Jobs in green economy

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Growing concern about climate change and its potential effects is bringing about a “green” economic sector to provide consumers with products and services ranging from solar panels to plug-in hybrid cars to environmentally certified building materials. As we move from a fossil fuel based economy to a green economy there will be plenty of green jobs. Many people will not even need extensive training to join the green economy. Some jobs like carpenters and electricians will transition very smoothly to the green economy.

A study by economists at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst examines the types of jobs that are needed to create a clean-energy economy. The report points out six areas which can lead to job growth:

  • Building retrofitting
  • Mass transit
  • Energy-efficient automobiles
  • Wind power
  • Solar power
  • Cellulosic biofuels

Contents

Why should I be aware of this?

Going green is one economic and environmental trend that is irreversible. The green economy will provide jobs for everyone from the carpenter doing home improvement projects, to the scientist and engineers inventing and designing the systems we will use.

How does this affect me?

As the green economy is just about beginning to grow some industries are growing faster than the others. But there are plenty of green jobs and plenty more will be created as time progresses. What we have to be concerned about is how far these jobs will be suitable for us.

All about jobs in green economy

It is projected that the global market for environmental products and services will double by 2020. Half of this market is in energy efficiency, with the remainder in sustainable transport, water supply, sanitation and waste management. The greatest impact is likely to be in the areas of renewable energy, buildings and construction, transportation, basic industries, agriculture and forestry.

On the agricultural side, biomass for energy and related industries could generate large employment. As commodity prices rise the recycling and waste management sector is expected to grow rapidly in many countries.

Employment, incomes and poverty reduction

A recent report commissioned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)finds that climate change, steps to adapt to it and efforts to arrest it by reducing emissions have far-reaching implications for economic and social development, for production and consumption patterns. This would create enermous scope for employment, incomes and poverty reduction. Other findings are:

  • The renewable energy sector alone has provided jobs to 2.3 million people have in recent years and offers tremendous potential for more jobs.
  • Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of $630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.
  • In the agriculture sector, 12 million can be employed in biomass for energy and related industries.
  • Transition to energy-efficient buildings the world over would create millions of jobs.
  • Investments in improved energy efficiency in buildings could generate an additional 2-3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the US alone. The potential in the developing countries is much higher.
  • Recycling and waste management sector, which employs around 10 million people in China and 500,000 in Brazil, is expected to grow rapidly in many countries in the face of escalating commodity prices.

Energy efficient automobiles

As we move to a more energy-efficient transportation because of the rising prices of gas and diesel, there should be created plenty of green jobs in the coming years. All those interested in hydrogen, electrical, bio-fuels or some type of flex-fuel will have jobs in plenty.

Green economy transportation jobs will include: Computer Software Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Engineering Technicians, Welders, Transportation Equipment Painters, Metal Fabrication, Machine Tool Operators, Assembly, Production, and Managers.

Wind power jobs

Jobs in wind power for electricity generation in a green economy will also open up jobs in plenty over the next few years. These jobs will include those of environmental engineers, iron and steel workers, millwrights, fiberglass workers, sheet metal workers, machinist, electrical engineers, electrical equipment assemblers and installers, construction equipment operators, production workers and supervisors.

Solar power jobs

With solar power being considered as one of the best green replacements for fossil fuels, new job opportunities are being created regularly in the US.

Green economy solar power jobs include: scientist, computer engineers and technicians, electrical engineers and technicians, industrial machinery mechanics, welders, metal fabricators, machinist, construction equipment operators, installation technicians, factory machine operators.

Alternative fuel jobs

From cellulosic bio-fuels to ethanol and whatever the scientist will be coming up with, the green jobs in this field of endeavor range from scientist to mechanic. Just like the previous categories there is a green job for everyone.

90 degrees

Green technologies need the support of the technical and labor force in order to succeed. Otherwise there will be resistance to the green policies from the wok force if it means trading in old jobs that pay well for new jobs of lesser quality. Conversely, green entrepreneurs will be reluctant to forgo their profit margins if wage and regulatory demands are too great.


References

  • Emerging "green economy" could create millions of jobs
  • Green economy can create millions of new jobs: UN report
  • Jobs in a Green Economy
  • Employment in the Green Economy