HAS a few days before COP 28 kicks off in Dubai, states are preparing to display their ambitions in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. France has committed in its national low carbon strategy (SNBC) to reducing its emissions by 55% by 2030 in accordance with the European plan Fit for 55 and achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.
To achieve this objective, France will have to shift gears on carbon taxation and the decarbonization of large industrial sites. This transition will automatically have effects on employment. In the automotive industry alone, several renowned foundries specializing in the manufacture of parts for thermal engines have gone out of business one after the other. And the litany of closures is not ready to stop given the acceleration of global warming.
Will the energy transition nevertheless cause vast job losses in polluting sectors? Will the decarbonization of the French economy promote the massive creation of jobs throughout the territory? In a note released this Wednesday, November 15, the Economic Analysis Council attempted to assess the repercussions of this transition on the French labor market.
“The impact of the energy transition on total employment is modest. It’s more a question of job reallocations than destructions. This concerns both the reallocation between sectors and‘inside the sectors. In most scenarios, the impact is positive when there is a redistribution of carbon tax proceeds.confided to The gallery, Aurélien Saussay, co-author of the note and economist at the London School of Economics (LSE).
The increase in carbon taxation, a limited impact on employment
To achieve this objective of carbon neutrality, economists from the Economic Analysis Council attached to Matignon modeled the impact of an increase in the carbon tax to 100 euros per tonne of CO2 (it is currently at 80 euros) as a function sectors. As a result, the consequences will be “limited” in France.
According to economists’ calculations, only 4% of jobs would ultimately be affected by this increase in the carbon tax. Economists estimate that companies will adapt their energy mix and are betting that this carbon pricing will be “probably adopted at European level, in parallel with the carbon border adjustment mechanism”.
Given this limited impact, the Economic Analysis Council therefore invites public authorities to “do not turn away from a credible European trajectory of increasing the price of carbon, an essential instrument for decarbonization”. In recent debates, several commentators have spoken out to warn of the risk of a brutal transition in employment.
“The discourse which consists of saying that the energy transition will lead to a lot of job destruction is false. This argument cannot justify a slowdown in the transition. Conversely, the transition will not lead to the net creation of millions of jobs either., observes Aurélien Saussay.
In the note, economists do not avoid the risk of job losses. Faced with the risk of rising unemployment, they recommend “to support the most affected companies and territories by ensuring that difficulties in accessing credit do not prevent efficient companies from making the investments necessary for their transition to a less carbon-intensive mode of production”.
Energy transition, a modest source of “green jobs”
On the other hand, economists have also focused on the effects of the transition on job creation. And here again, they invite us to put into perspective the hopes of a massive source of green professions. “Green jobs are set to grow but they will only represent a modest share of total employment”, underline the authors. Currently, these jobs represent between 0.5% and 1% of total employment.
Faced with the urgency of the transition, the economic analysis council recommends strengthening the attractiveness of these professions. “ The sectors necessary for the transition already have basic attractiveness problems. To achieve CO2 reduction objectives, companies will only be able to recruit if the professions are attractive. And it’s not just about salary. These jobs are often also physically difficult, » underlines the economist interviewed by The gallery. A real headache for companies lacking the hands involved in the transition.