Employment and Climate Change in Europe: Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Employment in the EU

  • Project no.3228
  • Duration 04/2005 - 05/2007

The expected job gains and losses linked to climate change and climate change mitigation activities in the EU are sizeable. They represent a challenge for employment policies and for the social partners. This is the main result of a study carried out by a consortium led by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Social Development Agency (SDA) on behalf of the European Commission, DG Environment. Further members of the consortium were Syndex, the Wuppertal Institute and ISTAS. The study was also supported financially by seven public bodies: Ministries of Environment in Belgium, Spain, Finland, Italy, UK; ADEME and DIAC in France.
The study has significantly contributed to improve the current understanding of the relationship between climate change and employment as well as between climate change mitigation measures and employment in the EU.
The first part of the study examined the potential consequences of global warming in Europe for employment - which has already begun and will continue. The main finding is that even moderate climate change will affect the economic activity and employment in Europe, with some regions and economic sectors being particularly vulnerable (e.g. negative effects on agriculture and tourism in some southern European regions, positive effects on agriculture and tourism in some northern regions and on the insurance industry). It is likely that increased climate change will have very damaging consequences for employment.
Based on case studies of eleven EU countries and four sector-specific scenarios, the second part of the study considered the challenge for employment resulting from the transition towards a European economy which is emitting less CO2 by 2030. It concludes that the measures to enable the European Union to reduce its CO2 emissions by some 40 per cent by 2030 do not globally cut jobs, but they do substantially change the supply and demand of jobs and qualifications within and between sectors.

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