Report shows UK “poorly prepared” to reach net-zero carbon economy

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The UK Government must take urgent action to deliver a “just transition” for workers as the country shifts towards a greener economy, according to a new study.

Coined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the notion of a just transition concerns the range of social interventions required to secure livelihoods as countries seek to secure a net-zero carbon economy.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 3.3 million people, or just over 10% of the workforce, are currently employed in manufacturing or mining, energy and water supply across the UK.

With a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and large swathes of UK industry still dependent on non-renewable energy – the report by David Coats, Visiting Professor at the University of Leicester’s Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures (CSWEF), sets out a number of key recommendations.

His research examined how industrial change has been handled in coal-fired electricity generation and steel manufacturing, setting those experiences in the frame of technology, globalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation in the UK is contrasted with the approach adopted in the same sectors in Canada, Germany, Sweden and Austria.

Professor Coats’ recommendations, developed to

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