“Green jobs” are not just nice to have – they are essential to our future prosperity. Our current economy – which is built on cheap oil – has entered an irreversible decline. Prices for gasoline, heating oil, and food are undermining the financial security of families and businesses. We can't return to the good old days of cheap oil because we've already used up about half the world's oil reserves. Instead of looking backward, we need to move forward to a more robust, efficient, and ecologically sustainable economic system. Communities that have invested in the green economy of the future will make the transition smoothly. Those that try to cling to the past will work harder and harder until the burden of oil becomes totally insupportable.
Consider these facts:
- Investments in renewable energy are exploding. In 2007, global wind generating capacity is estimated to have increased 28 percent, while grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity rose 52 percent. Wind power is growing at 25-30 percent per year. In 2007 global investment in renewables hit a milestone with $71 billion invested globally, up from $40 billion in 2004. The renewable energy sector now accounts for 2.4 million jobs globally. [Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network]
- Massachusetts already has approximately 14,400 jobs in the clean energy sector. [Source: Massachusetts Technology Collaborative]
- A study by the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas concluded that Texas cold add 123,000 new high-wage jobs by 2020 to its economy by actively moving toward solar power.
- Each megawatt of wind energy that is developed creates 4.7 years of employment for a full time worker. [Source: Renewable Energy Policy Project]
- According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national commitment to just 15% renewable energy would create 185,000 new jobs in energy development. [Source: Union of Concerned Scientists]
- Importing oil is exporting jobs. The UCS study showed that a 15% renewable portfolio would lower electricity and natural gas bills and save consumers over $27.7 billion by 2030. Money saved by buying less oil tends to circulate in the community, creating jobs, rather than going abroad. [Source: Union of Concerned Scientists]
- Locally owned small businesses providing energy conservation, recycling, and household solar installations form a solid foundation for a thriving local economy. They provide jobs that can’t be exported abroad.
For more information:
“Cashing in on Clean Energy”
Union of Concerned Scientists
“Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century”
American Solar Energy Society
“Energy for Colorado's Economy: Creating Jobs and Economic Growth with Renewable Energy”
“REN21 Renewables 2007 Global Status Report”
Renewable Energy Policy Network