Creating Work to Keep Scotland Warm
According to research published today (1 November) by Friends of the Earth Scotland, meeting our climate targets could increase employment, cut health-care costs and reduce social exclusion.
The report, '42% Better', identifies extra jobs in energy efficiency and public transport, health care savings arising from reduced obesity, improved mental health and reduced respiratory disease, and social inclusion gains from reductions in fuel poverty amongst the many non-environmental benefits of a strong climate policy. Even in the limited case studies examined, the estimated value of the health benefits alone exceeds £2bn.
For example, improving and insulating the homes of those in fuel poverty in Scotland, could avoid an estimated 180,000 cases of anxiety and depression each year, and cut days lost to work and school as a result of respiratory illnesses by up to 25%. The increased levels of fitness resulting from raising cycling rates to Danish levels could save over 1,600 lives a year, and help cut obesity rates in Scotland in half, especially if supported by the widespread adoption of low-carbon, low-meat diets.
The section on Employment and Economic benefits from the report is worth quoting in full because every cost is seen as a benefit....
Employment and economic benefits
Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is also
far better for employment than building new fossil
fuel power stations. According to the developers,
the proposed new coal plant at Hunterston would
employ 160 people in the long term. Including
construction jobs it might create 25 jobs per
terawatt hour (TWh) of electricity generated. Energy
conservation would generate 370 jobs per TWh,
including indirect effects.
An EU study found that there are three main
reasons why investment in energy efficiency has
such a positive impact in terms of job creation:
• The manufacture and installation of energy
efficiency measures is labour intensive
compared to energy supply. This accounts
for an employment gain of between 10 to 30
person-years per million pounds spent, and
nearly 60 person-years if job creation is made
• Cost effective energy efficiency measures result
in consumers spending additional money in
the more labour intensive general consumption
sector (where a greater share of spending buys
services rather than goods or commodities).
This effect can generate an additional 70
person-years per million pounds spent over
the lifetime of the investment, albeit with some
potential rebound effects in terms of carbon
• Work in the manufacture and installation of
energy efficiency measures is accessible
to people suffering the highest rates of
unemployment given that it is manual labour
and distributed around the country. Where
programmes are designed to help those in fuel
poverty (see above), the work is concentrated
in areas where unemployment tends to be
An analysis carried out by the Association for the
Conservation of Energy (ACE) determined that
a programme of domestic improvements in line
with the Scottish Government’s proposed Energy
Efficiency Action Plan would result in over 45,000
person-years of employment between now and
2020, or an annualised figure of 4,520 installer and
support positions either created or safeguarded.
Furthermore, the programme of investment would
generate £400 million of gross value added to the
Scottish economy each year.
The employment and economic benefits to be
gained from a massive programme of residential
energy efficiency improvements are at the heart of
the proposed Green New Deal; domestic energy
efficiency installations are so cost-effective that they
represent one of the best and most secure ways
of investing both public and private money while
creating secure employment and making massive
cuts in carbon emissions.
Have they no clue at all? None of that is benefit to the economy or the well being and prosperity of the people. They are all the downside and costs of the proposal.