That’s the prediction from author and project director David McEwen, who believes those employed in green industries will be the ones cashing in on the next big jobs boom.
Mr McEwen, who explores the disruptive business opportunities caused by a changing climate in his new book Navigating the Adaptive Economy, said more and more companies were looking towards greener futures.
He said those that adapted best to the risk will be the ones to boom and the workers will be the ones to reap the benefits.
Mr McEwen said a growing demand for renewable energy, including from China, showed the world was already moving away from fossil fuels.
The director of Adaptive Capability, who works with clients across a number of industries as well as with government, said the fossil fuel industry would struggle to survive beyond the next 30 years.
“If I was a school leaver, I wouldn’t be looking at industries such as gas and oil, although it does have more of a future than coal,” he said.
“Industries which focus on renewables such as solar and wind will be those with the in-demand jobs.”
Mr McEwen said even heavy fossil fuel-using nations were beginning to look at and invest in greener options.
“China is now increasing a push towards renewables, sparked by its own citizens’ complaints about air pollution,” he said.
Mr McEwen said, politics and science aside, businesses and industries were adapting to the possibility of climate change by making decisions that could open up new revenue streams and benefit their reputation.
“There used to be this train of thought about how businesses would adapt to digital disruption,” he said.
“Now it’s all about climate disruption and how companies are gearing up for that.”
He said his book wasn’t about “glorified tree hugging” but rather showed the need for businesses to adapt to the risk that climate change posed.
According to him, the jobs of the future that will be in strong demand will include those in the following areas …
Doctors and nurses and healthcare will always be in demand, but will become even more so in future.
Mr McEwen predicts warmer temperatures will lead to more heat-related complications, bushfires and other illnesses.
“The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires killed people, but so did the heatwave which preceded it,” he said.
He said statistics showed more people died in heatwaves and the need for workers to treat complications arising from that is just one area where healthcare demands would grow.
RENEWABLE ENERGY/TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Mr McEwen said while coal, for example, may be regarded as a cheap form of energy, more consumers are looking towards greener options such as solar.
“Solar is also cheap and solar panels can be put on roofs, providing access to energy,” he said.
While the world was getting hotter, so was the demand for things such as airconditioning and he predicted this field would also continue to grow in demand.
Mr McEwen said this industry would be a big boom area for jobs as it would create a myriad of opportunities ranging from admin to sales, and construction roles.
“Design and town planning will be another big one, especially for places which are close to water but prone to flooding,” he said.
“Jobs in coastal defence will also be in demand.”
While demand for these jobs will always be strong, he predicted the green boom would see opportunities increase even further.
While farmers will have to adapt to predicted tougher growing conditions as it gets hotter, there were still many areas of opportunities.
“Weather forecasters and experts in rainfall patterns will be in demand,” he said.
Experts in environment and land will also be called on to assess suitable growing areas in future.
“There are a whole heap of jobs here from land use to economics and long-range forecasting,” he said.
FOOD PRODUCTION/LAND MANAGEMENT
Mr McEwen said this industry would be in demand with the need for more experts and workers involved in all facets of food production.
“As the land becomes less arable, more people will be born,” he said.
“So the population will grow and so will our need for land. But those who know how to use these resources efficiently will be the key.”
As land becomes more in demand and water more precious, scientists will face increasing pressure to figure out how to feed the world’s population.
“Scientists have already figured out how to grow beef in a lab,” he said.
Mr McEwen predicted jobs which involved research, such as reducing emissions from cattle, is just one area which will be in demand.
He believed genetic engineering jobs related to food production would also increase with the need for food sources to become more tolerant to changing conditions.
This precious resource will become vital in the face of a warming planet, Mr McEwen argues.
With further droughts predicted, roles and opportunities in managing water resources would also rise.
Jobs that looked at ways of wiping out pests such as mosquitoes would also boom, he predicts.
According to Mr McEwen experts and scientists will be needed as pests such as insects increased, threatening health and food production.
Mr McEwen said consumers were already moving towards greener purchases and start ups and companies were taking advantage of that.
“Companies that recycle and use organic products are already noticing a big demand for products,” he said.
He predicts that will continue to increase as shoppers became more conscious of their environmental impact.
SOURCE: NZ Herald