A push to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 will require more than increasing our ambition around green infrastructure and green financing. It will require a workforce that has the appropriate skills capable of delivering on the clean energy transition. The path forward will require an ongoing dialogue with workers and communities affected by the transition to a low carbon future. It will also require working with historically disadvantaged communities to avoid perpetuating instances of environmental and structural racism. The energy transition needs be inclusive by design – creating spaces for marginalized and vulnerable individuals to shape the vision for a clean energy future. These discussions will shape how industry and government respond to the needs of workers and communities, and how we work together to achieve a just and equitable transition – improving access to the tools for success, including opportunities for training and reskilling to empower everyone to succeed.
In 2021, Canada, the U.S. and the European Commission (Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion) launched a new Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) initiative entitled “Empowering People: Advancing Skills and Inclusivity for a Just Clean Energy Transition”. This initiative seeks to highlight the socio-economic elements of the energy transition that relate to empowering people and promoting just and equitable transitions: skills, inclusivity and workforce development. This is an area of work that is currently not being adequately addressed by the technology-oriented nature of many CEM initiatives and campaigns. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce of tomorrow is critical to accelerating the push to a carbon neutral future – one that leaves no one behind.
This Initiative seeks to convene a dialogue that expands the conversation taking place within existing CEM initiatives and to develop solutions relevant to those initiatives’ goals. It will do so by bringing together the right people and partners to share best practices between CEM members, companies and partner organizations. This includes providing a platform for underrepresented and marginalized voices – to bring forward novel approaches and diverse perspectives needed to move the needle on achieving a just and equitable transition for a clean energy future.
The Empowering People Initiative will work with existing CEM initiatives in a collaborative spirit – acting as a horizontal initiative. It will build on and complement existing CEM work streams that already promote equity and inclusivity, such as the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) initiative and the Equal by 30 Campaign, while leveraging other technology-oriented CEM initiatives that could benefit from exploring skills, workforce, and inclusivity issues.
The initiative seeks to: