Review of Green Jobs
Policymakers and the public have increasingly been interested in the potential for employment growth in “green jobs.” To further understanding of this issue, C2ES reviewed and summarized several of the most widely discussed reports that estimate “green jobs” and their potential. In addition, C2ES compiled a bibliography of recent reports, articles, and other sources related to “green jobs.”
Read a pdf version of the review here.
Title of Document
Scope of Study and Definition of Green Jobs
Green Jobs Strategy
AUTHORS: Robert Pollin, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, James Heintz, Helen Scharber
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: Center for American Progress and Department of Economics and Economy Research Institute (PERI) University of Massachusetts- Amherst
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: United States
TIME FRAME: 2 yrs
INDUSTRY SCOPE: Six key infrastructure investment strategies targeting:
GREEN JOBS: No specific reference/definition to/of green jobs. Rather, the report projects three sources of job creation related to each infrastructure investment area and identifies 3 types of effects: direct, indirect, and induced
EXAMPLE DIRECT EFFECTS: construction and manufacturing jobs to build wind turbines or retrofit buildings
EXAMPLE INDIRECT EFFECTS: manufacturing and service jobs created in associated industries that supply intermediate goods for building retrofits or wind turbine manufacturing, such as lumber, steel, and transportation
EXAMPLE INDUCED EFFECTS: retail and wholesale jobs created when new workers in construction, manufacturing, and service industries spend their earnings on other products in the economy
$100 BILLION INVESTMENT: combining tax credits and loan guarantees for private businesses with direct public-investment spending:
- constructed synthetic “industries” by combining components of industries that are now included in the U.S. government surveys and accounts (b/c U.S.gov. surveys and accounts used to construct input-output tables do not specifically recognize wind, solar, biomass, building retrofits, or new mass transit as separate industries)
- use national and state-specific input-output models to estimate the effects on employment resulting from an increase in final demand for products of a given industry
- employment estimates based on the given amount of money spent within each industry
- $100 billion could be delivered relatively quickly by federal government to state and local governments
- Initiative could be paid for with proceeds from auctions of carbon permits under a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program
- assume that the induced employment effect of the green economic recovery program will add one-third to the overall level of job creation generated by the direct and indirect effects
- loan guarantee program based on: the government paying $4 billion in accruals on the contingent liabilities from the loan guarantee program; the default rate on these loans is 2%; the guarantee on these loans covers 75% of principal
A short term $100 billion green economic recovery would create 2 million jobs:
- Widespread employment gains: across a broad range of familiar occupations (roofers, welders, electricians, truck drivers, accountants, research scientists), strengthen career ladders by providing pathways for workers to move up from lower-paying to higher-paying green jobs that can be created on a geographically equitable basis throughout all regions of the country
- Roughly triple the number of good jobs - paying at least $16 dollars an hour - as spending the same amount of money within the oil industry
- Reduce unemployment rate to 4.4% from 5.7% (calculated within the framework of U.S. labor market conditions in July 2008)
- Bolster employment especially in construction and manufacturing (bring back the 800,000 lost jobs- construction employment has fallen from 8 million to 7.2 million jobs over the past two years due to the housing bubble collapse)
- Stabilize oil prices by reducing demand for oil which in turn could slow the long-term rise in oil prices
Daniel M. Kammen, Kamal Kapadia, Matthias Fripp (April 13, 2004; corrected 1/31/06)
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: University of California Berkeley, Energy and Resources group; Goldman School of Public Policy
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: United States
TIME FRAME: 2002-2020
GREEN JOBS- no direct definition, but refer to employment associated with each energy technology/jobs in renewable energy industry - manufacturing, construction, fuel production and processing (in agriculture for biomass energy), and operations and maintenance (O&M)
Expanding use of renewable energy (wind, geothermal, biomass, solar PV, fuel cells, solar thermal) through RPS
- Reviewed methods and conclusions of 13 independent reports and studies that analyze the economic and employment impacts of the clean energy industry in the U.S. and Europe
- Normalized the varying methodologies and assumptions used in each case, and developed a job creation model which shows their implications for employment
- Estimated the number of jobs created per average megawatt of power produced
- Compared these estimates to similar figures for fossil fuels and then total employment under 5 future scenarios
- Modeled five different electricity generation scenarios for 2020 comparing various RPS scenarios to fossil generation scenarios meeting the same electricity needs
- RPS is highly simplified, assuming that electricity production in 2020 is the same as in 2002
- Scenarios do not account for learning effects that may occur in these industries, nor for employment that may result from manufacturing energy equipment for export
- See Appendix 2 (on page 21 of the study) for a more detailed discussion of assumptions and sources used in this modeling exercise
- There were two basic types of energy studies used to develop methods and assumptions: input/output models and analytical models (I/O models usually measure indirect jobs created as a result of the clean energy industry while analytical models focus only on direct impacts)
- Across a broad range of scenarios, the RE sector generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the FF-based energy sector (every technology in the renewable industry generates more jobs in the construction, manufacturing and installation sectors compared to corresponding FF scenarios)
- Total employment in RPS scenarios ranges from approximately 163,700-188,000 jobs; employment figures for fossil fuel generation scenarios are 84,000-86,400 jobs.
