New study expects at least 215,000 jobs to be wiped out in the German auto industry by 2030

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A recent study by the ifo Institute (Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich e.V.) commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) envisages the loss of 215,000 jobs in the German auto industry by 2030. The study titled “Effects of the increased production of electric powered autos on employment in Germany” was published at the beginning of May.

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Volkswagen Wolfsburg industrial plant (Source: Wikipedia)
According to the study, the transformation to electric motors will cost at least 178,000 jobs in the production sectors directly or indirectly dependent on the internal combustion engine during the next four years. Of this total 137,000 are workers directly involved in the auto industry. If the jobs of the 75,000 workers estimated by the ifo study due for retirement in this period are not replaced, that will still leave 100,000 jobs to be cut by 2025.

Taking into account 147,000 jobs expected to be lost through retirement by 2030, this still leaves the number of redundant jobs at around 70,000 out of the 215,000 expected job cuts in that time frame.

The newspaper Die Welt commented: “However, this gap (i.e., number of jobs lost) could be significantly larger if the development towards electro-mobility accelerates. ... This could happen above all if the climate targets currently planned at European level, are tightened up once again.”

The purpose of the study is to provide reliable figures for Germany’s major auto companies, first and foremost VW, Daimler and BMW, but also suppliers such as Bosch, Schaeffler and ZF, and provide in turn the basis for massive job cuts.

“In this study we analyse how production value, gross value and employment in German industry are linked to combustion technology and are therefore affected by the transition from combustion engines to electric motors,” the authors state in the explanatory note to the study. “A key question is whether age-related employment turnover will be able to absorb the foreseeable changes.”

The workers affected and their livelihoods appear in the report as anonymous and superfluous “numbers.” At stake are the many tens of thousands of previously secure and well-paid jobs which will be destroyed, taking into account “age-related employment turnover,” in order to ensure optimal profits in the transition from combustion to electric motors.

The study also emphasizes the economic importance of the German auto industry, which is still heavily dependent on the internal combustion engine. In total, around 613,000 persons were employed making manufactured products linked to internal combustion engines in 2019, the introduction states. They manufactured products worth more than 149 billion euros. In contrast, the value of vehicles with purely electric motors was around 3.1 billion euros, and plug-in hybrid vehicles 4.3 billion euros in 2019.

The study also shows, however, that the switch to electric mobility is not the only reason for the assault on jobs and working conditions. Auto companies have long been looking for a way to further increase rates of profit at the expense of workers.

The study found that the auto industry performed much worse between 2015 and 2019 than manufacturing as a whole. Particularly from 2016 onwards, value added in the automotive sector fell considerably. The report states, “The difference in development compared to the manufacturing sector in 2019 amounts to 10.7 percentage points. Responsible for this decline in the years 2016 to 2019 are the category of products directly dependent on the combustion engine.”

Already in this period, a clear development “away from the combustion engine” could be observed—an “indication of the pressure to innovate in the auto industry.” At the same time, there is a massive need to catch up in the area of information and communication technology (ICT). This is “related to the fact that, in addition to the electrification of motors, the digitalisation and networking of passenger cars also represent major challenges for the industry.”

The study concludes that the “transformation process in the German auto industry has already gained momentum ... especially with regard to product range.” Employment in the affected product groups, on the other hand, is reacting much more slowly, and productivity in vehicle manufacturing has fallen.

The authors attribute this to the fact “that parallel (and thus less efficient) structures had to be established during this period to meet current demand.” At the same time, “capacities for alternative motors were created, which are of fundamental importance for the future market.”

These duplicate structures must now be dismantled as quickly as possible. If one compares “the jobs affected at respective times with the share of newly registered electric vehicles,” then “between 29 and 36 percent of jobs would be surplus by 2025.”

The coronavirus pandemic years 2020 and 2021 have vividly shown the ruthlessness with which auto companies are carrying out the so-called transformation process at the expense of their workforces. Daimler and VW, Continental, ZF and Bosch have already cut thousands of jobs and announced the elimination of tens of thousands more jobs.

At the same time, production in car plants was quickly restarted after a brief pause in the spring of 2020, despite the fact that the coronavirus was spreading through factories and schools, causing tens of thousands of deaths.

