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Manufacturing jobs at risk as the UK ‘falls behind on climate action’

Analysis from the United Kingdom’s main federation of trade unions estimates that more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs could be at risk if the country fails to reach its climate targets as quickly as other nations that offer superior green infrastructure.

The Trades Union Congress, or TUC, has called on the UK government and companies to work together to protect jobs at risk of moving to countries that give greater support for decarbonization.

It warned that jobs in the steel industry are at the greatest risk because their high-grade manufacturing process is dependent on burning coal. The glass, ceramics and chemicals sectors also face high risk of off shoring, it said.

The federation said the regions of Northwest England, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands have most jobs at stake.

The British government has set a target to cut carbon emissions by 78 percent by 2035, but TUC research from June shows the nation’s investment in green infrastructure and jobs lags behind all but one of the G7 members.

It said that, scaled by population, the UK’s green recovery investment plans are just a quarter of those of France, a fifth of Canada, and 6 percent of the plans made by the United States.

It noted that other nations have more advanced programs in place for jobs and programs like public transport, electric vehicles and energy efficiency updating.

The UK government disputes the TUC claims, reported the BBC, and is currently considering the recommendations of an independent report into the future of green jobs, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, or BEIS.

A spokesperson for the BEIS was quoted as saying: “In recent months, we’ve secured record investment in wind power, published a world-leading Hydrogen Strategy, pledged 1 billion pounds ($1.39 billion) in funding to support the development of carbon capture and launched a landmark North Sea Transition Deal-the first G7 nation to do so-that will protect our environment, generate huge investment and create and support thousands of jobs.”

The BBC said that countries such as Sweden offer new technologies that enable steel production without using coal.

Research by the Confederation of British Industry suggests that UK spending on electric vehicles and energy efficiency could create 250,000 net new jobs by 2030. But, quoted by the BBC, the CBI’s decarbonization director, Tom Thackray, warned: “The window of opportunity to realize this is shrinking by the day.”

Commenting on the TUC analysis, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research Jagjit Chadha told the broadcaster the UK has “made significant progress since 1990” on cutting carbon emissions, but that the government needs to formulate a long-term green economic strategy, together with the private sector.
Source: China Daily

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