- There is not such a clear distinction between FF and renewable technology in the number of jobs created in O&M and fuel processing. Reliable, low-maintenance wind turbines are estimated to require fewer jobs to operate than are needed to fuel and operate coal and gas plants. However, more jobs are created in O&M of PV systems than in the O&M and fuel processing for coal and gas plants, while biomass plants may create more or fewer jobs in O&M and fuel processing than do coal or gas plants, depending on they way biomass collection is organized (See Table 2)
- Supporting the renewable energy industry will benefit sectors of the economy and states that currently suffer from high unemployment (jobs are likely to shift from mining and related services to manufacturing, construction and agriculture [if biomass energy forms a large part of the renewables mix])
- Net gain/loss in jobs by 2020: overall for all sectors of the economy = +1,314,000; coal mining = -23,900; oil and gas mining = -61,400; oil refining = -6,300; electric utilities = -35,100; natural gas utilities = -26,200. These losses can be adequately alleviated through a number of policy actions and programs needed to retool and retrain those who stand to lose their jobs in the FF industry
AUTHOR: Global Insight
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION; United States Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Center
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: U.S.
TIME FRAME: 30 years (2008-2038)
GREEN JOBS: “any activity that generates electricity using renewables or nuclear fuels, agriculture jobs supplying corn or soy for transportation fuel, manufacturing jobs producing goods used in renewable power generation, equipment dealers and wholesalers specializing in renewable energy or energy-efficiency products, construction and installation of energy and pollution management systems, government administration of environmental programs, and supporting jobs in the engineering, legal, research and consulting fields.” (p. 5)
40% RPS (similar in nature to previous federal proposals, but with higher standards and time frame), energy savings target of 35% by 2038, and renewable fuels mandate (30% of gasoline and diesel demand for passenger cars and light trucks to be replaced by alternative fuels).
- Created three separate categories (renewable power generation, retrofitting/weatherizing residential and commercial building, and renewable transportation)
- Projected indirect jobs in the support categories (engineering, legal, research, consulting); 2:1 of direct versus indirect jobs
- Combined the results of direct and indirect jobs
- Overall U.S. level forecast then distributed to metropolitan areas according to existing shares of Green Jobs, based on current inventory
- Shows the growth of new Green Jobs that would occur in metro areas if the current distribution were to remain proportionally unchanged
1) Renewable Power Generation: scenario construction similar in nature to federal legislation proposed in 2007 and 2008, but with higher RPS and longer timeframe; net generation growth of 30% over 2008 levels; assume 40% electricity generation from alternative sources by 2020 and a distribution among resources within renewable generation
2) Residential and Commercial Retrofitting: reduction in energy consumption of 35% distributed in identical increments each year for 30 yrs (approximately 1.2%/year)
3) Renewable Transportation Fuels: forecast based on the expectation that the private market and legislators will continue to push the U.S. transportation sector toward higher usage of non-petro fuels; assume ethanol and biodiesel increase their contribution to transportation fuels to 30%. Includes consideration of federal requirement of 36 billion gallons by 2022.
