IEA Ministerial: The new energy economy can be a driver of inclusivity and equality in society

Photo shows candian energy minister on a stage at the podium.

The global clean energy transition needs to place inclusivity and fairness at its heart to ensure that the new energy economy works for everyone including in countries and regions that are most vulnerable to the worst impacts of climate change. 

Ministers from around the world and representatives from leading civil society organisations met in Paris this week at an event organised by the International Energy Agency and Canada to share their views on how to fully leverage the new energy economy to boost opportunities in employment and economic competitiveness, particularly in areas and communities that will face significant challenges in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

The high-level dialogue was hosted by Canadian Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson on the side lines of the IEA’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting, which also marked the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Agency. Ministers and panellists highlighted the need to foster jobs, skills, equity, leadership opportunities, and social inclusion, with policy making playing a critical role. Participants stressed that the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 is not only an environmental objective but must also offer people a new social contract that supports marginalised and underrepresented groups to actively participate in the energy transition. Speakers at the high-level dialogue gave particular attention to gender and indigenous issues.

Panellists were also challenged to identify the actions leaders must take in the next five years to build on current momentum, strengthen capacity and support emerging partnerships on people-centred transitions. For its part, the IEA is working closely with policy makers, the private sector and civil society to foster a climate of inclusivity and equity in the transition to clean energy technologies. Last week, the IEA launched a Global Observatory that will provide a repository of exemplary case studies from around the world that focus on four key themes: jobs and worker protections; social and economic development; equity, social inclusion and fairness; and active participation of citizens in clean energy transitions.

On 26 April, the IEA will host the Global Summit on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions at its headquarters in Paris. It will provide a forum for ministers, policy makers, labour leaders, CEOs, youth representatives, indigenous voices and other international experts to engage in vital discussions about some of the most pressing socio-economic issues at the heart of fair and inclusive energy transitions. 

IEA analysis estimates that the energy transition needed to reach net zero emissions will create about 30 million new jobs related to clean energy technologies by 2030, many of which require additional skills and training. While new jobs far outweigh losses in fossil fuels and related industries, policies will be required to ensure that the transition does not leave behind workers in these declining sectors. Many of these workers already possess skills required in growing clean energy sectors and could transfer to these roles with the right support.

In 2022, the IEA launched the Clean Energy Labour Council to bring together leaders from many of the world’s most important national trade unions and trade union confederations, as well as prominent thinkers on the topic, to foster stronger dialogue between the IEA, its stakeholders and the labour sector.

H.E. Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome, Minister of Petroleum & Energy, Senegal (left) and Chief Sharleen Gale, Chair, The First Nations Major Projects Coalition (right).