Thursday 25 March 2021 10:30 pm

Decarbonisation could create 1.7m jobs in emissions-heavy regions

The UK’s transition to low-carbon and renewable energy sources could create 1.7m jobs, but only if the government takes steps to decarbonise the country’s 12 most carbon-intensive industries.

Half of the new jobs could be created in the north, Midlands and Scotland, the areas of the UK where such heavily emitting industries are based.

Read more: UK greenhouse gas emissions fell nearly a tenth in 2020

The new report, from think tank Onward, puts forward a number of steps that the government can take in order to hit the targets in its decarbonisation plan.

If it does so, it could create between 900,000 and 1.3m jobs in low-carbon heating and energy efficiency, 367,000 jobs in electric vehicles and 36,000 jobs in low-carbon power. 

The effect of this decarbonisation could generate over £330 billion in additional economic value by 2030, the paper found.

Author Ted Christie-Miller said: “The UK has successfully halved its emissions since 1990, but that means the low-hanging fruit have already been picked.

“The next phase will require the wholesale transformation of industries that are integral to our economy and vital for regional jobs. It is essential the Government helps these industries to make the transition, while helping new net zero industries to flourish.”

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The report comes the same day that the government revealed that UK emissions fell nearly 10 per cent last year.

Just 12 industries, including aviation, steel, construction and manufacturing, make up 62 per cent of these.

But, the report finds, these industries make up more than half of the jobs in the North, Midlands and Scotland.

In order to decarbonise these industries without losing the jobs they support, the report suggests a number of steps, including the setting up of a “Net Zero Delivery Taskforce”.

It also suggests the introduction of regional carbon budgets, as well as supply chain quotas for net zero technologies to ensure a set number of components come from within the UK.

Read more: Government agrees £16bn North Sea transition deal for oil industry

Ruth Edwards MP, Member of the Getting to Zero steering group, said: “The green transition is both a challenge and an opportunity for the UK. We are in the middle of a fundamental rethink of the way many of our oldest industries do business.

“This Onward report sets out how we can transition to a greener economy whilst staying true to our commitments to protect jobs and communities and to ‘level up’ opportunity throughout our country.”