- Current national count (as of 2006) of 751,000 jobs amounts to less than 0.5% of total current jobs
Total of 4.2 million is derived from combining the following:
1) Renewable Power Generation- 1.2 million jobs
3) Alternative Transportation Fuels – 1.5 million; assumes fast growth in early forecast period to reach federal mandate and slower growth thereafter; associated growth in engineering, legal, research and consulting positions
AUTHORS: Roger H. Bezdek (Management Information Services, Inc.)
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: American Solar Energy Society
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: United States with in-depth analysis of Colorado
TIME FRAME: 2006 to 2030
INDUSTRY SCOPE: The study assesses the direct job creation in renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) industries as well as the indirect job creation in all other sectors of the economy.
GREEN JOBS: Direct job creation estimates include employees working in one of the major RE technologies (e.g. wind and solar power) and employees working in industries that are entirely in the EE sector as well as a fraction of employees working in industries partially involved in EE.
EXAMPLE DIRECT EFFECTS: Direct job creation in the RE industry includes employees working the wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, fuel cell, and hydrogen technology industries. Direct job creation in the EE sector includes employees working for industries that fall entirely in energy efficiency such recycling / reuse / remanufacturing as well as a portion of workers in industries that are partially in the energy efficiency sector, such as household appliances, HVAC systems, vehicle production, and construction.
EXAMPLE INDIRECT EFFECTS: This study includes indirect jobs created by the RE and EE such as restaurant staff or dry cleaners employed due to demand from directly created “green jobs.”
- Study assesses the job creation impacts of moderate and aggressive policies to promote RE and EE. Policy options to promote these sectors include:
Study defined three scenarios for future growth of RE and EE:
- Study concedes that while the RE industry is fairly well defined, the EE industry is much more nebulous and difficult to define.
- Author estimated fractions of certain industries (e.g. automobile manufacturing, construction) that should be assigned to the EE sector.
- Job creation estimates include both private sector jobs as well as relevant jobs in the public and non-profit sectors.
- Differ for each scenario; see scenario descriptions under “methodology”
- The vast majority of the jobs created by RE and EE are standard jobs for accountants, engineers, computer analysts, clerks, factory workers, truck drivers, mechanics, etc., and many of the persons employed in these jobs may not even realize that they owe their livelihood to RE and EE.
- In 2007, RE was estimated to be responsible for roughly 500,000 jobs (slightly more than half of those jobs are indirect jobs). Over 70 percent of the jobs were in the biomass sector (mainly ethanol and biomass power).
- Excluding hydropower and biomass (the largest and most mature segments), the renewable energy sector grew by 15 percent from 2006 to 2007 (more than seven times as fast as the overall U.S. economy).
- In 2007, the EE industry was responsible for roughly 8.5 million jobs with about 3.7 million of those being direct jobs. Over 36 percent of the jobs were in the recycling / reuse / remanufacturing industry.
- The study estimated the total jobs in 2030 related to the RE and EE sectors under three scenarios:
- The study estimated that an aggressive promotion of RE and EE could lead to nearly six times as many jobs in 2030 as the “business-as-usual” scenario.
The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses, and Investments Across America (June 2009)
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: United States
INDUSTRY SCOPE: Clean energy, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly production, conservation and pollution mitigation, training and support.
GREEN JOBS: “A clean energy economy generates jobs, businesses and investments while expanding clean energy production, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution, and conserving water and other natural resources.”
Develop an inventory of existing businesses and jobs in the U.S. clean energy economy, using a strict definition of a green job and examining only the supply side of the clean energy economy (not including companies on the “demand side” using green products and services).
- Developed a definition of clean energy economy, including five broad categories covering 16 economic sectors
- Counted jobs, companies, patent registrations, and venture capital investments in U.S. clean energy economy (as defined) and broke down measurements of each on a state-by-state basis
- Identified companies receiving clean technology venture capital, then used the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) to identify similar and related companies. This approach allowed researchers to capture different sets of activities that result in similar products and services. The time frame for analysis was from 1998-2007.
