Green jobs


Wanstead Climate Action is keen to spread the ‘green jobs for all’ message, locally and across the country. Tina Nieman Da Costa explains why it’s time to make the government listen

The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to cost £1.9m in permanent jobs. Firms, though optimistic about the recovery of the post-COVID/Brexit deal era, are realistic about the need to cut overheads to remain solvent after the country’s record-breaking economic slump.

Even a cursory job search in the carbon control and the sustainability industry shows an international need, and almost all starting positions in these areas pay more than other industries. A position as a senior consultant carbon specialist can start at £33,000 a year. The government should focus on creating more jobs and apprenticeships like these to match the growing requirements in construction, to retrofit and upgrade not only our homes but our railways and infrastructure, as well as in healthcare, teaching and agriculture.

A Green New Deal UK report estimates that by investing £68bn of public funds, 1.2 million green jobs can be created over the next two years. The government’s response to this has been tentative and non-committal at best, and a brand-new coal mine at worst.

The green economy has the secondary potential to bridge the ever-widening wealth gap and address the current spiderweb-like social rifts exposed by COVID-19. It is a truly international industry unsullied by institutionalised racism and cronyism and can bring wealth to areas and communities currently being left behind.

With China and India embracing renewable energy – China to the extent that it has saved the energy equivalent of 3.3 billion tonnes of oil in 2020 – how much of the eco-friendly pie will be left for an only backward compatible Britain?

The banking sector too has seen a recent rise in private investment and speculation on ethical products. Chief executive Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas of the Green Finance Institute, the first and only of its kind, argued in an editorial on their website: “The UK needs a second green investment bank to help investors decarbonise.” She says the UK economy needs mechanisms to address barriers and accelerate private investment. “Over time, financial markets will integrate climate science into everyday decision-making, but climate science tells us we can’t afford to wait.”

So why is the British government so reluctant? It’s time to make them listen. We will be collating data to show how these 1.2 million jobs could be distributed nationally and on a local level. Our aim is to bring the message of green jobs for all to every community across the country and build a mass of support behind the campaign, so politicians must act.

For more information on Wanstead Climate Action and to get involved, visit wnstd.com/wca