TORONTO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — After nearly a decade of riding Canada’s oil boom, drilling contractor Jennifer Turner found herself low on work, like thousands of other employees in the fossil fuel business left jobless following a plunge in oil prices.
Today, she helps unemployed oil workers find jobs in the burgeoning solar power industry. She hopes it’s part of a broader transition to adopt more renewable energy in the North American nation with the world’s third-largest oil reserves.
“Workers risk getting left behind,” said Turner, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Iron and Earth, based in Alberta.
In fact, many require “minimal training” to repurpose their expertise for renewable energy projects, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Finding jobs for ex-oil workers is key to smoothing the path towards renewable energy and building public support for that shift, officials and campaigners say.
The Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, adopted in 2015 by close to 200 governments, notes that countries will take into account “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce” in their efforts to limit global warming.
Photo credit: TODD KOROL / REUTERSWindmills generate electricity in the windy rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains near the town of Pincher Creek, Alberta, September 27, 2010.