- Collaborative Economics Inc. created a new database to track business in clean energy economy, and working with NETS, found clean energy companies across nation. Validity of data was manually checked by analysts to make sure companies were still active and operating according to Pew’s definition.
- Analysis is conservative because it counts fairly narrowly defined jobs and businesses rather than entire occupations (e.g., all mass transit workers) and focuses only on the suppliers and producers in a clean energy economy, not jobs associated with the use of those products and services
- Does not include jobs associated with nuclear energy, corn-based ethanol
- Includes water and other resource management workers
- In 2007, there were approximately 770,385 clean energy jobs, across 68,203 businesses. Between 1998 and 2007, clean energy jobs grew by 9.1 percent, compared to overall jobs growth of 3.7 percent.
- Clean energy jobs and businesses exist in every state
- Venture capital investment in clean technology was over $1 billion in 2005, and VC investment totaled about $12.6 billion over the last three years (2006-2008). In 2008, clean energy venture capital investments accounted for 15 percent of global venture capital investment (up from 9 percent in 2007).
- Annual incomes of clean energy economy workers range from $21,000-$111,000
- Of five industry categories examined, conservation and pollution mitigation accounts for 65 percent of today’s clean energy economy. Three other categories (clean energy, energy efficiency, and environmentally friendly production) are growing at a faster pace, with jobs in environmentally friendly production having grown 67 percent between 1998 and 2007.
- From 1999-2008, 8,384 clean energy technology patents were filed in the U.S.
AUTHORS: Rachel Gold, Laura Furrey, Steven Nadel, John “Skip” Laitner, and R. Neal Elliot
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
- Study provides an assessment of the energy savings, net consumer savings, net jobs created, and CO2 reductions that would be achieved by the energy efficiency provisions included in the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009, as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It then suggests certain changes to these energy efficiency provisions, and estimates the additional benefits these changes might yield.
GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE: United States (both national and state level)
- No formal definition of “green job” provided; however, much of the net job creation calculated by the analysis occurs as a result of utility investment in efficiency measures as well as investments in building retrofits and transportation efficiency.
- Modify certain energy efficiency provisions in the ACES Act to create additional jobs and achieve greater energy savings and other benefits. These revisions include the following:
- Used a modeling tool to assess energy savings, net consumer costs, and emissions savings relative to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2009 Annual Energy Outlook. These measures were modeled for each individual provision at a national level in 2020 and 2030.
- The model aggregated the impacts from the bill’s energy efficiency provisions to estimate economic savings and jobs numbers for the bill overall, using a four-sector algorithm
- Following calculation of national-level energy savings and jobs created through the bill, net consumer jobs and savings were estimated for each state using state-specific energy price and consumption data.
- Aggregate job creation estimates were calculated using an input-output framework, taking account of negative job impacts due to decreased revenues for affected sectors, as well as future labor productivity gains.
- Proposed stand-alone EERS would be exclusive of building codes and appliance standards, and would also not include interstate trading of energy efficiency savings.
- One billion dollars of the additional funding provided for SEED funds would go towards transportation planning, and the remainder would fund building retrofits.
- Algorithm used in modeling analyzes some electricity sector impacts, but does not adjust energy prices based upon reduced consumption achieved through energy efficiency
- Due to nature of analysis, results may overstate savings in states already promoting energy efficiency and understate savings in states that have not (modeling algorithm does not account for state policies outside of existing state-level EERS, such as building codes)
- Assumes that energy efficiency measures come at a levelized cost of 3 cents per kWh for electricity measures, and 30 cents per therm for natural gas measures. Also assumes such measures have a 13 year average lifespan, and that utilities pay one third of program costs while customers pay two thirds.
Detailed assumptions are available in Appendix D of the study.
- Compared to business-as-usual forecasts, in 2030, current energy efficiency provisions in the ACES Act as passed by the House of Representatives would:
- The study also concludes that strengthening the energy efficiency provisions in ACES (as detailed in the Green Jobs Strategy column) could significantly expand these benefits. The study finds that making the recommended changes to the bill would:
Other “Green Jobs” Material:
- United Nations Environment Programme, Global Green New Deal, March 2009, see http://www.unep.org/pdf/A_Global_Green_New_Deal_Policy_Brief.pdf.
