NEW YORK - Global efforts to tackle climate change could result in millions of green jobs over the coming decades, according to a study prepared by the Worldwatch Institute with funding from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The study found that the global market for environmental products and services is projected to double from $1.37 trillion per year at present to $2.74 trillion by 2020, with half of that market in energy efficiency. It also notes that the energy supply sectors will be particularly important in terms of their environmental, economic, and employment impacts, particularly the renewable energy industry and those related to buildings, transportation, industry, agriculture, and forestry.

The report notes that 2.3 million people have found renewable energy jobs in recent years, and projected investments of $630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs. The UNEP commissioned the report under the Green Jobs Initiative, which involves the International Labour Office, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the International Organization of Employers.

Looking closer to home, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report that finds the U.S. economy currently generates more than 750,000 green jobs, while over the next 30 years, an emphasis on clean energy could cause that number to grow five-fold, to more than 4.2 million jobs. Engineering, legal, research, and consulting jobs currently dominate the green jobs in the United States and could grow by 1.4 million by 2038, while renewable electricity production will create 1.23 million jobs, alternative transportation fuels will add 1.5 million jobs, and building retrofits will create another 81,000 jobs. The report notes that most of today’s jobs are in metropolitan areas, led by New York City, Washington, Houston, and Los Angeles, and it lists current and projected green jobs by metropolitan area. For the full report, go to

Publication date:10/27/2008