Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
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Can green jobs support Net Zero Britain ambitions while building back better from coronavirus?

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) yesterday launched a new inquiry looking at green jobs.

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Rising unemployment

The current coronavirus pandemic has led to rising unemployment levels and record numbers of redundancies as businesses around the country are affected by the pandemic. In the three months to September 2020, the UK unemployment rate was estimated at 4.8%, and during the same period redundancies reached a record high of 314,000.

Green jobs could address unemployment and net-zero target

The UK’s move to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 could provide a significant opportunity to address unemployment. The Committee on Climate Change, Local Government Association and the National Grid have all spoken of the high number of new jobs and skills required to achieve the net-zero transition.

As part of this inquiry, the EAC will explore how many jobs are needed in low carbon and sustainable industries, what skills and training will be needed to support the technologies of the future and whether there are any associated risks.

Chair's comments

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, yesterday said:

“The ability for the UK to reach net-zero by 2050 hinges on having the workforce and skills equipped for new opportunities in low-carbon industries. Although the current economic outlook and rising unemployment rates are worrying, there is a real opportunity to upskill people in the industries of tomorrow. This could include areas such as renewable energy, low-carbon vehicles, establishing nature-based solutions, as well as renewed focus on repairing and recycling items to give them a new lease of life.

“My Committee will be considering if the conditions can be created to facilitate a new wave of green jobs to help more people in to sustainable jobs for the future, while building back greener from coronavirus.”

Green Jobs Taskforce

This inquiry launch follows recent Government announcements of a new Green Jobs Taskforce, supporting the creation of 2 million jobs in the private and public sectors by 2030, and additional investment to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund which will go towards retraining thousands of people to take up the new jobs being created.

Terms of Reference

The Committee is inviting written submissions on the below areas:

  • What estimates are there for the jobs required to meet the pathway to net zero emissions, by sector, and other environmental and biodiversity commitments?
  • Does the UK workforce have the skills and capacity needed to deliver the green jobs required to meet our net zero target and other environmental ambitions (including in the 25-year environment plan)?
  • What needs to be done to ensure that these skills and capacity are developed in time to meet our environmental targets?
  • What measures should the Government take to ensure that its proposals to meet environmental targets do not by default lead to jobs in affected industries being exported?
  • What risks are there to meeting the government’s ambitions for green job creation in both the public and private sectors? What should the government do to create the conditions to ensure its commitments are met by both sectors?
  • Are the government’s ambitions for green job creation in the public and private sectors sufficient for the scale of the challenges? What changes should be made?
  • How can the UK ensure jobs are created in areas most impacted by the transition to a low-carbon economy?
  • What additional interventions should be undertaken to aid in a ‘just transition’?
  • What impact can green jobs have on the wider UK economy?
  • What contribution can green jobs make to the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19?
  • How can the UK ensure high emissions are not locked-in when tackling unemployment?

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