- Morriss, Andrew et al.,Green Jobs Myths, 12 March 2009, University of Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE09-001, see http://ssrn.com/abstract=1358423.
- United Nations Environment Programme, Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World, September 2008, see http://www.unep.org/labour_environment/features/greenjobs-report.asp.
- Houser, Trevor et al., A Green Global Recovery? Assessing US Economic Stimulus and the Prospects for International Coordination, Peterson Institute for International Economics and World Resources Institute, February 2009, see http://www.petersoninstitute.org/publications/pb/pb09-3.pdf.
- Michaels, Robert et al., Green Jobs: Fact or Fiction?, Institute for Energy Research, January 2009, see http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/green-jobs-fact-or-fiction/.
- Gereffi, Gary et al., Manufacturing Climate Solutions: Carbon-Reducing Technologies and U.S. Jobs, Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, November 2008, see http://www.cggc.duke.edu/environment/climatesolutions/index.php.
- Center for Climate Strategies, Climate Change Policy as Economic Stimulus: Evidence and Opportunities from the States, November 2008, see http://www.climatestrategies.us/ewebeditpro/items/O25F20494.pdf.
- DWS Investments, Economic Stimulus: The Case for “Green” Infrastructure, Energy Security and “Green” Jobs, November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/cgv2v5.
- Texas Workforce Commission, Green Collar Workers and Other Mythical Creatures, August 2008, see http://www.lmci.state.tx.us/shared/PDFs/Green_Collar_Workers2.pdf.
- Roland-Holst, David, Energy Efficiency, Innovation, and Job Creation in California, October 2008, Center for Energy, Resources, and Economic Sustainability, see http://tinyurl.com/6gujnf.
News Articles / Op-Eds
- The Economist, “The Grass Is Always Greener,” 2 April 2009, available at http://tinyurl.com/c7u358.
- Revesz, Richard L. and Michael A. Livermore, “Obama's Carbon Cap-and-Trade Plan Can Boost Growth,” Business Week, 10 March 2009, see http://tinyurl.com/d69urt.
- Levi, Michael, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Why ‘Green Jobs’ May Not Save the Economy or the Environment,” Slate, 4 March 2009, see http://www.slate.com/id/2212903/.
- Roberts, David, “The Truth about Green Jobs,” Mother Jones, November/December 2008, see http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2008/11/truth-about-green-jobs.
- Zumbrun, Joshua, “Green Jobs’ False Promise,” Forbes, 12 December 2008, see http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/12/energy-green-jobs-biz-energy-cx_jz_1212greenjobs.html.
- Carey, John, “Can Obama's Stimulus Plan Spur Green Jobs in the U.S.?,” BusinessWeek, 26 November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/cwgtlj.
- Greenhouse, Steven, “Millions of Jobs of a Different Collar,” New York Times, 26 March 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/c3st6j.
- Gore, Al, “The Climate for Change,” New York Times, 9 November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/cgpn7e.
- Ball, Jeffrey, “Does Green Energy Add 5 Million Jobs? Potent Pitch, but Numbers Are Squishy,” Wall Street Journal, 7 November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/5otujo.
- The Economist, “A Green New Deal?,” 6 November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/cbtwsh.
- Goodman, Peter, “A Splash of Green for the Rust Belt,” New York Times, 1 November 2008, see http://tinyurl.com/d8wvsh.
Blog Posts and Other Sources
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Green Jobs Briefings, see http://www.eesi.org/green_jobs.
- Stossel, John, “The Fallacy of 'Green Jobs',” 10 September 2008, RealClearPolitics, see http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/09/green_jobs.html.
- U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Full Committee hearing entitled, "Green Jobs Created by Global Warming Initiatives," see http://tinyurl.com/c3jp9t.
- Zogby International, “78% Believe Investing in Clean Energy Is Vital to Boosting U.S. Economy,” 7 November 2008, see http://www.zogby.com/news/readnews.cfm?ID=1637.