When it comes to jobs, climate change promises a mixed bag, but concrete action on addressing a warming world presents a singular opportunity for more of the substantial job creation already underway.

A July 2019 report by the International Labour Organization concluded that “[an] increase in heat stress resulting from global warming is projected to lead to global productivity losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs in the year 2030.” The estimate is conservative, its authors warned, as it assumes a global mean temperature rise of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Extreme heat is hazardous to human health, so it should not come as a surprise that agriculture, in which 940 million people work, is expected to be the sector most affected by a warmer world. Construction, refuse collection, repair, transportation, tourism, and sports also among the other fields projected to suffer the fallout of hotter temperatures.

But in crisis comes opportunity, and the nascent renewable energy sector offers a surfeit of just that. As the video below states, the two fastest growing occupations in the entire job market are solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians. According to the same International Labour Organization report, decarbonizing the energy sector, electrifying transportation, reforestation, and carbon capture and storage technologies will eliminate some jobs while creating many more. A 2018 I.L.O. report  saw a net gain of 18 million jobs—in construction, manufacturing, copper mining, renewable energy production, and biomass crop cultivation—by achieving sustainability in the energy sector. 

Forbes reported in 2019 that “building new renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal plants and prices get cheaper every year.” Meanwhile, states’ and utilities’ clean energy goals are driving demand for workers to build renewable energy infrastructure.

In discussing the importance of not building new fossil-fuel infrastructure that would lock in decades of future greenhouse gas emissions, the environmentalist and author Bill McKibben wrote on The New Yorker’s website that the fossil-fuel industry “is losing financial muscle with each passing week” during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.

McKibben referred to a Financial Times interview with BP’s chief executive officer, who “noted that as crude prices have plunged, renewable energy projects had been able to attract funding, suggesting the pandemic has weakened the investment case for oil. ‘It’s the model that is increasingly respected and admired by investors as being resilient and having a different risk profile,’ he said.”



Jobs and the Energy Economy

An expert panel discussion about the reality of energy-related jobs and the impact of the Infrastructure and Inflation Reduction Acts across the sector.

Jobs & Economy Archives – Yale Climate Connections

Stories about the economic costs of climate impacts and the economic benefits of climate solutions.

How Renewables Power 12 million Jobs Globally

Employment trends are shaped by a multitude of factors A key factor in shaping employment is the rate at which renewable energy equipment is manufactured, installed and put to use. During the pandemic, renewable energy…

Climate Action= Jobs

Welcome back to ITM, the ACTION TOOLKIT for the climate movement. Knowing how to take action on climate is tricky, so WE BOIL IT ALL DOWN FOR YOU. We also know how busy you are,…

The Best Environmental Sustainability Jobs Boards and Sites

With 8.1 million job openings and 9.8 million unemployed Americans looking for work, according to Kenan Institute, a partner of University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, there is a lot of career movement in…

Statement by Rewiring America on the release of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan

The intersection of climate progress and economic prosperity is at the heart of our work at Rewiring America and we are thrilled that President Biden has put these issues front and center in his American…

A single nuclear power plant creates more jobs than any other type of energy generation facility.

The nuclear energy industry is a powerful engine for job creation. The U.S. industry directly employs nearly 100,000 people in high-quality, long-term jobs. This number climbs to 475,000 when you include secondary jobs. We cannot afford…

Climate Action = Jobs

Welcome back to ITM, the ACTION TOOLKIT for the climate movement. Knowing how to take action on climate is tricky, so WE BOIL IT ALL DOWN FOR YOU. We also know how busy you are,…

Mobilizing for a zero carbon America: Jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs

From mass unemployment to the threat of climate change, the U.S. will face a number of seemingly unprecedented challenges even after the current public health tragedy has passed. Finding needed solutions won’t be easy and…

The 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report

The U.S. Energy & Employment Report provides a unique window on the people who meet the nation’s energy needs, and identifies important trends and skill sets for the 21st Century energy workforce.


Electric Vehicle Investments Provide Benefits Across the U.S.

