develop a pathway to a carbon-neutral world, where women and men can earn a living in jobs that will not damage their health or the environment, he added.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)