The global economy could see a $43 trillion benefit from the transition to a net zero economy, or face $178 trillion in economic losses according to a new report from global professional services firm Deloitte,

The transition to a net zero economy could result in a $43 trillion global economic benefit, while unchecked climate change could lead to $178 trillion in economic damage, and put hundreds of millions of jobs at risk, according to a new report by global professional services firm, Deloitte.

The new Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress report, “Work toward net zero: The rise of the Green Collar workforce in a just transition,” presents a detailed look at the impacts of decarbonization, with a particular focus on the workforce., and introduces a new “Job Vulnerability Index” to identify the jobs most vulnerable to climate change and decarbonization.

According to the new report, more than 800 million jobs worldwide, representing a quarter of the global workforce, are highly vulnerable to being disrupted by climate change, with risks stemming both from the physical damage resulting from climate change, such as floods, storms and heatwaves, as well as from impacts of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

Sectors that are most exposed to physical climate damage and net zero transition risk identified by the report include agriculture, conventional energy, heavy industry and manufacturing, transport, and construction. By region, Asia Pacific and Africa have the most vulnerable workforces, with 40% employed in the most exposed industries.

While climate change presents large-scale economic risks, however, the report also highlights significant opportunities from a successful transition to a net zero economy, arising from new job and skills creation, and minimization of the impacts of climate change. The report finds that coordinated climate action could increase the size of the economy by $43 trillion, on a net present value basis, by 2070, and see the creation of more than 300 million new jobs from the creation of a “Green Collar” workforce.

In order to experience these benefits, however, the report says that investing in skills must become a priority for governments and businesses. The report presents a “Green Collar workforce policy agenda” developed by the Deloitte Economics Institute, outlining actions for decision makers to take to help industries and workers adapt for the low-carbon transition. Key suggestions include creating employment pathways for high-value jobs, reforming education and training systems to facilitate pathways into high growth sectors with in-demand skills, using policy to drive effective skills reallocation, setting clear emissions reduction targets to help industries and companies make effective business decisions, and pursuing high levels of collaboration across government, finance, and technology.

Dr. Pradeep Philip, Partner, Deloitte Economics Institute, said:

“Our analysis shows that 80% of the skills that will be required for jobs in our increasingly decarbonized economy already exist. It’s clear that these skills and the Green Collar workforce will be the driver of the transition—not consequence of transition. With the right policy support from governments globally, we can create more jobs, better outcomes for workers, and a more equitable distribution of the opportunities created in a net-zero economy.”

Click here to access the Deloitte report.

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