Germany’s biggest trade union, IG Metall, and its affiliated works councils have explicitly supported the companies, agreeing to forfeit any wage increases and suppressing all opposition in the factories. As a result profits have soared, and shareholders have been able to celebrate.

The Daimler group alone made a profit of 6.6 billion euros in 2020. Its management promptly decided to top up shareholder dividend from 90 cents to 1.35 euros, forcing even the right-wing conservative paper F.A .Z. to express its astonishment. “That is—according to longstanding practice—a 40 percent profit, for every share priced at 3.39 euros. … As a result, taxpayers’ money, which should secure employment and prevent bankruptcies, is being passed onto shareholders in the form of profit,” according to Lena Kampen of the citizens movement Finanzwende in the F.A.Z.

IG Metall is playing a central role in this frontal attack on the workforce. It makes its apparatus of thousands of well-paid functionaries and works councillors available as partners, advisors and ultimate enforcers of corporate interests. In recent months and years, tens of thousands of workers have fallen victim to austerity measures that IG Metall helped to devise. With the active assistance of the union’s works councils, workers have been stripped of their jobs as quietly as possible through severance agreements, partial retirements and redundancy payments.

It therefore comes as no surprise that IG Metall expressly supports the latest study by the employers association. On the webpage “Schaeffler - IG Metall reports,” the union points out it commissioned similar studies long ago and came to the same conclusions.

“From IG Metall’s point of view, the concerns raised by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) are justified,” the union declares on its website. Already in 2012 and 2018, the studies “ELAB” and “ELAB 2.0” on the effects of electro-mobility on employment in Germany had been prepared on the initiative of the union.

The second study was drawn up by “the auto industry and major auto suppliers together with representatives of both employer and employees, including representation from Schaeffler’s joint and group works council.” The result was similar to the current study by the VDA and the ifo Institute: “Without support from industrial policy, 75,000 jobs in the German auto and auto supplier industry could disappear by 2030 in the event of the full electrification of motors.”

IG Metall has been intimately involved in this restructuring process since 2010. It is a member of the National Platform for Electro-mobility (NPE), which was founded by the German government to bring together representatives from politics, business and the trade unions.

The union’s website reads: “Since the founding of the NPE—in early 2010—IG Metall has been involved in electro-mobility because it is clear that the transition from the combustion engine to electro-mobility will also have an impact on employment.”

It advocates a strictly nationalistic economic course. It calls for “all stages of production to be brought to Germany—including cell production, which has so far taken place in Asia,” according to a report on an NPE conference in June 2015 on the union’s website.

Another section is titled “Regain technology leadership.” It says: “In order for Germany to advance in electro-mobility and for employees to participate, the entire value chain, from the production of batteries to the electric motor, must be located in this country. This is what IG Metall demands.”

This nationalist policy, guided solely by the profit interests of the German auto companies, could have stemmed from the program of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). It aims at dividing workers in Germany from fellow workers in Asia, America and Europe to prevent a joint international struggle.

A successful struggle against the decimation of jobs and conditions in the auto industry means breaking decisively with the nationalist policy of IG Metall. The defence of all threatened jobs can only succeed if autoworkers unite independently of the union and their works councils as members of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC).



SOURCE: WSWS





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Germany Auto Is Going Electric — But It’s Not Helping Workers
BY JOHANNES SIMON TRANSLATION BY VIRGILIO URBINA LAZARDI

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Elon Musk talks to reporters on the construction site of the new Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin. (Christophe Gateau / picture alliance via Getty Images)

Tesla has announced plans for a nonunion factory in Berlin. Auto manufacturing going green was supposed to help workers, not hurt them.

German auto production employs around eight hundred thousand people — with a further 1.8 million jobs indirectly linked to the industry. But even these figures don’t convey quite how important it really is. Apart from the fact that brands like Volkswagen are known the world over, the sector drives industrial knowhow upon which the German economy’s strength relies.

Today, the industry faces severe crisis. Tens of thousands were laid off last year, and many small suppliers are struggling to survive. This doesn’t just owe to the pandemic; even beforehand, sales had been stagnating as excess capacity accumulated worldwide. The management consultant AlixPartners writes that “Darwinism” has taken hold: “Only the financially secure and innovative manufacturers will survive the upcoming market shakeout.”

