Scotland’s low-carbon economy transition ‘could create up to 367,000 jobs’

With the right policies, Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy could create up to 367,000 jobs, with up to 37,000 of those created over three years by building new social housing, according to a major new report into green jobs.

Scotland’s low-carbon economy transition 'could create up to 367,000 jobs'

Commissioned by the STUC, the report highlights that employment in Scotland’s low-carbon economy has fallen in the last five years, suggesting a fundamentally different approach is needed if the higher figure is to be met.

The report looks at how energy, buildings, transport, manufacturing, waste, agriculture and land-use need to be decarbonised, and sets out how Scotland can maximise green job creation, as well as fair work and effective worker voice in these jobs. It calls for an active industrial strategy, far greater levels of public ownership and significant public investment. Among its specific recommendations are a street-by-street programme of energy efficiency upgrades; a national energy company that builds and generates renewables; and much greater investment in local authority bus services.

The report estimates the following future green job creation by sector:

  • Energy: 30,000 - 95,000 jobs over 15+ years in zero carbon energy (including renewables, hydrogen and storage) - but potentially only 16,000 without the right policies.
  • Buildings: 61,000 - 136,000 jobs over 10+ years in decarbonising buildings and broadband, plus a further 22,000 - 37,000 jobs over 3 years in building new social housing.
  • Transport: 26,000 - 60,000 jobs over 10+ years in upgrading and expanding transport (railways, metros, EV charging and batteries, cycle and walking infrastructure, and zero-emissions freight & shipping), with a further 11,000 - 13,000 ongoing jobs in operations.
  • Manufacturing & Industry: 5,000 - 9,000 jobs new and ongoing jobs in manufacturing (including steel, CCS and re-manufacturing), alongside protecting existing employment numbers in chemicals and refining.
  • Waste: 17,000 - 23,500 jobs new and ongoing jobs in circular economies and waste management.
  • Land-Use: 17,000 - 43,000 jobs over 12+ years in nature restoration, reforestation and sustainable farming.

Commenting on the report, STUC general secretary, Rozanne Foyer, said: “We have seen more than a decade of political failure – across parties of all stripes – when it comes to creating green jobs. This research highlights that it is not too late for Scotland to create significant numbers of green jobs, but only if we take a fundamentally different approach.

“The next Scottish Government must prioritise a real plan for green jobs – retrofitting our homes, establishing a national energy company that builds and generates renewables, and investing in local authority bus services that are run for people and not for profit. 

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