Reading the latest report from the IPCC (Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, April 2022), you could summarise it with the words “Not long left to get our act together”.
“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”
The report is released in the same week that geologists have identified a dinosaur fossil that died on the day that the meteor struck the earth, and we can’t help to think that the dinosaurs didn’t know it was coming, but we do – and ‘we’ need to act with real purpose, and we need to start now.
We know that the biggest challenge for the delivery of the UK’s net zero targets is the availability of skilled labour.
This week (13th April 2022), stats were released on the tightness of the UK labour market. Current economic conditions are creating wage inflation with many employment sectors competing with one another for workers. Estimates of the number of people required to deliver net zero range from 600K to 1.2M in the UK alone. Some of that gap will be filled by a reduction in demand from the decline of the fossil economy, although some of that capacity will be exiting the labour force naturally against a backdrop of a reducing labour force over the next 20+ years.
It is clear both capability and capacity in net zero skills are challenges we have to overcome, and fast.
The third and most potent challenge is obviously time. That is why NetZero Training, working in partnership with City of Portsmouth College (and support from the City Council), opened its doors to the UK’s first NetZero Training Hub this week.
The Hub provides the City of Portsmouth with an enabler – a facility specifically designed to build the skills to meet the local demand for decarbonisation. More than just education, the Hub creates synergy between social landlords, contractors and technology manufacturers to begin the process of identifying not just how to deliver quality retrofit outcomes, but how to achieve it in a resource-efficient way through working together towards a common outcome.
What is particularly exciting about the opening of the Hub is the opportunity that is has unlocked to create a learning environment that will help drive economic growth as a direct consequence of reducing carbon.
For the City of Portsmouth, this resource will play a massive role in the successful achievement of carbon reduction. The Hub is the right start, and it has started now.