For decades, German car companies made exorbitant profits — but failed to invest in electromobility. Now they need to make up for lost time. The speed with which the changeover will take place became clear when the EU again tightened its climate targets.

Auto CO2 emissions are to be halved by 2030. China — German firms’ most important market — is planning for one quarter of all new registrations to be electric by 2025, but it is also massively promoting its own electric car industry. Berlin’s new Tesla factory also points to the tough competition faced — especially if Tesla, as announced, will accept neither collective bargaining nor works councils in its German plants.

But even if German companies can catch up with the switch to electric, it will cost numerous jobs; combustion engines were much harder to manufacture than electric cars. More than four hundred thousand jobs are at risk by 2030, according to a report for the German government by the National Platform for the Future of Mobility.

Yet this isn’t the only challenge facing German industry. IT is becoming an increasingly important part of passenger cars — a field in which German industry is comparatively weak. The big American tech firms are trying to capture ever greater shares of the value creation in car production.

Google, for example, launched the “Open Automotive Alliance,” which includes numerous car manufacturers that agree to use Android OS in their vehicles. Apple also offers its own car-tailed OS, while BMW is investing enormous resources to develop its own system. Moreover, Google, Apple, and Amazon are working energetically on the technology for self-driving cars. As early as 2018, the Federation of German Industries warned that German car companies could be “demoted to mere hardware suppliers.”

Will the Industry Be Digitalized Away?
Such an increase in productivity can mean only one thing: even more workers will lose their jobs. In a 2017 study, MHP and Reutlingen University researchers calculated that nearly half of German automotive industry employees perform a job with a 70 to 100 percent possibility of being automated by 2030.

These are very high figures, and doubtful whether they will be entirely borne out. But it is widely thought that we are on the verge of a new wave of automation that will jeopardize a large share of jobs in the wider sector.

In his Automation and the Future of Work, economic historian Aaron Benanav refers to this debate as “automation discourse.” Benanav portrays convergence around the notion that automation will soon advance enough that entire sectors will manage almost entirely without workers. For some, this is a dystopian prospect, a looming age of “techno-feudalism.” For others, this development could pave the way toward an unconditional basic income, or even a “fully automated luxury communism.”

It is widely thought that we are on the verge of a new wave of automation that will jeopardize a large share of jobs in the wider sector.

Benanav argues that these forecasts are exaggerated. The purported enormous productivity rise through automation is not taking place — in fact, in manufacturing it is growing more slowly than in the postwar period. In Germany, it rose by 6.3 percent annually in the 1950s and ’60s; between 2000 and 2017 it was only 2.4 percent, despite the introduction of industrial robots and digitalization.

Nevertheless, the trend toward deindustrialization can’t be denied. In the richest countries, this trend began in the late 1960s — and many emerging economies have also experienced “premature deindustrialization” in recent decades, according to Benanav. In Germany, the share of employment in manufacturing has not declined as rapidly as in the United States or the UK, but here, too, it has fallen from 29 percent in 1970 to 17 percent today.

This partly owes to the subsiding of the historically unique postwar boom, and partly to the fact that Japan and Germany has fully rebuilt from wartime damage and are now starting to flood the world market with their industrial products.

Since then, manufacturing has struggled with structural overcapacities. In the 1950s and ’60s, global industrial production grew at an average annual rate of 7.1 percent, but this fell to 4.8 percent in the 1970s and was as low as 3 percent between 1980 and 2007.

Class Warfare From Above
This stagnation has characterized developed economies for decades. The secure manufacturing jobs of the postwar era have gone away in favor of mostly poorly remunerated and precarious service sector jobs. One exception has been China — and, to some extent, Germany. It long maintained a relatively high level of industrial employment, primarily through an aggressive export strategy, through which Germany secured an ever larger share of the slower-growing market for industrial goods.

Since the financial crisis at the latest, Germany has also been said to have “exported” its unemployment: Through “wage restraint,” cuts in social security spending, a powerful industrial sector, and a relatively undervalued euro, it has outmaneuvered the rest of the world — and especially the European periphery.

