Worldwatch Institute Report Counts Green Jobs in China

China’s massive and fast-growing economy could create millions of green jobs over the next eight years, according to a Worldwatch Institute report.The study is the most thorough effort to date to explore China’s greenjobs potential.

An analysis of China’s energy, transportation, and forestry sectorsshows they could provide at least 4.5 million green jobs just in 2020,with millions more in later years.

"Green Economy and Green Jobs in China: Current Status and Potentialsfor 2020," was co-authored by researchers from Worldwatch’s Beijingpartner, the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at theChinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Between 2011-2020, China could create: 

  • 6,680 direct solar PV jobs a year 
  • 34,000 jobs a year in wind, including both power generation andmanufacturing. 40,000 direct jobs have been created each year between2006-2010.
  • 16.7 million of the 220 million vehicles it adds each year will be hybrid or electric, produced domestically.
  • 230,000 jobs a year in high-speed rail
  • 437,000 jobs a year in Beijing’s urban rail system alone
  • 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs a year in forestry

China has a long way to go, however, in tracking its economy so that jobs can be accurately counted. 

National and regional governments use inconsistent methods to trackindustries, and probably don’t track many smaller businesses that likely have a significant impact on job creation. The lack of industry tradeorganizations and the difficulty in separating out "green" sub-sectorsfrom larger, fast-growing industries, are also problems.

"Unlike in the United States, which has long had well-established toolsand institutions to monitor employment growth, China’s means of tracking job creation by industry have a long way to grow," says WorldwatchChina Program Manager Haibing Ma. "Our report shows enormous potentialfor green job creation in China, but more importantly it shows a clearneed to develop more robust and accurate tools for tracking employmenttrends. This capacity building is particularly important given China’sdominant role in the global green economy."

In some cases, inefficient implementation has led to unintended economic or environmental costs. Roughly one-third of China’s installed windcapacity hasn’t been connected to the grid, for example.

Earlier this month the Brookings Institution released a comprehensive report finding that 2.7 million people work in the green economy in the US.

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