A factory in the distance with a field in the foreground

Climate Change Committee briefing shows net zero can deliver levelling up

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has released a new briefing that outlines how achieving net zero can offer ‘real levelling up,’ as long as the government gets behind green jobs.

Titled A Net Zero Workforce, the report outlines how achieving net zero carbon emissions would help to deliver the levelling up goal as it will already transform much of the UK economy. Not only will this deliver high-quality job growth and spread opportunity around the country, but many workers won’t see major impacts as a result of the transformation. In fact, only five percent of the current total workforce would see the largest changes, with those going towards the sectors that play a core role in the delivery of the net zero plans. The briefing shows that:

  • Sectors such as building construction and retrofit, and electric battery manufacturing make up two thirds of those core sectors, with these showing the potential to grow during the net zero transition.
  • Around 7% of workers in the UK are employed in sectors that will be able to gradually redirect their services. This will mainly be down the transformation brought on through using low-carbon methods as opposed to fossil fuels.
  • High-emitting sectors are made up of less than 1% of the UK workforce, with these likely to be phased down during the transition to net zero. This includes areas where a decline in extraction must be seen, such as oil and gas.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, said:

“The UK has committed to Net Zero. The only question is whether the Government intends to get there in a way that benefits workers or leaves them behind.

“This is a unique moment to tailor our approach to skills and jobs, in the certainty of achieving the legal goal. A net zero workforce means secure employment for the future. This is an opportunity for the government to bring real meaning to levelling up.”

Net zero has the potential to deliver between 135,000 and 725,000 new jobs in low-carbon sectors, including building retrofit, renewable energy generation and electric vehicles, with this showing significant net employment growth, however this is not guaranteed. In order to achieve this, the briefing states that the government must actively commit to reskilling and upskilling key areas of the workforce.

With the United Kingdom experiencing significant transitions in the past, the CCC’s briefing states that the net zero transition doesn’t carry the same risks as previous transitions such as the decline of goal and steel during the 1970’s and 1980’s. These past strategies saw abrupt business closures in areas of the country that saw concentrated regional employment, however any potential job losses in industries that will be affected by the move to net zero is likely to see this more gradually than the past coal and steel decline. Should the government provide sufficient clarity, workers and businesses are likely to have time to respond to changes.


As jobs are created through the net zero transition, employment can be provided for areas that are more economically deprived as necessary investment can be directed. The briefing states that:

  • Sectors that are likely to see the largest employment growth include building construction and retrofit, transport, and low-carbon energy supply. These are industries that are spread around the United Kingdom and are also the sectors that are likely to see the fastest transitions as low-carbon technology is rolled out at pace.
  • The Humber and South Wales are expected to see the first major sites for decarbonised industry as they exploit hydrogen and carbon capture, however other clusters could be located in Grangemouth, Teesside, Merseyside, and Southampton. These areas already employ manufacturing workers, with the North of England, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber representing 16%, 9% and 21% of energy intensive manufacturing jobs respectively.
  • Through targeted support, the net zero transition has the opportunity to increase diversity in the energy supply and construction sectors, with those industries historically having an under-representation of woman or ethnic minorities. These sectors are key net zero sectors as the nation looks to transition.
Public Sector Executive, Feb/March, Cover

PSE Feb/March, 23

Greater choice, greater results

Our February/March 2023 edition of PSE brings you expert comment and analysis on a range of key public sector topics, from EV infrastructure to Digital transformation and reducing carbon emissions. Learn how the UK Government is investing in highway and freight innovation or read Cllr Matthew Hicks discuss the first step towards an exciting future for Suffolk, alongside so much more…


View all videos
#PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation Virtual Event | 21 Mar 2023

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 

Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Industry Survey

What are the biggest issues facing the Public Sector?

 Public Sector Executive is undergoing some in-depth research around the issues the Public Sector is facing and the importance of deploying and using new technology within Public Sector organisations. 

We are asking for your help to better understand how public sector organisations are utilising technology to support their digital strategy and your opinion on what the biggest issues facing the public sector are.

This survey only takes a couple of minutes to complete and to thank you for your time and for filling out our survey, we'll enter you into a prize draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher.

In order to assist public sector organisations with improving their existing technology estate, we hope to leverage our findings to share best practises and innovations across the public sector.

More articles...

View all