As a result of its strategy to depress consumption among its citizens, Germany tends to import less from other countries and export all the more, leading to enormous trade surpluses.

This strategy is based on depressing consumption — and thus the living standards of the German masses. As a result, Germany tends to import less from other countries and export all the more, leading to enormous trade surpluses. Time and again, Germany has been called upon to consume more in order to reduce the imbalance — Trump probably did so most vehemently, but Obama called for the same thing, and in 2017 Emmanuel Macron termed Germany’s trade surpluses “unsustainable.”

Nevertheless, Germany continues to cling to this arrangement, because it is extremely profitable for its major export-oriented corporations. The price is also paid by the German workforce, as Michael Pettis and Matthew Klein describe in their Trade Wars are Class Wars. Germany’s success, they write, is based on “its relentless focus on the competitiveness of its [exporting] industries … massively shifting the balance between workers and capital owners.”

The automotive industry is a key aspect of the German export strategy. In 2018, 75 percent of cars manufactured in Germany were sold abroad. That same year, the auto industry accounted for 18 percent of all German exports. With the global demand for passenger cars stagnating, there is only one way to keep employment numbers stable: to steal a march on international competitors. As a BMW chairman once said, “There are too many cars in the world, but too few BMWs.”

To beat the competition, the German auto industry has resorted to the usual tactics. For one thing, working conditions were worsened and personnel costs cut. It is true that the German car industry probably still boasts the best industrial jobs in the world, but only for the core workforce.

Increasingly, it relies on precarious and temporary workers, too. As Oliver Nachtwey describes in Germany’s Hidden Crisis, subcontracted workers sometimes work shoulder to shoulder with their full-time and still-protected colleagues. When jobs are cut, they are the first to lose out.

The German car industry probably still boasts the best industrial jobs in the world, but only for the core workforce, as it increasingly relies on precarious and temporary workers.

To reduce labor costs, entire components of the production process have been relocated abroad, especially in Eastern Europe. Components are produced under much harsher working conditions in countries like Hungary, before being sent for final assembly in German factories.

Despite its nationalist rhetoric, Viktor Orbán’s government caters to German capital’s every wish. A 2019 law to extend working hours has been called a “slave law,” “Lex Audi” and “Lex BMW” by Hungarians.

The third step toward increasing its competitiveness is the current digitalization of the work process. This is nothing new in the history of capitalism — and machines that increase productivity ought to be a welcome development, saving pointless toil. Yet in the hands of the bosses, they become an instrument that condemns workers to superfluity or relegates them to mere appendages of complex machinery.

German Capital’s Struggle for Supremacy
All these measures aim to secure German corporations’ relative superiority. This is also a fierce competition between production sites, with the leading industrial nations struggling to remain on top. According to researcher and trade unionist Peter Schadt, the United States “is focusing above all on autonomous driving and, by law, is allowing its capital the most test kilometers for the new technology,” while also creating uniform standards for the digitalized industry through the Industrial Internet Consortium.

The United States’ primary rival in this regard is China, whose rise it is seeking to stymie through trade policy. China is striving to be on par with the US by 2035. To this end, the Chinese state is investing enormous sums in R&D and digital infrastructure. In the automotive industry, China is focusing on electric – partly for environmental reasons, and partly because Chinese officials believe it can become a world leader in electromobility more quickly.

The United States ‘is focusing above all on autonomous driving,’ while also creating uniform standards for the digitalized industry through the Industrial Internet Consortium.

The German state, too, is doing everything possible to equip its domestic industry for global competition. While it is still doing well in traditional production, the centrality of IT competencies will only increase over the course of digitalization — and other countries are well ahead of the Germans in these areas. For this reason, Berlin is promoting digitalization under the slogan “Industry 4.0.” Angela Merkel warned that it must be mastered quickly, as “otherwise those who are leading in the digital field will take industrial production away from us.”

The auto industry is also being supported in the switch to electric, through purchase premiums for consumers and the publicly funded expansion of battery-charging infrastructure. One major problem is the production of batteries, where Asian competitors dominate the market.

To catch up, Germany is cooperating with other countries in the EU-initiated “Battery Alliance,” in which private firms are joining forces under government guidance to form huge, massively subsidized industrial consortia. In parallel, the EU launched a raw materials alliance last October, involving hundreds of European companies.

