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Skills drought major threat to meeting IPCC climate targets

A lack of trained professionals could make it impossible to meet environmental goals outlined in this week’s landmark report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Following the sixth United Nations assessment of the climate crisis, which highlights both the prevalence of species loss and habitat destruction, and the acceleration of these processes, UK environmental solutions charity Ashden has spoken out about global society’s ability to tackle the mounting emergency. 

While acknowledging new and farther reaching commitments are needed from companies, governments and individuals to ensure the most robust, unilateral response on an international scale, much of this will amount to little more than broken promises if more is not done to train and prepare people to undertake the actual work that needs to be carried out to transition the world to a low or zero carbon, green economy. 

Citing LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report, the social network has reported that job postings requiring ‘green skills’ have risen by 8% each year since 2015. By comparison, so-called ‘green talent’, i.e. professionals qualified for those roles, has lagged behind, only rising by around 5% per annum.

This points to an emerging problem, whereby the ideas and blueprints exist to better tackle climate change, but there simply aren’t enough people to roll these out. Meanwhile, significant disparities exist in terms of how green talent is spread throughout the world – low income countries are significantly less resourced than high, and men outnumber women in posts by around two-to-one. 

Ashden is now calling for the prioritisation of green training by both climate-driven funders and investors, and governments at every level, with better co-ordination between public and private sectors, and businesses and training institutions. The organisation also says action is needed to boost skills in disadvantaged communities and among marginalised demographics, and a key way to achieve all this is by replicating innovation and initiatives already working well.

‘This IPCC report underlines the need for urgent climate action, and highlights pathways to a zero-carbon future. But if we attempt that journey without action on green skills and training, we’ll simply be wandering in circles,’ said Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb. ‘We know the destination. We know we need to get there fast. We know we need to get there together. But none of this is possible without a serious commitment to green skills.’

The IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report was published on Monday 28th February 2022 – take a closer look at its contents

Image credit: Dagerotip George

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