New green deal and job losses (1)

Advocates of the new green deal claim large numbers of new jobs created by the new green economy, this is correct, there will be new jobs but most of them (outside of construction) will be more highly skilled due to the technology involved. What is not quantified, is the number of jobs which will be lost as carbon is removed from the economy and that a high proportion of those jobs are lower skilled jobs. A search on papers produced emphasis the new green jobs but do not quantify the distributive effects skilled vs lesser skilled.

What follows is the start of a discussion of the list of sectors and occupations that will be affected. A serious study of the numbers is needed.

Moving Carbon

Carbon goods (oil, coal and lpg) comprise 40% of total sea freight by volume. There are 7,400 carbon tanker ships compared to 5,150 container ships. The consequences of not shipping carbon on shipbuilding, port services and maritime employment will be significant on a global basis.

In addition, in country transport of carbon is a significant employer. Tanker lorries for oil, petrol and lpg and lorry and train transport of coal. Port facilities to handle carbon imports and exports. In a zero-carbon economy, all this investment will be redundant and its difficult to see alternative use. All these jobs will disappear.

13% of rail freight in the UK is oil or coal. 1500 road tankers in the UK distribute petrol and diesel. There are 8,385 petrol stations in the UK. All these jobs will disappear.

Flying

Much is being written about the need to tax airlines given the tax subsidy currently provided by zero fuel duty and zero vat. If airline fuel includes a carbon price as well, if the real carbon cost of flying is taxed, the cost of flying will increase and the numbers flying decrease.

To give some numbers, Heathrow is claimed to generate 76,000 to 190,000 jobs.

“Heathrow is already one of the UK’s largest single-site employers with more than 76,000 people directly employed on the site. In the surrounding area, Heathrow supports a total of 114,000 jobs and accounts for one in five (22%) of local jobs.” Source “The Promise of Heathrow”.

“Heathrow expansion will create more than 120,000 new jobs and has the potential to end youth unemployment in the five local Heathrow boroughs.”

“Based on figures from 2011, in Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports directly employ a combined total of around 7,500 people, whilst Birmingham employs 7,500 and Bristol 2,700. Manchester airport directly employs around 20,000 people across the north west. House of Commons answer.

The Air Transport Action Group claims “There are over 10 million women and men working within the industry to make sure 120,000 flights and 12 million passengers a day are guided safely through their journeys. The wider supply chain, flow-on impacts and jobs in tourism made possible by air transport show that at least 65.5 million jobs and 3.6% of global economic activity are supported by our industry.”

1,200,000 work in airports in the US.

 Let us assume that flying reduces by 25% (which is conservative) as ticket prices rise to reflect the carbon cost of flying. The impact on Heathrow could be roughly 50,000 jobs. Manchester 5,000, Scotland 1,875, Birmingham 1,875 and Bristol 675.  If we extrapolate globally and use the ATAG figures, then globally this is a loss of 2,500,000 jobs. In the US, it is 300,000 jobs.

Transparency

We need to transition to zero carbon given the environmental consequences of the alternative. But advocates need to be transparent about the costs of this transition, and in particular about the employment impacts. If the population is going to accept the transition, they need to understand the consequences.

I will write shortly about other sectors.

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