The state is likewise giving German firms a helping hand by ensuring that their continued favorable access to international markets, especially the crucial and growing Chinese market. A study by the Center for Automotive Research shows that VW, Daimler, and BMW sold 14.16 million cars last year; of these, 5.6 million went to China. Commenting on the results of the study, the center’s head said that “the Chinese share of German carmakers’ sales has never been so high — and it will continue to rise.”

But China is a double-edged sword: it is not simply a low-wage staging location like Hungary. The Chinese state is scrupulous in ensuring that Western companies that produce there also contribute to strengthening Chinese industry, for example, by obliging them to enter into joint ventures with Chinese companies.

Thus, while the West has earned handsomely from China in recent decades, it has also strengthened tomorrow’s competitor. The United States has now adopted a confrontational course and tends to rely on “decoupling” to exert pressure on China. The EU, however, finalized a comprehensive investment agreement with China at the end of last year — with Germany a primary driving force in securing the deal.

Even the Best Arguments Can’t Trump Capital
The German auto industry’s business model continues to be predicated on expansion — with the active support of the state. Clearly, this is not compatible with effectively combating climate change, even if there is a rapid switch to electric.

This is a discouraging realization at first. Many in the climate movement focus on the “ignorance” of conservatives — and try to persuade the public and policymakers of the urgency of responding to climate change. While surely important, this does little to challenge the huge business interests behind German auto and other comparable sectors. Growing awareness of the problem is only half the battle.

While surely it’s important to try to persuade the public and policymakers of the urgency of responding to climate change, this does little to challenge the huge business interests behind German auto and other comparable sectors.

There are certainly many in Germany — including SPD and Green voters — who do not want more precarious working conditions in the industry, who would like to address climate change forcefully, and who are skeptical of the German state’s efforts at defending the global position of German manufacturing. But as things stand, there is not the slightest prospect of this changing, or of the auto industry’s own crisis being resolved in a better, progressive way.

Germany’s industrial leadership is essential, both for German prosperity and for many Germans’ patriotic self-image. The success of the automotive sector and export industry as a whole benefits not only its shareholders, but indirectly, almost every wealthy person in Germany. That is why there is a political consensus, even in the Green Party, that German corporations’ success must not be jeopardized. And that means regulatory measures that could seriously threaten car companies’ profits are a priori off the table.

Moreover, the new spirit of capitalism is decidedly green. The conversion to a climate-friendly economy is certainly not being pursued fast enough to avert climate catastrophe. But it would be delusional to think that the German state isn’t interested in ecological transformation.

In an op-ed last year even Wolfgang Schäuble pleaded for a “Green Deal” in Europe. For the business-daily Handelsblatt, he wrote, “Climate technologies could turn into big business for big business.” Particularly in the likely case of a Christian-Democrat/Green coalition government, there are signs of a modernization of German capitalism under the banner of climate protection.

There Is No Real Climate Protection Under Capitalism
Unless we want to be cheerleaders of this process, we must seriously confront the capitalist interests currently driving it. For there can be no adequate solution to climate change as long as capitalist competition makes it impossible to limit production. It is simplistic to believe that the dark side of the German automotive sector is entirely a result of the attitudes of conservative car chauvinists, and would be overcome if enlightened Greens were given a turn behind the wheel. Change will take more than good intentions.

A Green New Deal in favor of the working class would require preconditions that are not even close to existing today. It will be particularly difficult to win the support of workforces in the industrial sectors affected.
Production must be radically reoriented and reduced. Die Linke cochairman Bernd Riexinger called for a Green New Deal that also envisages a “turning away from the ‘car society.’” Yet setting out such a program isn’t the hard part. The over one million workers employed in the auto industry have an understandable interest in seeing their companies remain profitable, in order to retain their jobs.

This explains why some unions are skeptical about ambitious climate measures. IG Metall, the German metalworkers’ union, has joined forces with environmental associations to advocate for a “climate and mobility turnaround.” But demands “for a radical dismantling of the automotive industry, a ban on certain types of vehicles or a general renunciation of consumption” are rejected outright, even by well-meaning trade unionists, because the concrete “focus on work, employment and production” are lacking.

