Renewable Energy Sector Helps Drive Job Markets At Home And Abroad

NWF   |   July 15, 2008

A recent study shows that that
jobs in renewable energy are expanding worldwide, while jobs in coal and natural
gas are disappearing. 

Currently about 2.3 million people
around the world work either directly in renewables, or indirectly in supplier
indus­tries, according to the Worldwatch Institute.Wind_turbine_doe_2

Renewables
tend to be a labor-intensive energy source, more so than the fossil fuels
industry, which relies heavily on expensive pieces of pro­duction equipment. A
transition toward renewable energy hence shows promise of a more robust job
market.

During the
past two decades, coal output in the U.S. rose by almost one third, yet
employment has been cut in half. Membership of the United Mine Workers of
America has withered from 167,000
active members in 1980 to 16,000 today
.

The coal
industry has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs at home as well as abroad, in China, Germany, Britain, and South Africa
over the past few decades, according to the National Mining
Association.

According to the United Nations, global investors poured
$148 billion into new wind, solar and other alternative
energy assets
in 2007, labeling
this movement a “green energy gold rush”
. The spike in investment soars 60
percent above 2006 similar project levels.

“With world temperatures
and fossil fuel prices climbing higher, it is increasingly obvious to the public
and investors alike that the transition to a low-carbon society is both a global
imperative and an inevitability,” U.N. Undersecretary-General Achim Steiner
said.

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