Renewable energy employment worldwide increased by 4.3% to 12 million last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) late Thursday.
The report, released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), demonstrated the ability of renewables to create jobs while also meeting climate goals despite the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the report, Francesco La Camera, IRENA's director-general, advocated for increased investments in renewables for a just and inclusive transition to net zero.
"With COP26 in front of us, governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero," he said.
The report found that the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays and supply chain disruptions, impacting jobs, which varied by country, end-use and among segments of the value chain.
Liquid biofuels employment decreased as demand for transport fuels fell. The report also showed that off-grid solar lighting sales also suffered, but companies were able to limit job losses.
The solar and wind energy sectors continued leading the global employment growth in renewables, accounting for a total of 4 million and 1.25 million jobs, respectively.
China led as the country with the most employment in this sector totaling around 4.7 million, while EU countries followed, employing 1.3 million.
Brazil ranked third with 1.2 million people last year, and the US and India followed with 838,000 and 726,000, respectively.
According to an ILO global sustainability scenario to 2030, 24 million to 25 million new jobs could be created in the renewables sector, which could far surpass losses of between six and seven million jobs in the hydrocarbon industry.
The ILO report said that some five million workers who lose their jobs could find new jobs in the same occupation in another industry.
IRENA's World Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that the renewable energy sector could employ 43 million by 2050.