Renewable energy is on the rise and the sun is setting on fossil fuels. The economic dominance of the old energy industry is coming to an end and a new economic powerhouse is gaining ground. Demand for coal has collapsed and oil and gas are sure to follow. Led by renewable energy the green economy now provides many more jobs than the fossil fuel industry. IRENA reports that there were 11 million people employed in renewable energy last year. The report also says transitioning away from fossil fuels towards renewables makes good economic sense. This includes $160 trillion in savings associated with the green economy.
IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera indicated that nations are transitioning away from dirty energy to clean power. “Increasingly, countries envisage a domestic renewable energy industry taking the place of unsustainable fossil-based industries,” La Camera said.
Jobs in the clean energy sector are expected to keep growing reaching 24 million by 2030. As of 2016 there were already more than 8 million people working in the clean energy sector that is more than the oil, gas and coal sectors combined.
A recent Palgrave Communications study indicated that the U.S. green economy provided nearly 9.5 million jobs in 2016, that is 4 percent of the working age population. Their analysis showed the green economy is worth $1.3 trillion, or about 7 percent of US GDP. Despite the US oil and gas boom, the green economy employs around 10 times as many people as the fossil fuel industry. The Clean Jobs America report found that there are three times as many people working in the clean energy sector compared to fossil fuel industry workers (3.3 million compared to 1.1 million).
In Canada clean-energy jobs surpassed fossil fuels in 2018. According to a report from climate think tank Clean Energy Canada, employment in the clean energy sector is up 37 percent in the last five years.
While the number of green jobs keeps growing the number of people working in the fossil fuel industry is expected to keep declining. The people who lose their jobs in the old energy industry may be able to find work in the new energy industry. Some of these workers would benefit from retraining, others will be able to transfer
their skills directly. For example, those with experience working in the offshore oil and gas industry could apply their expertise to the offshore wind industry.
The Fossil Fuel Industry is Dying
The Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewables is Underway
The Rise of Renewables and the Fall of Fossil Fuels
Climate Action Must Include Efforts to Phase Out Fossil Fuels
Renewable Energy and Fossil Fuel Subsidies