Australia has the potential to create 76,000 new clean energy jobs in regions hardest hit by COVID-19, according to researcher for the Climate Council, Dr Simon Bradshaw.
A long-time climate action campaigner, Dr Bradshaw spoke with On the Job with Francis Leach & Sally Rugg about the economic opportunities of a transition to clean energy.
“I can’t think of anywhere that has the same natural advantages, the same foundations that we could be building on, when it comes to clean energy jobs of the future”, he said.
“We really do have some of the world’s best clean energy potential, we’ve got immense expertise here and we’ve clearly got great public goodwill when it comes to making a well-managed transition.”
Echoing the shared frustrations of many, Dr Bradshaw expressed concerns about the ‘culture war’ surrounding climate policy that is blocking the economic possibilities of a switch to clean energy.
“We’ve got increasingly strong signals from the business sector, including big institutional investors, we’ve got strong calls coming from many unions as well saying, we’ve got to be straight with the Australian people, we’ve got to start recognizing the transition we need to make, and we’ve got to start unlocking our potential here.”
While Dr Bradshaw acknowledged that a transition to clean energy won’t be easy for all Australians, he believes the stakes are too high to keep delaying what is an inevitable change.
“If we double down and pretend the world isn’t changing and give communities previously dependent on fossil fuel industries the false promise of decades of ongoing prosperity, that’s really being quite brutally unfair, and is setting people up for a very difficult future and an inevitable crash,” he said.
Instead, Dr Bradshaw argues we should be supporting workers and communities to transition to the 12 areas of clean work detailed in the Climate Council’s Clean Jobs Plan for Australia.
“There’s real, readily created jobs that can be implemented… across a whole raft of professions.
“We’re talking about a whole spectrum of jobs, and particularly targeted where they’re much needed.
“We are talking about the industries of the future that create jobs for the generations to come.
“And when you have the natural advantage that Australia does, the possibilities are really endless”.