The employment effect of climate policy has emerged as an important concern of policy makers, not least in the USA. Yet the impact of climate policy on jobs is complex. In the short term, jobs will shift from high-carbon activities to low-carbon activities. The net effect could be job creation, as low-carbon technologies tend to be more labour-intensive, at least in the short term until efficiency gains bring down costs. In the medium term, the effect will be felt economy-wide as value chains and production patterns adjust. This effect is more difficult to gauge, particularly if climate policy is unilateral and trade effects have to be taken into account. However, the biggest effect is expected to be long term, when climate policy will trigger widespread structural adjustment. Such episodes of ‘creative destruction’ are often associated with innovation, job creation and growth.


Fankhauser, S., Sehlleier, F., and Stern, N. 2008. Climate change, innovation and jobs. Climate Policy, v.8. 

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