Energy and Global Warming News for June 11th: ‘Explosive’ clean energy jobs growth; Climate change to displace tens of millions

Green jobs sector ‘poised for explosive growth’ — study

Green-collar workers — who include everyone from energy-efficiency consultants to wastewater plant operators — constitute a tiny but fast-growing segment of the U.S. economy, according to a study published today by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The “clean-energy economy” grew 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007 to 777,000 jobs. While that is just half a percent of all U.S. jobs, the clean-energy economy is poised to grow significantly with financial support from the public and private sectors, the Pew report concludes.

“¬¶About 80 percent of venture capital investments in 2008 were in the clean energy and energy efficiency sector, broadly known as “cleantech.” And while cleantech slumped with overall venture capital in the first quarter of 2009, the sector outperformed telecommunications, media and other sectors, according to an analysis of Thompson Reuters data by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

“[Cleantech] is faring better than the rest of the venture capital sectors — that’s driven by the sense that the government policy thinking has changed radically with the new administration,” said David Prend, a NVCA director and managing general partner at the venture capital firm RockPort Capital Partners.

Indeed, the Pew report cites the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed in February, as a significant force driving the clean-energy economy. The stimulus includes nearly $85 billion in direct spending and tax incentives for energy- and transportation-related programs.

Water stress, ocean levels to unleash ‘climate exodus’

Tens of millions of people will be displaced by climate change in coming years, posing social, political and security problems of an unprecedented dimension, a new study said on Wednesday.

“Unless aggressive measures are taken to halt global warming, the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before,” its authors warned.

“¬¶The report, “In Search of Shelter,” was compiled by specialists from Columbia University in New York and the United Nations University, and from a non-governmental organisation, CARE International.

It was presented to journalists on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Bonn, a staging post to an envisioned new global pact for tackling global warming and its

UN sketches countries with climate risk profile

Disasters caused by climate change will inflict the highest losses in poor countries with weak governments that have dashed for growth and failed to shield populations which settle in exposed areas, a UN report said on Thursday.

“Disaster risk is not evenly distributed,” said the report, released on the sidelines of the world climate talks in Bonn, as it urged countries to shore up protection for their citizens.

From 1990 to 2007, loss of life and property from weather-related disasters rose significantly, with floods the biggest single cause, it said.

Large developing countries, led by China, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, suffered the biggest mortality in absolute terms, but in relation to population, the highest tolls were in Dominica, Vanuatu and Myanmar.

Senate panel’s drilling endorsement creates wild card on floor

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s vote to allow wider oil and gas leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico yesterday creates a new wrinkle in efforts to pass a comprehensive energy and climate change bill through the full Senate.

The panel voted 13-10 to accept Sen. Byron Dorgan’s (D-N.D.) plan to allow leasing as close as 45 miles off Florida’s gulf shores and much closer in a gas-rich area called Destin Dome.

Senators yesterday disagreed about whether this would help or hurt floor chances for the broad-based energy bill the committee plans to wrap up tomorrow. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to bring a combined energy and climate bill to the Senate floor this fall.

S.F. recycling law to be nation’s toughest

San Francisco officials have approved a law that would require city residents to recycle and compost their waste and fine those who don’t.

The city’s Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 yesterday to approve the mandatory composting and recycling law, which is seen as the most stringent in the country.

The law is part of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s plan to eliminate all of the city’s contributions to landfills and incinerators by 2020. The city produced 618,000 tons of waste in 2007.

Canada to establish carbon trading market

Canada announced Wednesday plans for a carbon market that could eventually link up with nascent EU and proposed US markets to form a global system for carbon pollution trading.

The local market would provide Canadian companies and individuals an opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions, which are linked to global warming.

“It does so by establishing a price for carbon in Canada — something that has never been done before in this country,” Environment Minister Jim Prentice said in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada.

Carbon price must rise, IEA director says

The price of carbon emissions must rise to US$180 a metric ton by 2030 to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, the executive director of the International Energy Agency said.

“An energy revolution is necessary,” Nobuo Tanaka said at the Asian Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur. European Union carbon dioxide allowances for December traded US$18.82 a ton today on the European Climate Exchange in London.

I do think that carbon dioxide prices will ultimately have to be much higher than they are today for stabilization at 450 ppm, but because of peak oil, I’m not certain how much higher than $100 a ton they will have to be.

