Jobs that seek to improve the environment have grown 9.1 percent over the last decade, while all other job sectors have only increased by 3.7 percent. This is an encouraging statistic as the United States attempts to wean itself off of fossil fuels, however only a sliver of those jobs are actually in the clean energy production sector. 65% of the some 770,000 green jobs that now exist in the United States are in conservation or pollution mitigation, with only around 90,000 jobs producing green energy.
The traditional energy sector, including coal mining, utilities and big oil, now account for 1.27 million jobs across the United States. As green-collar jobs are created and filled, the industry will surpass the traditional energy sector, creating a tipping point in the direction of green power and jobs.
While there is a small base of workers currently producing green energy, a study produced by the University of California Berkeley shows that the green-collar industry is much more labor intensive than the traditional energy sector. In a concurring opinion, a team from the Goldman School of Public Policy stated “the renewable energy sector generates more jobs than the fossil fuel-based energy sector per unit of energy delivered (i.e., per average megawatt).”
President Obama has insisted on green-collar jobs as the cornerstone of a new renewable energy-based economy, and research is showing that creating more jobs and an increased load of renewable energy goes hand in hand. The Waxman-Markey bill currently under consideration by congress offers cap-and-trade and is widely supported by studies as well as the green industry.
The tide of history has shifted from coal and fossil based fuels to a renewable economy built around sustainability, and now it is only a matter of time before Americans need not look farther than their own border for the solutions to their current energy problems.