Climate activist Tadzio Müller wrote last year that the “anti-car” movement is, on the one hand, a global struggle for justice, and on the other, evokes “the fierce resistance of precisely those actors who, in the history of the social left … have usually been associated with advances in the struggle for justice: the major trade unions.” To take a recent example, during the pandemic, IG Metall vehemently pressed for a new cash for clunkers scheme, which was supposed to boost car sales by encouraging consumers to ditch their cars for brand-new ones — a reckless move, from an ecological point of view.

The reason is not that industrial workers are against environmental protection per se. But so long as capitalist competition decides where production take place, unions are interested in seeing German industry prevail. Thus, the unions’ skeptical attitude toward tough environmental regulations is, in a narrow sense, rational.

The situation is similar with automation. Jobs may be lost, but workers’ representatives cannot fully reject the measures associated with it either, as jobs can only be preserved if a company’s operations can hold their own in the face of global competition.

If the Left demands only the weakening of the German export industry, it is unlikely to find a hearing among industrial workers. In fact, the crisis in the auto sector could represent an opportunity for right-wing extremists. The right wing of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), centered around Björn Höcke, propagates a “solidaristic patriotism” by which it tries to appeal to industrial workers.

In 2018, Höcke tried to appear at a labor protest at an Opel plant and declared that Germany “finally needs the restoration of a patriotic economic policy.” Workers threw him off the premises — and attempts to establish AfD-affiliated works councils in the auto industry have failed miserably so far. But if the crisis worsens and the costs are entirely passed on to the sector’s employees, it could provide the right with new momentum — scapegoating “green” policies, even if the real causes of crisis lie elsewhere.

The contradiction between the demands of the environmental crisis and employment and economic security for the industrial working class and the distribution of its social harms cannot simply be wished away; it arises from the capitalist economic order, in which people are dependent on the success of their own companies and nations in order to continue to be able to reliably sell their labor-power. A way out of this contradiction is promised by a “Green New Deal with job guarantees,” because it “does not play off the concerns of working people and their unions against those of the environment.”

But there’s no room for illusions: a Green New Deal in favor of the working class would require preconditions that are not even close to existing today. It will be particularly difficult to win the support of workforces in the industrial sectors affected. The utopian horizon is missing: barely anyone today believes that capitalism can be changed for the better, let alone be overcome. One can hardly blame industrial workers for not believing in the Green New Deal’s social promise, but instead focusing on the risks.

No point of view in Germany is as uncontroversial and firmly anchored in all political camps as the conviction that the country must remain a leading industrial power at all costs.
Even if there were broad support for a Green New Deal in Germany, one would have to ask whether reconciling ecological concerns and full employment is possible under capitalist conditions. Fierce competition in which no technological possibilities are allowed to go unused is an inseparable part of capitalism — and those who put limits on themselves risk falling behind. As long as these basic conditions do not change, an ecological transformation of German manufacturing would weaken it in international competition.

For workers, an exit from the global capitalist rat race would be a boon, as it would allow us to switch a gentler, more tolerable mode of production. But at present there is nothing to suggest that Germans are ready to take such a course. No point of view in Germany is as uncontroversial and firmly anchored in all political camps as the conviction that the country must remain a leading industrial power at all costs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johannes Simon writes for a number of German-language outlets and is coauthor, together with Paul Simon, of Eine Welt voller Wut: Donald Trump und das Ende der US-Hegemonie (konkret texte, 2020).

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Virgilio Urbina Lazardi is a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Department of Sociology, where he studies industrial relations and political economy.

SOURCE: JACOBIN
 
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Crissa

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Assuming that the jobs are lost without replacement is... do they really think they could 'keep' the jobs of something more inefficient? That the world isn't burning down?

The only thing that will save jobs is to put work to more productive goals. Germany has dealt with it before.

This is ridiculous, saying that jobs will be lost without considering where the money saved will be spent instead.

-Crissa
 

firsttruck

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What about all the tobacco workers who lost jobs because we reduced the number of smokers? What about the jobs of medical workers? Should we stop trying to prevent unhealthy practices because then some tobacco workers & medical workers will lose jobs? Should these jobs be more important than the medical & health injury to the people who smoke & people (including children) who inhale other people's smoke.

