First Takes: LA Green Jobs Surge, Silicon Valley's Top Green Consultants, & More ...

First Takes: LA Green Jobs Surge, Silicon Valley's Top Green Consultants, & More ...

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Port of San Diego

• Los Angeles is the Nation's Hub for Green Jobs: When it comes to green jobs, the City of Angels leads the rest of the nation, according to new research from the Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs Network (CCEJ). That figure could double to more than 433,000 by 2040, the study (PDF) found. Over the last 15 years, the sector has increased at three times the rate of the rest of the region's economy, and far exceeds many of the area's fossil fuel industry job counts. "The increase in total jobs stimulated by the growth of the clean tech industry is far larger than California's entire mining industry, and roughly comparable to the utility or aerospace industries in their pre-recession peaks," the report said.

• Top 5 Environmental Firms in Silicon Valley: L.A. may have bested the rest of the country when it comes to green job creation, but other regions can still be considered green tech hubs. The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal just came out with its annual list of the region's Top 25 Environmental Firms, ranked by the number of professionals employed. Here's the Top 5:

1. CH2M Hill, specializing in site assessment, environmental planning and remediation design
2. EORM Inc., specializing in environmental compliance, ergonomics and corporate sustainability
3. Locus Technologies, specializing in energy, water and environmental software
4. Arcadis, specializing in environmental assessment and remedial investigation
5. Golder Associated, specializing in contaminated site characterization and remediation, solid waste engineering and landfill gas services.

• Don't Forget Green Jobs in the Auto Industry: Auto industry are up 12 percent over the last two years, compared to a 0.2 percent increase for the rest of the economy. Deron Lovaas of the Natural Resources Defense Council attributed the growth to a boost in demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. He points out that a Honda facility that makes the Civic will hire 1,000 workers, while GM is hiring 2,500 workers to accommodate more production of its Chevy Volt, in addition to 1,000 engineers and researchers to work on electric vehicles. In related news, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a $730 million loan it is awarding to modernize a Dearborn, Mich., steel factory to produce next generation steel for fuel efficient cars. The project will create more than 2,500 construction jobs and 260 permanent manufacturing jobs.

• Environmental Literacy Bill Unveiled: The debt ceiling negotiations have been taking center stage in recent days, but a group of bipartisan lawmakers quietly introduced a bill last week that would encourage environmental education and prepare students for the green marketplace. Last month, Maryland passed the nation's first state law promoting "environmental literacy." "Our education system needs new, innovative approaches to prepare our children to compete in the 21st century global economy," Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said in a statement. "This bill encourages hands-on learning and an integrated curriculum, while bolstering increasingly important science education programs."

ReCommerce Firm Gazelle gets a $22M Boost: Gazelle, a company dedicated to buying previous-generation gadgets like iPads and iPhones, announced yesterday that it has closed $22 million in new financing from a group of cleantech-focused venture capitalists. The funding will help the company continue to expand its outreach for taking back and extending the life of not-too-outdated gadgets discarded by shoppers seeking the latest and greatest.

Cleantech Funding on the Wane as Web Rises Again: Gazelle's funding story may become a rare tale, however. As internet IPOs take off again -- LinkedIn, Zillow, and many others in recent weeks -- venture capitalist investment in the energy sector has dropped by more than half, Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOm reports. As VCs move away, corporate and government monies are moving in to fill the gap, and Fehrenbacher cites examples from ConocoPhillips, GE, NRG Energy and others.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Port of San Diego.