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From fitting solar panels to home insulation: research shows meeting climate targets could create over 3,500 jobs in the city

2,264 new jobs for city by 2030 alone if plans to lower toxic emissions become reality

Over 2,264 new jobs could be created in Brighton and Hove if the council delivers on promises to lower toxic emissions by 2030, according to data from the Local Government Association, that has ignited a renewed call for action on the council’s climate pledges from Green Councillors this week.

A Green proposal to declare a ‘climate emergency,’ adopted by all councillors in 2018 included a commitment to reduce the city’s toxic carbon emissions to ‘net zero,’ by 2030 – in line with warnings from scientists worldwide that 2030 will be a ‘tipping point,’ for climate change.

Now, UK-wide research has revealed that meeting emissions reduction targets could create over a million new ‘green’ jobs across the country – and the research predicts that over 2000 of these could be in Brighton and Hove, if existing targets are met. The total number of jobs takes into account the set up and delivery of a ‘low carbon’ project, from the installation of solar panels, insulation and energy storage, for example, through to monitoring and maintenance, creating jobs in a range of industries and harnessing a variety of skills.

Crucially, the predicted job numbers are referred to in the report as ‘informative estimates,’ – suggesting that many more could be created through more ambitious national and local government action.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, convenor of the Green group and member of the Local Government Association body that analyses finance – the resources board – said:

“We cannot tumble out of the Covid-19 crisis and back into the climate crisis and this study from the LGA, the organisation representing councils around the country, is a sign of hope out of the despair of  the pandemic. We can have a recovery that’s good for our planet – and at a period when we need more jobs to account for the many sadly lost through the pandemic, we can have a recovery that’s good for people’s incomes too.

“In 2017, our city produced a huge 577 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide heating and powering our homes and workplaces. About the weight of 2,500 Boeing 747 planes. The challenge is considerable but these figures tell us if we are able to move to environmentally sustainable alternatives such as solar panels and things like district heat heating, we will not only dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, we will also bring many high skilled jobs to the city. We win twice.

“We have only nine and a half years to reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the city, so the city council must double its efforts to have as many ‘green-collar’ jobs in the city as we can. Green Councillors will be asking for the findings of this report to turbo charge our recovery.” 

Greens have called on the Labour Council to push for faster action to achieve local climate targets, after a request for the council to adopt a jobs and skills plan to prevent climate change- labelled a ‘Green New Deal,’ – was put forward in October last year.

Organisations such as the Brighton and Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo) have also raised the urgent need for new training opportunities to help create jobs and ensure the city can provide more energy efficient homes.

Kayla Ente, Founder and Chief Executive of BHESCo, commented:

“We’ve got to shift our economic engine from running on fossil fuels to a clean source of energy.  These are renewable types of power from solar, wind, and marine sources combined with energy storage and importantly, high energy performing properties. 

“In Brighton and Hove we need to upgrade the insulation of 7,861 homes per year in order to meet our 2030 climate change targets, so our Covid-19 recovery must include investing in our own, improved economy.

“Over their operational lifetime, BHESCo’s energy projects will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 6,151 transatlantic flights, with combined financial savings of £1.9 million for our customers, while paying an attractive return to our investors.  Community energy groups working with local authorities is a winning formula.”

Greens say that a ‘Green New Deal’ job creation plan must be a priority, given the potential for new employment opportunities to help the city recover from the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and people’s livelihoods.

Councillor Amy Heley, who put forward the Green Councillor proposal for a ‘Green New Deal’ for Brighton and Hove, added:

“A ‘Green New Deal’ is about recognising the intrinsic relationship between social and environmental justice, which the council must prioritise in all policy going forward, for the benefit of job creation, boosting the local economy, and reaching our climate targets. So it’s not only important to learn that the city could create a minimum of 2,264 new jobs by 2030 – but to recognise that this is an opportunity to create new skills and training, well paid jobs, and a route out of the economic and employment insecurity many people will be feeling as a result of Covid-19.

“The time for a ‘Green New Deal’ job creation plan has come, and the importance of implementing such policies will be essential in the recovery from the current health pandemic. The huge economic uncertainty and widespread unemployment as a result of Covid-19, felt especially hard by young people, reminds us that we must invest in ‘green jobs’ that will enable us to reach our target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.”

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