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New Green Jobs A Myth: IPA Research

Written by
16 February 2021

The renewable energy sector does not provide a realistic alternative to jobs in the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing sectors which would be put at risk by a net zero emissions target, according to new research released today by the Institute of Public Affairs.

There are currently 26,850 jobs in the renewable energy sector, compared with 346,900 jobs in agriculture, 277,900 jobs in mining, and 877,300 jobs in manufacturing. This means that for every job in the renewable energy sector there are 56 jobs in the agriculture (13 jobs), mining (10 jobs), and manufacturing (33 jobs) sectors combined.

“Australians who lose their jobs in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing because of a net zero emissions target will not find jobs in the so-called new, green economy – because it doesn’t exist,” said Daniel Wild, Director of Research at the Institute of Public Affairs.

IPA research has identified that the renewable energy sector accounts for just 0.2% of all jobs across the Australian economy, compared with agriculture (3.1% of all jobs), mining (2.5% of all jobs), and manufacturing (7.9% of all jobs). Together, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing account for 13.5% of all jobs.

The new research also identified that the renewable energy sector accounted for only 1% of all net jobs created since 2010.

“The political class looks down on Australians who work in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. They see them as inconvenient roadblocks on the inevitable path to progress, and would prefer them to just spend the rest of their lives on the dole.”

“Labor, Greens, half the Liberal Party, big business and their lobby groups, and the trade unions hold Australian workers in contempt. They expect a 45-year-old unemployed manufacturing worker to simply upskill and find a new job which don’t exist,” said Mr Wild.

This analysis builds on a research report released last week by the Institute of Public Affairs, Net Zero Jobs: An analysis of the employment impacts of a net zero emissions target in Australia, which found that a net zero emissions target would put up to 653,600 jobs at risk, and that the majority of the jobs at risk would be in the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing sectors.

“A net zero emissions target is a carbon tax by stealth which would impose significant and irreparable economic and humanitarian damage without delivering a discernible environmental dividend,” said Mr Wild.

Note and sources: Renewable energy job estimates are taken from the Employment in Renewable Energy Activities release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS estimate is reported as the number of full-time equivalent jobs with the most recent estimate from the 2018-19 financial year. Full-time equivalent numbers are not reported by the ABS uniformly across other industries. For the purposes of comparison, full-time equivalent job estimates are derived from the Labour Force, Australia, Detailed release by dividing the number of weekly hours worked in each industry by the standard full-time working week of 38 hours.  ‘Job’ is therefore defined as ‘full-time equivalent job’.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, April 2020Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, January 2021.

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Daniel Wild

Daniel Wild is the Director of Research at the Institute of Public Affairs

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