Green job

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Green jobs or green-collared jobs are, 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." The environmental sector has the dual benefit of mitigating environmental challenges as well as helping economic growth.

Green jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are classified as, "jobs in business that produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources"[1] or "jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources".[2] The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes Green Jobs into the following: Water conservation, Sustainable forestry, Biofuels, Geothermal energy, environmental remediation, Sustainability, Energy auditors, Recycling, Electric Vehicles, Solar power, and Wind energy.[3]

These definitions include jobs which seek to use or develop renewable forms of energy (i.e. wind, hydropower, geothermal, wind, landfill gas and municipal solid waste) as well as increase their efficiency. Under the green jobs domain education, training, and public awareness are also included. These jobs seek to enforce regulations, support education, and increase public influence for the benefit of the environment.

By country[edit]

Eco-innovation drives the creation of environmental jobs worldwide.[4] Innovation simultaneously increases labor productivity and wages while increasing energy and environmental production efficiency.[4]


According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016, Brazil has 934,000 renewable energy jobs, making it the second highest in the world. Brazil is the global leader in liquid biofuels with a total of 845,000 jobs produced. Brazil has 41,000 jobs in solar, 36,000 jobs in wind, and 12,000 jobs in small hydro power.[5] In 2011, green employment accounted for 3.1 million jobs or 2.4% of total employment in 2010 and 3.4 million jobs or 2.6% of total US employment[6]


The Thought Leadership Series by the Copenhagen Climate Council published a report in 2009, stating that Japanese solar PV manufacturers represent 26% of the global market and that the solar industry is able to operate without dependence on subsidies.[7] According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Japanese Solar PV jobs increased by 28% in 2014.[8] In 2016, Japan was listed as the third largest employer of solar PV jobs with 377,100 workers, based on direct and indirect labor.[8] In terms of renewable energy, Japan employs 3,000 jobs in liquid biofuels, 5,000 jobs in wind power, 700 jobs in solar cooling and heating, and 2,000 jobs in geothermal energy.[8]

Wind turbine service technicians are projected to continue to be the fastest growing profession in the United States between 2017 and 2024

United States[edit]

In 2010 Green Goods and Services survey found there are 3.1 million Green Goods and Services (GGS) jobs in the United States which accounts for 2.4 percent of all United States salary and wage employment.[9][10] The private sector had 2.3 million GGS jobs, and the public sector had 860,000 GGS jobs.[10] From 2010 the data indicates that green jobs are continuing to grow rapidly in the United States. The US is currently undergoing an energy revolution from coal fire power plants to renewable energy. The majority of these additions are coming from three main resources: solar (9.5 GW), natural gas (8 GW), and wind (6.8 GW).[11] Together, these three sources make up 93 percent of total additions.[11] The shift from fossil fuels to renewables will be mirrored by US employment as workers turn away from jobs like coal mining and towards green jobs.[11] This is made evident by a report published by the Bureau of Land Management published April 17, 2017 that states wind turbine service technicians are currently and projected to continue to be the fastest growing profession in the United States between 2017 and 2024 with projected growth of 108.0 percent[12]

Under Reagan Administration 1981-1989[edit]

President Reagan said,"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."[13] As governor of California, Reagan advocated on behalf of the environment; a large portion of Californian constituents were pro-environment.[14] It states in the book The Enduring Wilderness, "President Ronald Reagan signed more wilderness laws than any other president - forty-three laws designating 10.6 million acres of wilderness in thirty-one states."[15] President Reagan also set a new precedent as president by leasing over twenty million acres of national land for coal, oil, and gas development.[14]

Under Bush Administration 2001-2009[edit]

The Business Energy Investment Tac credit is a United States federal policy introduced in 2005 under the Bush administration to promote the implementation of green energy sources through a 30% federal tax return in both residential and commercial projects. Individuals and companies were able to apply to the ITC to receive credits for investments in green energy technologies including solar, fuel cell and wind energy technology[16] The ITC has been extended multiple times, most recently in 2015 through a multi-year extension that will maintain the 30% return up until 2019, afterward decreasing to 26% until 2020 and 22% until 2021. After 2021, commercial credits would reduce to 10% and 0% for residential projects. The Solar Energy Industries Association has attributed stability in the growth of solar energy industries in the U.S. to the implementation of the ITC since 2006 [17] Since the implementation of the ITC, the U.S. solar industry has experienced growth in implementation of solar technology, mainly due to the rapidly decreasing overhead costs as the solar industry was spurred to production and development through the ITC.[18] The solar industry is projected to employ over 420,000 individuals by 2020- nearly double of the 260,000 solar workers in 2016- and contribute $30 billion to the United States economy annually.[19]

