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Green Jobs

Green jobs growth outpaced other colored job classifications by nearly 250 percent over the last decade, growing 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, versus 3.7 percent for the overall job market.

A cursory glance at the Google Trends results for Green Jobs news reference volume on the web (see chart below) shows a dramatic increase in time.

Obama promises to spend $150 billion over 10 years to create 5 million jobs in the green-collar industry. Green collar workers include professionals such as conservation movement workers, environmental consultants, environmental or biological systems engineers, green building architects, holistic passive solar building designers, solar energy and wind energy engineers and installers, nuclear engineers, green vehicle engineers, ‘green business’ owners, organic farmers, environmental lawyers, ecology educators, and eco-technology workers, and sales staff working with these services or products. Green collar workers also include vocational or trade level workers, electricians who install solar panels, plumbers who install solar water heaters, construction workers who build energy-efficient green buildings and wind power farms, construction workers who weatherize buildings to make them more energy efficient, or other workers involved in clean, renewable, sustainable future energy development.

According to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme, projected investments estimated at US$ 630 billion by 2030 could translate to some 20 million new jobs in renewable energy, including 2.1 million in wind, 6.3 million in solar power and 12 million in biomass for energy and related industries.

The job creation is expected to be fueled by growth in the market for environmental products and services worldwide, which is projected to double to US$ 2,740 billion by 2020.

The report estimated that half the market would involve energy efficiency across a number of industries including construction and that the balance of market growth would involve eco-friendly transportation, water supply, sanitation and waste management.
The study warns that many of the new jobs may be low paying, ‘dirty, dangerous and difficult’ and called for measures to ensure the new green jobs involve ‘decent work’ that helps reduce poverty and improve the environment.

The report was produced for the UNEP by the Worldwatch Institute with technical assistance from the Cornell University Global Labor Institute. The UNEP commissioned and funded the study under a joint Green Jobs Initiative with the International Labour Office, International Trade Union Confederation and the International Organization of Employers.


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