Ahead of the crucial COP21 (Conference of Parties) meeting in Paris, where international leaders are meeting from Monday to discuss the environmental crisis and solutions, the JustJobs network has released its research report on the link between climate change and livelihoods.
The research, ‘The Changing Climate of Livelihoods: Case Studies from Bangladesh, India and Indonesia’, conducted in collaboration with Swedish non-profit organisation Union and the Observer Research Foundation of India, concludes that there could be up to one billion environmental migrants in the world by the year 2050.
The study details the link between environment and employment, and says climate change directly affect jobs and incomes in affected geographies, especially the regions dependent on agriculture. Climate-induced migration, whether temporary or permanent, affects the labour markets in host countries or regions. Relief works in disaster areas would create jobs; for coping with the changed climate, a change in livelihood might happen, the study says.
Concentrating on predictions that climate-induced migrations would increase on a large scale, with up to one billion environmental migrants by 2050, the study report covers environment policies, natural disasters and migration from three countries — Bangladesh, India and Indonesia.
The report says Bangladesh, whose emissions are less than 0.35% of the global total (according to Bangladesh’s Intended nationally determined contribution document), plans to reduce emissions by 15%, contingent on international support in the form of finances and technology. According to the report, the harmful effects of climate change — floods, cyclones, and increasing salinity — will affect Bangladesh’s poor, especially in low-lying Delta region.
According to the report, climate projections in India suggest the impact of a change in temperature by 2030 will be concentrated in the Himalayan region, the Western Ghats, northeast India and the coastal zone. India’s plans on expanding renewable energy generation would create jobs in related fields, but since one third of Indian households lack access to electricity, the impact of small-scale and off-grid renewable energy projects on livelihoods will be much greater.
Indonesia has a voluntary target of reducing emissions by 26% by 2020. It intends to reduce emissions further by 2030, by up to 29%, the study says.
Indonesia faces some serious threats due to climate change — 40% of the country’s population remains vulnerable to crises or shocks, such as a rise in the sea level and flooding caused by climate change. Sixty% of Indonesia’s population and 80% of its industry is located in vulnerable coastal areas and more than 81,000 Indonesian farmers will have to seek other sources of income due to the flooding of farms from rising sea levels, says the study.
Effects on labour
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation say the policies regarding climate change could generate up to 60 million jobs, but as renewable energy sector creates jobs, it is important to note that incomparable amount of livelihoods would be lost in the aftermath of climate change, the study points out.