Transparent Solar Cells Made For Windows

Offering a view of the garden and an adjacent field, it looks like any other window. But this window offers an additional feature: it also produces electricity. The facades of the house, too, harness solar energy to supply the occupants with electrical power. This is what the domestic power supply of the future could look like. The surface area used to produce energy would increase greatly with transparent solar cells.

Global Warming Increasing The Dispersal Of Flora In Northern Forests

As a result of stronger winds caused by global warming, seeds and pollen are being carried over longer distances. An increase in temperature of only a couple of degrees may increase the dispersal of plants in Northern forests and the spread of plant species into forest clearings after felling or forest fires.

Compiled by Austin Davis

12 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for June 11th: ‘Explosive’ clean energy jobs growth; Climate change to displace tens of millions

  1. MikeN says:

    And how many people work for the coal industry that you would like to put out of business?

  2. Brooks says:

    MikeN: I was touched by your concern and spent 5 seconds doing some research. Coal industry jobs have declined by half in the last 20 years in the US despite increases in production.


    “The coal, oil, and natural gas industries require steadily fewer jobs as high-cost production equipment takes the place of human capital. Many hundreds of thousands of coal mining jobs have been shed in China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and South Africa during the last two decades, sometimes in the face of expanding production. In the United States alone, coal industry employment has fallen by half in the last 20 years, despite a one-third increase in production.

    “Renewables are poised to tackle our energy crisis and create millions of new jobs worldwide,” according to Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner. “Meanwhile, fossil fuel jobs are increasingly becoming fossils themselves, as coal mining communities and others worry about their livelihoods.”

  3. Gail says:

    MikeN, I call lame! (ha ha joke) cause how many farriers were put out of business when horses were switched for cars?

  4. Jim Beacon says:

    I’m surprised you left out the most astounding statistic from this study:

    In comparison to the 770,000 clean-energy jobs, the total number of jobs in the fossil-fuel sector in utilities, coal mining and oil and gas extraction was about 1.27 million workers in 2007. And that was before the massive lay-offs in fossil fuel jobs in 2008.

    So, there is now only a difference of perhaps 400,000 jobs between the traditional job engine of the fossil fuel sector and the new job engine of the clean energy sector — with job growth in the clean energy sector growing at a rate that is 250% faster than any other sector!

    The writing is on the wall.

  5. Rick Covert says:


    Don’t worry about putting coal workers out of business. The coal industry is doing that just fine without our help.

    Renewable energy employs more people now than coal.

  6. Jim Eager says:

    MikeN wrote: “And how many people work for the coal industry that you would like to put out of business?”

    This is what’s known as a “concern troll.”

  7. Col says:

    I seem to remember Joe asking that Energy and GW news be the place that people put stories that interest them, so I’m putting this here.

    BP Says Demand for Oil in U.S. Gasoline Market Peaked

    The article also claims that last month the Exxon CEO said the same.

  8. paulm says:

    Amazon forest is going to go even with out Global Warming…

    The Amazon is dying
    The Brazilian government is legalising deforestation and western superbrands are benefiting from it. This needs to stop now

  9. paulm says:

    Climate action must be a first resort
    Will we need a climate equivalent of a world war to shake leaders out of their complacency? Next month’s G8 will tell

  10. David B. Benson says:

    $180 per tonne of CO2?

    Have to estimate the cost of sequestering, from the air, that tonne per year. Grow biomass @ 10tC/ha/yr ((44/12)x10 tonnes of CO2 equivalent). Convert about 20% of the carbon into captured CO2, the rest goes to captured methane (aneorbic digestion followed by amine separation). So per hectare, around 0.2x(44/12)x10 = 73 tonnes of captured CO2. Looks like this cost is easily convered by the value of the methane, but suppose around $5 per tonne.

    Suppose actual transportation (CO2 pipelines) and pump down costs are about $20 per tonne of CO2.

    So my guess is that at even $100 per tonne of CO2 there is a substantial profit to be made.

    Anybody see anything wrong?

  11. Doug Gibson says:

    Where should we draw the line on Waxman-Markey?

    Over at Open Left, Chris Bowers cites the success the Progressive Caucus has so far had in holding the line on the public option in the health care debate, and asks “where should we draw the line in the sand on climate change?” In other words, among the provisions in the current bill, what do we regard as essential to calling it a success?

    I think people here could make a contribution at that thread – Open Left does a lot of good giving direction on when and how to pressure Congress.