China Has How Many Green Jobs Exactly?

It might seem that creating jobs in the green sector is hard, but according to a recent study by Worldwatch, keeping track of them is even harder.  The study, conducted by Worldwatch, focused on green jobs and industries in China. It was originally performed to estimate the country’s green jobs potential by analyzing its energy, forestry and transportation sectors. The study showed that China could have as many as 4.5 million green jobs by 2020, and even more in the years after.

The issue that Worldwatch discovered, though, was that the methods used by the Chinese government for tallying up these positions were not up to snuff. As of now, methods of tracking and counting green jobs just aren’t working, especially where small and start-up companies are concerned, and these types of smaller entities likely have a significant impact on job creation. In addition, there seems to be confusion over which positions get to bear the “green” label and which do not.

Image via Worldwatch

China’s number of green jobs, though, are growing rapidly, the Worldwatch study reports.Its wind industry, for example, is expected to generate about 34,000 jobs each year between now and 2020, and has provided an average of 40,000 per year from 2006 to 2010, while their forestation sector could provide as many as 1.1 million annually, and the solar PV industry is expected to create nearly 7,000 jobs per year. China also expects to produce 16.7 million electric and/or hybrid vehicles.

China reportedly is looking forward to creating a system that will allow the regional and national governments to have accurate, current data about their green job sectors. Worldwatch’s China Program Manager Haibing Ma said that, “unlike in the United States, which has long had well-established tools and institutions to monitor employment growth, China’s means of tracking job creation by industry have a long way to grow. Our report shows enormous potential for green job creation in China, but more importantly it shows a clear need to develop more robust and accurate tools for tracking employment trends. This capacity building is particularly important given China’s dominant role in the global green economy.”

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.