United Nations Report Projects 8.4 Million Jobs In Solar & Wind By 2030, Plus Green Goods Production Worth US$2.74 Trillion By 2020

A just-released report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is projecting US$2.74 Trillion worth of "environmentally friendly" goods will be produced in the world each year - by the year 2020.

Note:print media reports have mistakenly reported the UNEP projection as US$ 2.7 Billion, which would be a ridiculously low number. Thankfully, this writer checked the original source before posting. More on that later.

Although no precision level estimates were found in the media coverage or press release from UNEP it sounds like UNEP has, to some extent, put a micrometer on a green fog bank with these estimates. Questions On What Consitutes An Environmentally Friendly Good Or Job
A reasonable argument can be put forward that a new nuclear power plant is "environment friendly" - at least in terms of mitigating the climate crisis. And, a single green-field nuclear generator costs in the 6 to 14 billion range. Quite a few more nuclear plants are projected by 2020. If nuclear plant jobs and goods were included in the UNEP estimates, then certainly the projected numbers would be far larger. (Note: we are not arguing that nuclear power is relatively cost-effective in relation to other renewable power sources.)

Does the estimated production worth include full architect and engineering fees for LEED buildings, or just the incremental cost difference between LEED and non-LEED built? The cost differential between certified and un-certified timber? You see the point. Projections such as these are highly situational, depend on what one defines as " green" and on how they are tabulated.

Perhaps pointing out these questions is un-constructive, given that people with credible organizations, Worldwatch Institute and Cornell University, prepared the cited report. On the other hand, a scan of the full report reveals that the authors did not always rely on primary sources! Greenpeace International, for example, was cited as a source of technical information (per the graphic example presented at the top of this post).

Doubts about precsision or sourcing aside, the green jobs stats projections for renewable energy, worldwide, were very intriguing. Direct from the UNEP press release:

- 2.3 million people have in recent years found new jobs in the renewable energy sector alone, and the potential for job growth in the sector is huge. Employment in alternative energies may rise to 2.1 million in wind and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030.

- Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of US$630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Via::UNEP report.

For a full downloadable copy of the UN green jobs report, in pdf format, click here.

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