A green job, also called a green-collar job is, according to the United Nations Environment Program, "work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute(s) substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution."[1]

Net jobs

A 2004 study by the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley reported that the renewable energy sector generates more jobs than the fossil fuel-based energy sector per unit of energy delivered (i.e., per average megawatt) across a broad range of scenarios.[2] Contrarily, a report by Gabriel Calzada Alvarez analyzing the impact of an eleven-year Green energy project in Spain concluded that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average for each "green job" created, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, in addition to those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.[3][4] A rebuttal to the Spanish study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) presented numerous allegations of methodological flaws in the Spanish study, citing outdated data, non-standard measures of job creation, and a lack of accompanying statistical analysis among the limitations of the study.[5]

In 2010, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) received funding to analyze data about green jobs. The goal of this initiative is to [map] "(1) the number of and trend over time in green jobs, (2) the industrial, occupational, and geographic distribution of the jobs, and (3) the wages of the workers in these jobs."[6]

In September 2010, the BLS published its final definition of green jobs in the Federal Register,[7] organizing them in 2 types: A) Jobs in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. Type A) green jobs are further divided in 5 categories. B) Jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. Type B) jobs are further divided in 4 categories.

A 2011, Canadian report by the Pembina Institute found that the Canada’s governments could create more jobs by implementing strong climate policies than by continuing with business as usual.[8]

Green Jobs and Workforce Education

The National Council for Workforce Education and AED published a report, Going Green: Going Green: The Vital Role of Community Colleges in Building a Sustainable Future and a Green Workforce Template:Dead link that examines how workforce education and community colleges contribute to the overall efforts in the move toward renewable and clean energy. The report gives examples of initiatives currently in effect nationally as well as offering information as to how to implement programs.

In response to high unemployment and a distressed economy workers need skills that are relevant to their specific geographical locations. "Instead of making green jobs we need to make jobs green" says Ken Warden, an administrator in workforce education.

A 2016 study indicates that the declining coal industry could protect their workers by retraining them for the solar industry. [9] There is also some indications that the solar industry “welcomes coal workers with open arms”.[10]

Green Jobs Initiatives

UNEP Green Jobs Initiative

In 2007 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) jointly launched the Green Jobs Initiative. The International Employers Organization (IEO) .

USA Green Jobs Act 2007

The Green Jobs Act of 2007 (H.R. 2847), introduced by Reps. Hilda Solis (D-CA) and John Tierney (D-MA), "authorized up to $125 million in funding to establish national and state job training programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, to help address job shortages that are impairing growth in green industries, such as energy efficient buildings and construction, renewable electric power, energy efficient vehicles, and biofuels development." [11] The Energy Independence and Security Act passed in December 2007 incorporates the Green Jobs Act of 2007.

Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), passed in early 2009, includes provisions for new jobs in industries such as energy, utilities, construction, and manufacturing with a focus toward energy efficiency and more environmentally-friendly practices.[12][13]

In March 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Van Jones as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Following Jones' resignation in September 2009, no further candidates appear to have been appointed to this position.

Pathways out of Poverty

Pathways out of Poverty (POP) is a national workforce training program that was established on August 14, 2009 by the Obama administration and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. POP targets individuals living below or near the poverty level to provide them with skills needed to enter the green job market, focusing on the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. The training programs focus on teaching basic literacy and job readiness skills. Some of the programs also provide supportive assistance with childcare and transportation to overcome barriers to employment.[14]

See also


  1. Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world (September 2008), United Nations Environmental Programme.
  2. Putting Renewables to Work: How Many Jobs Can the Clean Energy Industry Generate?, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), UC Berkeley, April 13, 2004 (corrected January 21, 2006) page 4 (page 2 of the PDF).
  3. Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources, Page 1 (page 7 of the PDF), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, March 2009.
  4. Furchtgott-Roth, Diana (2012). Regulating to Disaster: How Green Jobs Policies Are Damaging America's Economy. Encounter Books. p. 168. ISBN 978-1594036163. 
  5. NREL rebuttal to Spanish Study
  6. Green Jobs – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  7. US BLS: Notice of comments received and final definition of green jobs.
  8. Pembina Institute. Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs: The effects of climate policies on employment.
  9. Edward P. Louie and Joshua M. Pearce. Retraining Investment for U.S. Transition from Coal to Solar Photovoltaic Employment. Energy Economics. 57,295–302 (2016). doi:10.1016/j.eneco.2016.05.016
  10. Solar Industry Welcomes Coal Workers With Open Arms- ‘’Huffington Post Business’’
  11. House Committee Passes Solis' Green Jobs Act, U.S. House of Representatives, June 27, 2007. Archived 21 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. Going Green: Safe and Healthy Jobs. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Accessed July 13, 2009.
  14. U.S. Department of Labor. "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Pathways Out of Poverty Grants". 

External links

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