Are ICE auto workers jobs more important than medical & health injury to the people. What about the loss of jobs by medical workers because fewer people (including children who have no say in the matter) will be sicken or die from pollution. There are a lot of ICE car owners & drivers in the world but they are not even close to being the majority of people in the world. Air pollution crosses city, state, country lines/borders. Air pollution has negative effects on food production.

Up to 20 years ago, ICE transportation was the only technology available and using ICE had enough advantages to offset the problems caused by ICE. In the U.S. though we should have been using mass transit more.

But since 1999 with NiMh (nickel metal hydride) battery tech, was the first time battery technology would make BEVs possible on a large scale.

Since 1999, ICE is not the only way to have a private vehicle or mass transportation systems.

The mass movement to BEVs should have started in 1999.

BEVs are always going to be simpler to build & simpler to maintain.
Jobs in ICE car manufacturing & repair WILL be lost. Jobs in medical fields will be lost.
We will need to find jobs for these people.

But it is ridiculous to want to slow down electrification of transportation because of these lost jobs when people are being injured & dying everyday from ICE pollution.
 

ajdelange

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OK my attention span is too short for all that but while it is clear that fewer workers will be installing valve lifters in the future more will be installing transistors. Was this accounted for in these studies?
 

Akgolf

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Like every other industry that was disrupted, some people will need to learn new skills.
 

crimsonaudio

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Assuming that the jobs are lost without replacement is... do they really think they could 'keep' the jobs of something more inefficient? That the world isn't burning down?

The only thing that will save jobs is to put work to more productive goals. Germany has dealt with it before.

This is ridiculous, saying that jobs will be lost without considering where the money saved will be spent instead.

-Crissa
Somehow, despite all the innovation and efficiency that companies have added throughout the last couple of centuries (since the industrial revolution) there are still plenty of jobs.

Workers have to be malleable and learn new skills if they work in an industry where they are displaced by more efficient means.
 

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Buggy whip manufacturers lost jobs, too.
60 or so years ago there was a magazine whose name escapes me. It had a cartoon every month titled "through history with J. Wellsley Smith". The recurring character appeared at different historical periods and always managed to put his foot in his mouth in some way. The one I remember the best shows him making presentation to the management of the Acme Barrel Company. His chart shows a steep rise in future demand and the caption is "Just look at the future! In 2020, for crackers alone...........
 

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------------------------------

Burning fossil fuels was responsible for about 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018.

The number that have degraded lives from asthma, other respiratory diseases, lung damage, heart damage is many times higher than the deaths.

So yes, some percent of auto works will need to be trained in other jobs but there will still be many auto workers making EVs. There are coal miners that also need to be re-trained.

There really is no choice when the health of so many people around the world are being degraded by continued extraction, refining & burning of fossil fuels.

Most auto plants are located in just a few cities & few countries and then exported all over the world. It is estimated that there are 1.7 million auto workers in the world. There are 7.8 billion people in the world & most people in the world do not drive or own a private car/truck. So high paying auto jobs are enjoyed by a few but billions of people are affected by the pollution from fossil fuel burning cars/trucks/buses.

Another huge source of air & water pollution is oil drilling, extraction, pumping, refining. And again huge number of people not involved in those jobs suffer from the air & water pollution.

One of the persistent criticisms of EVs is use of cobalt in batteries. However more cobalt is used in oil refining than used by EV battery makers. The news media never notes that inconvenient fact.

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2021 report: Scientists have known for years about the deadly impacts of fossil fuel combustion, but a new peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research puts the global death toll at more than twice that of previous estimates. According to the research, exposure to fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, from burning fossil fuels was responsible for about 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018. That’s roughly the same number of people living in New York City or London. Or, to put this health crisis into further perspective, fossil fuel pollution is not only fueling the climate crisis but it also kills more people each year than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.


Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Results from GEOS-Chem
Author links open overlay panelKarnVohraa
AlinaVodonosbJoelSchwartzbEloise A.Maraisc1Melissa P.SulpriziodLoretta J.Mickleyd
Received 29 July 2019, Revised 12 January 2021, Accepted 14 January 2021, Available online 9 February 2021.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935121000487

Highlights
• Fossil fuel combustion emits particulate matter (PM2.5) harmful to public health.
• We use a re-evaluated concentration-response function (CRF).
• We estimate 10.2 million global excess deaths in 2012 due to PM2.5 from this source.
• 62% of deaths are in China (3.9 million) and India (2.5 million).
• Our estimate is more than double the GBD reports, due to the updated CRF we use.

Abstract
The burning of fossil fuels – especially coal, petrol, and diesel – is a major source of airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and a key contributor to the global burden of mortality and disease. Previous risk assessments have examined the health response to total PM2.5, not just PM2.5 from fossil fuel combustion, and have used a concentration-response function with limited support from the literature and data at both high and low concentrations. This assessment examines mortality associated with PM2.5 from only fossil fuel combustion, making use of a recent meta-analysis of newer studies with a wider range of exposure. We also estimated mortality due to lower respiratory infections (LRI) among children under the age of five in the Americas and Europe, regions for which we have reliable data on the relative risk of this health outcome from PM2.5 exposure. We used the chemical transport model GEOS-Chem to estimate global exposure levels to fossil-fuel related PM2.5 in 2012. Relative risks of mortality were modeled using functions that link long-term exposure to PM2.5 and mortality, incorporating nonlinearity in the concentration response. We estimate a global total of 10.2 (95% CI: −47.1 to 17.0) million premature deaths annually attributable to the fossil-fuel component of PM2.5. The greatest mortality impact is estimated over regions with substantial fossil fuel related PM2.5, notably China (3.9 million), India (2.5 million) and parts of eastern US, Europe and Southeast Asia. The estimate for China predates substantial decline in fossil fuel emissions and decreases to 2.4 million premature deaths due to 43.7% reduction in fossil fuel PM2.5 from 2012 to 2018 bringing the global total to 8.7 (95% CI: −1.8 to 14.0) million premature deaths. We also estimated excess annual deaths due to LRI in children (0–4 years old) of 876 in North America, 747 in South America, and 605 in Europe. This study demonstrates that the fossil fuel component of PM2.5 contributes a large mortality burden. The steeper concentration-response function slope at lower concentrations leads to larger estimates than previously found in Europe and North America, and the slower drop-off in slope at higher concentrations results in larger estimates in Asia. Fossil fuel combustion can be more readily controlled than other sources and precursors of PM2.5 such as dust or wildfire smoke, so this is a clear message to policymakers and stakeholders to further incentivize a shift to clean sources of energy.


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2018 report: Indoor and outdoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated 7 million deaths a year

Climate change, air pollution and noncommunicable diseases
Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum a & Annette Prüss-Ustün a
a. Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization, avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.
Correspondence to Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum (email: [email protected]).
(Submitted: 12 October 2018 – Revised version received: 8 November 2018 – Accepted: 20 November 2018 – Published online: 19 December 2018.)
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2019
https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/97/2/18-224295/en/


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Crissa

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There is something different about autonomy vs prior automation. That will put people out of work without replacement.

But EVs are not that technology. The money saved in fewer parts and service shows up directly at the consumer end.

Not to mention the increased jobs for batteries and recycling.

-Crissa
 

CyberGus

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...fewer workers will be installing valve lifters in the future more will be installing transistors
Umm, I don't think it works that way? No one "installs a transistor" lol

I get your point, that the jobs will just shift from the old industry to the new. But EVs require vastly fewer parts and are virtually maintenance-free. Workers will still be needed obviously, but far fewer.
 

CyberGus

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I don't think anyone is suggesting "OH NOES, WE MUST STOP TEH EVEES" to save jobs. I laud this idea of anticipating the downturn instead of getting to 2030 and going "oh hi, where'd all these jobless people come from"
 

firsttruck

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I don't think anyone is suggesting "OH NOES, WE MUST STOP TEH EVEES" to save jobs. I laud this idea of anticipating the downturn instead of getting to 2030 and going "oh hi, where'd all these jobless people come from"
Nobody here is suggesting stop EVs but there are definitely those trying to stop EVs. They have been very effective since 1999 (GM, Exxon, Saudis, car dealer associations, etc).
 

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