Green Economy Now at 2.7 Million Jobs
The Brookings Institution in partnership with Batelle recently took stock of the current so-called “clean economy,” putting the number of green jobs at 2.7 million in the United States. California has the most green jobs by state with 318,000, followed by New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. In terms of proportion of green jobs to total jobs, Alaska leads the pack at 4.7%, followed by Oregon, D.C., Montana and Vermont.
With environmental sustainability, energy security and economic growth at the forefront of the world’s priorities, the clean economy has attracted a great deal of attention–and been a locus of constant innovation and growth. Arriving at definitive numbers presents quite a challenge in the rapidly evolving energy industry, in no small part because what qualifies as a “green job” is a controversial issue itself.
What Is the Clean Economy?
The report includes jobs from diverse industries such as transportation, recycling and home energy efficiency. Waste management accounts for the biggest slice of the pie at about one-sixth of total clean jobs. On average, jobs in the clean economy offer better compensation than jobs in the economy as a whole, the report found, as well as increased export potential.
In aggregate, the green economy showed less growth than the economy as a whole, but segments like clean energy and clean-tech start-ups saw massive growth.
Green Economy Policy Recommendations
The report also advocates numerous policy recommendations for continued development of the clean economy, such as enacting a federal renewable energy standard, which would require a certain portion of the nation’s energy to come from renewable sources by a set date. Many states have already implemented such standards. Other policy recommendations included the creation of more financing channels for clean technology development and focusing on established regional clusters such as those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and D.C.