Mayors' Study Projects 4.2M Green Jobs in U.S. by 2038

Mayors' Study Projects 4.2M Green Jobs in U.S. by 2038

A report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors says the number of green jobs in the country could grow fivefold to 4.2 million by 2038 if aggressive steps are taken to rely more on renewable energy resources, use alternative fuels and conserve energy.

The report for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Mayors Climate Protection Center by Global Insights forecast that green job growth could account for as many as 10 percent of new jobs in the next 30 years.  The study also looked at eco-friendly jobs in the U.S. today, measured how many of the estimated 750,000 green jobs are in direct and supportive positions, and determined where the jobs are located.  

In announcing the results of the research, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said the study establishes the first national Green Jobs Index.

Released October 2 in Miami, the report emerged as lawmakers in Washington, D.C., mulled legislation for the $700 billion federal bailout of the country's financial system.

The report is the third in a month — following studies conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute and for the United Nations Environment Programme — to project strong growth in green jobs in coming years, and it makes clear that the expansion is dependent on dramatic shifts in generation and use of electricity as well as government commitment and investments.

For example, the forecast assumes that by 2038, 40 percent of the electricity in the country will be generated using alternative resources while currently just 3 percent comes from renewable energy, alternative fuels will be used to satisfy 30 percent of passenger cars' and light trucks' fuel needs, and retrofitting of commercial and residential structures will result in 35 percent drop in electricity use.

Those changes would help create an estimated 1.23 million jobs related to renewable energy production, 1.5 million jobs in alternative transportation fuels, 1.4 million jobs in engineering, legal, research and consulting positions, and 81,000 jobs from commercial and residential retrofits, according to the study.

"This report proves that being green is not optional, it is necessary for a healthy and robust economy," U.S. Conference of Mayors President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said in a statement.  "Creating green jobs is an investment we must continue to make."

In examining green jobs today, the study found that 419,000 of the existing 750,000 jobs are in what it deemed as "indirect" or supportive roles such as current engineering, legal work, research and consulting. Renewable power generation accounts for 127,000 jobs, making it the second largest category. Agriculture and forestry provide 57,500 jobs. About 85 percent of the jobs are metropolitan areas. The report includes tables of current and potential green jobs in metro areas across the country.