Under Obama Administration 2009-2017[edit]

President Obama campaigned under the promise of creating 5 million new green jobs in the United States.[20] President Obamas plan included the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) proposed a cap and trade system which would bring in revenue that would used to invest in clean energy technology creating 5 million new jobs[21] The bill was passed through the house but never made it to the senate floor and therefore was never written into law. Secondly, due to the 2013 Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act the federal government "discontinued measuring all green jobs" which makes tracking job growth extremely difficult.[21]

Although it is unclear if President Obama met his 5 million jobs goal, there was significant growth under his administration. As of March 2016 according to a nonpartisan group, Environmental Entrepreneurs, there were 2.5 million jobs in clean energy with 77,088 jobs solely in the wind industry.[21] During this period of time employment in the solar field was also on the rise. According to the 2015 National Solar Census 2015 marked the third consecutive year in which solar growth was at 20 percent.[22]

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.[23][24]

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.

Under Trump Administration 2017 – present[edit]

President Trump signed "Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze" on January 23, 2017

On January 23, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order, "Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze", regarding a hiring freeze on government positions across the executive branch.[25] Trump placed a hold on grants distributed through the EPA that could amount to $4 billion per year. The measure was recanted days later, but Trump has proclaimed his intent to “drastically cut the EPA.” Myron Ebell, a former member of the Trump transition team, when asked about United States Environmental Protection Agency cuts in an interview with Associated Press, responded "Let's aim [to cut] for half and see how it works out, and then maybe we'll want to go further."

In the 2018 "Make America Great Again Blueprint," the Trump administration projected EPA funding cuts of 31% and discontinued funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, and climate change research and partnership programs.[26]


Flag of the United Nations which jointly launched the Green Jobs Initiative

United Nations[edit]

UNEP Green Jobs Initiative[edit]

In 2008 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the International Employers Organization (IEO) jointly launched the Green Jobs Initiative. The purpose is to bring a just transition to a green economy by providing space for workers, employers, and governments to negotiate on policy effective in providing equitable opportunity to green jobs.[27]

United States[edit]

Consolidated Appropriations Act 2010[edit]

$8 million was invested to produce and measure data on green-collar Jobs and green economic activity through the Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Federal agencies (Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Commerce, Employment and Training Administration). Methods on the approach target business that produce green goods and services and include special employer surveys, aggregate data gathering on employment and wages, and tabulations that distinguish between occupation and industry.[28]

Data collection and upkeep on Green Goods and Services (GGS) jobs has been discontinued due to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act in 2013. All "measuring green jobs" programs in the US government were eliminated by this Act.[29]

USA Green Jobs Act 2007[edit]

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." [30] The Energy Independence and Security Act passed in December 2007 incorporates the Green Jobs Act of 2007.

Pathways out of Poverty[edit]

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.[31]

MillionTrees NYC Training Program[edit]

(MTTP) provides job training opportunities specifically to low-income, job insecure 18-24 year-olds who have a high school degree or GED. In 2009, secure full-time salaries of twice the New York State minimum wage of $7.25 were provided to graduates of MTTP by a grant from the US Forest Service. Out of the 16 employed graduates that were interviewed for a study by USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, 75% were male, 25% were female, 81% were black, 19% were brown, 75% had a High School Diploma, 19% had a GED, and 6% went to some high school. Most employees with personal support who graduate from MTTP stay in their green job; not all employees have personal support networks.[32]


According to the Green Equity Toolkit by Race Forward, Green jobs are disproportionately occupied by white men.[33] Historically, the environmental movement has been white, middle- and upper-class.[34] In 1990, minorities consisted of 1.9 percent (14 out of the 745) of workers for four of the largest environmental organizations (Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, Audubon Society, and Sierra Club); out of sixty-three mainstream environmental organizations, 32 percent had no minorities staffed, 22 percent had no board members of color, 19 percent had no volunteers of color, 16 percent had no members of color.[35] According to a journal in the Ecology Law Quarterly published in 1992, white people disproportionately occupy green jobs since said jobs address environmental concerns not confronted by low-income people and people of color.[36] Environmental lawyers (who are disproportionately white, middle- and upper-class) focus on environmental issues based on aesthetics, recreation, and protecting natural lands outside of their communities; they often do not face environmental problems in their communities.[36] Low-income communities and people of color who face environmental problems, such as pollution, do not often have access or will to seek green jobs due to the immediate health hazards in their communities. Instead of green jobs, they often engage in grassroots environmental activism to prevent mortality in their communities from toxicities, such as superfund sites, landfills, incinerators and other health hazards.[36]

