Working paper

The low-carbon transition will require adapting and changing existing sectors and industries, creating new occupations requiring new skills, even as others become obsolete.

This paper argues that the low-carbon transition must, as part of the labour market solution, consider migration in all its forms – both domestic and international, short- and long-term, of people with different skill levels, and in all directions between and within countries at all levels of economic development. The paper makes the case that migration can contribute to efforts to mitigate climate change, and shows how policy and practice communities can collaborate to enable migration to support the transition to low-carbon economies.

Key messages:

  • The shift to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies must urgently accelerate. It necessitates the emergence of new sectors and technologies, which in turn requires the adaptation of existing sectors and industries, as well as new occupations, skills and expertise.
  • Migration of workers both within and between countries can offer a way to adaptively manage the labour market needs of the transition – alongside appropriate skills development for those in situ, including workers in displaced, high-emissions industries.
  • To allow this, there is a need for those working on the low-carbon transition, migration and skills development and labour markets to collaboratively address three practical and political challenges: anticipating needs, (re)skilling, and facilitating mobility.
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ODI Working Paper 584