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South Korea and China focus on green construction jobs

We take a look at green construction jobs and how boosting them can help drive economic recovery following COVID-19.

|Jul 17|magazine7 min read

We take a look at green construction jobs and how boosting them can help drive economic recovery following COVID-19.

The impact of coronavirus has been apparent across many industries, the construction industry has been one of the hardest hit. 

Now a sudden and severe global recession has hit, lessons can be learned from the 2008 recession. Many industries recovered quicker than expected thanks to the introduction and increased focus on green economy. Green construction jobs could hold the key to quicker recovery in construction.

Green Infrastructures

An example of a solid recovery from the 2008 recession was South Korea’s 2009-10 growth. The growth was a result of the investment in sustainable transport and green infrastructure. This included various subsidy’s on clean energy solutions such as solar rooftops. 

South Korea, in addition to Ethiopia, is currently working to repeat this approach with a focus on digitalisation in order for a quicker economic recovery.

China’s first steps

As the first country to be hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, China has now begun its economic recovery. So far, it is showing signs of economic advancements. Li Fang, Chief Representative of WRI China said: "We are looking to increase investment in new infrastructure such as ultra-high-voltage grid connection to facilitate renewable energy, intercity transport and electric vehicle charging stations, 5G, artificial intelligence and the industrial internet”. 

He then went on to say: "New investment should bring long-term benefits. We are learning from the past when, after 2008, recovery carbon emissions increased faster than ever and we don’t want this to happen again."

USA set to follow

The United States was hit much harder by the coronavirus pandemic, with over three and a half million cases. Although the virus is still very active in the nation, it has begun its first steps to recovery. 

Dan Lashof, WEI’s US branch Director, is campaigning to push renewable energy and grid upgrades whilst reviving wind and solar power to be a major part of the nations post-pandemic recovery. 

He said: "The sectors used to employ 350,000 people and were fast-growing. The pre-existing tax credits can be used again. The grid can be upgraded in a smart way, and electric cars and their charging infrastructure, and transit buses can be backed, lowering operating costs. This would put thousands of electricians back to work.”

He then went on to say: "Additionally, upgrading buildings with energy efficiency and climate resilience would employ a huge number, " added Lashof. "Installing weatherisation for low income households, and retro-fitting hospitals and schools to lower their costs with more efficient equipment would also create tens of thousands of jobs. Planting trees would create 150,000 jobs, targeting agricultural land. 5 million trees would contribute significantly to the global target of 1 trillion trees planted."

Although coronavirus is still very much evident in many countries around the world, signs of recovery continue to become clearer as we enter the second half of 2020, and green investment looks like it could be the way forward to faster economic recovery in many nations across the world.

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