A report published in 2014 titled, The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations, states there has been increasing racial diversity over the past 50 years, but at a disproportionately slow rate. People of color consist of 38% of the US population and do not exceed 16% of the staff of the environmental organizations studied (191 conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies, 28 environmental grant-making foundations). Employed ethnic minorities disproportionately occupy lower-ranked positions in environmental organizations and fewer than 13% occupy leadership positions. A small number of environmental organizations have a diversity manager, diversity committee, or collaborate with low-income or ethnic organizations. Environmental organizations rarely recruit from minority-serving institutions, minority professional gatherings, and other pipelines with talented minorities. Minority interns to environmental organizations are hired less often than their white counterparts. Promotions often go to white females in environmental organizations.[37]

Green jobs and workforce education[edit]

The National Council for Workforce Education and AED published a report, Going Green: The Vital Role of Community Colleges in Building a Sustainable Future and a Green Workforce 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.

There are a lot of solar industry jobs.[38] The SEIA maintains a resource for those looking for solar jobs.[39] A 2016 study indicates that the declining coal industry could protect their workers by retraining them for the solar industry.[40] There are also some indications that the solar industry "welcomes coal workers with open arms".[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  2. ^ "The BLS Green Jobs Definition". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  3. ^ "Green Careers". Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  4. ^ a b Cecere, Grazia; Mazzanti, Massimiliano (August 2017). "Green Jobs and Eco-Innovations in European SMEs". Resource and Energy Economics. 49: 86–98. doi:10.1016/j.reseneeco.2017.03.003.
  5. ^ (Irena), International Renewable Energy Agency. Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2016. Rep. N.p.: IRENA, 2016. Print.
  6. ^ Elliott, Robert J. R.; Lindley, Joanne K. (2017-02-01). "Environmental Jobs and Growth in the United States". Ecological Economics. 132: 232–244. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.09.030.
  7. ^ "Green Jobs and the Clean Energy Economy" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b c "Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2016" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  10. ^ a b "BLS green jobs overview" (PDF).
  11. ^ a b c "2017 US ENergy and Jobs Report" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Fastest growing occupations". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  13. ^ "Redirecting..." Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  14. ^ a b "A look back at Reagan's environmental record". Grist. 2004-06-11. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  15. ^ Scott, Doug (2004-01-01). The Enduring Wilderness. Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 9781555915278.
  16. ^ Lips, Bryan. "Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Solar Industry Data". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Solar Industry Data".
  19. ^ "Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  20. ^ (Politifact), Becky Bowers. "Barack Obama 2008: "Blueprint for Change"". Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  21. ^ a b c "Updated - The Obameter: Create 5 million "green" jobs". PolitiFact. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  22. ^ "2015 NATIONAL SOLAR JOBS CENSUS" (PDF). Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  23. ^ Going Green: Safe and Healthy Jobs. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Accessed July 13, 2009.
  24. ^ Archived 2009-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze". 2017-01-23. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  26. ^ "" (PDF).
  27. ^ Bulgarelli; et al. (2009). "Future Skill Needs for the Green Economy" (PDF).
  28. ^ "The 2010 President's Budget for the Bureau of Labor Statistics : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  29. ^ "Green Goods and Services News Release". Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  30. ^ House Committee Passes Solis' Green Jobs Act, U.S. House of Representatives, June 27, 2007. Archived 21 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ U.S. Department of Labor. "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Pathways Out of Poverty Grants".
  32. ^ Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay K. (2013-01-01). "From job training to green jobs: A case study of a young adult employment program centered on environmental restoration in New York City, USA". Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 12 (3): 287–295. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2013.04.003.
  33. ^ Keleher, Terry; Yen, Yvonne (November 2009). Green Equity Toolkit. Oakland, CA: Applied Research Center.
  34. ^ Commission for Racial Justice, “Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States: A National Report on the Racial and Socio-Economic Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites,” Fifty Years of Green: An Environmental History of Middlebury College since 1965, accessed April 19, 2017,
  35. ^ Taylor, Dorceta E. (2011). Green Jobs and the Potential to Diversify the Environmental Workforce. Michigan: University of Michigan. p. 48.
  36. ^ a b c  Cole, L. Employment as the Key to Environmental Protection: The Need for Environmental Poverty Law (1992) 19 Ecology Law Quarterly 619-683.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Platzer, M.D., 2012. US solar photovoltaic manufacturing: Industry trends, global competition, federal support. Washington, DC: Congressional Research service.
  39. ^ "Industry Jobs".
  40. ^ 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
  41. ^ Solar Industry Welcomes Coal Workers With Open Arms- ‘’Huffington Post Business’’

External links[edit]