This map compiles ZETA research to illustrate EV investments across the country. These private investments are creating tens of thousands of good-paying auto jobs that will reinvigorate communities, generating thousands of additional indirect jobs. And…

Offshore Wind in New York

Long Island is poised to play a central role in the development of offshore wind (OSW) in New York State. Governor Cuomo has set an ambitious goal of 9,000 megawatts from OSW in New York…

Detroit nonprofit offers paid training for energy efficiency jobs

By Yale Climate Connections   04/28/22  
Detroit, Michigan, needs more people who know how to make buildings more energy efficient. Sitara Govender of the non-profit Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency says there are more energy efficiency jobs available than workers with…

What Biden Said—and Didn’t Say—on Climate during the State of the Union

By Adam Aton and Scott Waldman   03/02/22  
President Biden used his first State of the Union address to reset his administration after a year of inflation and crises at home and abroad that has left him with nearly record-low approval ratings.

‘I’ve found purpose’: Meet the ‘green defectors’ ditching high-flying careers in business and finance to tackle climate change

By Pilita Clark   12/21/21  
Six years ago, Samantha Cooper had a high-powered job in London’s Canary Wharf financial district and a hard-charging life to match it.

South Fork Wind wins federal OK, launching union jobs at ProvPort

By Mary Serreze   11/26/21  
The Ørsted/Eversource project will power New York homes, but the turbine foundations are being fabricated in Rhode Island.

Biden’s Build Back Better bill would give young people jobs to fight climate change. What would a new CCC look like?

By Ledyard King   11/16/21  
As the only member of her immediate family who doesn't have asthma or bronchitis, Maricruz Ramirez has seen the threat an unhealthy environment can pose. And as someone who has grown up seeing and smelling…

Nonprofit Grid Alternatives trains women for careers in solar

By YCC Team   11/09/21  
Agrowing number of women work in the solar industry, but they still account for less than a third of solar jobs. To prepare more women for employment in the industry, the national nonprofit Grid Alternatives…

Solving climate change means creating jobs

By John F. Kerry and Ryan Roslansky   11/08/21  
The world is gathered at COP26, the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, to come together and wrestle with a crisis that affects every country on our shared planet. We are already approaching nearly…

The 10 most in-demand green jobs right now—some pay over $100,000 a year

By Morgan Smith   10/19/21  
Conversations about climate change have been happening for decades, but recent events, including soaring gas prices and extreme weather, have given these discussions a new urgency. In response, sectors like renewable energy, environmental science and…

Will US Climate Policy Be Defeated by the Enmity Within?

By Joel B Stronberg   10/19/21  
Washington continues to be in the throes of a knock-down, drag-out fight between Democrats in Congress and the White House over the two pieces of BIG legislation that matter most in terms of national climate…

How the US labor movement is getting to grips with the climate crisis

By Michael Sainato   09/20/21  
In the beginning of this summer, the US state of Connecticut passed legislation to guarantee prevailing wage and benefits are provided to workers on clean energy projects. The law was a product of labor unions…

How much do energy industry jobs pay? A look at the data.

By Karin Kirk   09/12/21  
As the U.S. economy recovers from the COVID-induced recession, the emphasis is shifting away from the simplified metric of the number of jobs, toward a focus on high-quality, high-paying jobs. As some service sectors languish with unfilled…

A third of Gen Z says climate change is a top concern. A new report says the climate crisis is pushing young adults to pursue more sustainability-focused career paths.

By Rebecca Ungarino   09/07/21  
Young adults born in 1997 onward are graduating from college and entering the workforce as the Earth is experiencing some of its hottest years on record. Studies show members of the cohort known as Generation…

‘How do I start a new career in a green job?’

By Sara Peach   08/24/21  
Hi Sara, I am 50 years old and looking at a major career change. I have wasted most of my adult life at a soulless job that has provided for me and my family. In…

How A Meteorologist Does His Job When Climate Change Is Politicized

By Sarah McCammon   08/13/21  
Tomorrow, the U.N.'s Panel on Climate Change will release its most comprehensive report to date on global warming. But we don't need to wait to feel the effects of climate change. Between record-breaking heat, storms…

The Auto Industry Is Going Green. Will Workers Go Along for the Ride?

By Justin Worland   08/11/21  
Wandering around the sprawling 6.2 million-sq.-ft. Lordstown Motors assembly plant in Ohio, it’s tempting to imagine a green future that is full of jobs. The company’s signature product is a high-performing electric pickup truck, and…

In the Infrastructure Bill, a Recognition: Climate Change Is a Crisis

By Christopher Flavelle   08/05/21  
The bipartisan infrastructure deal struck this week provides new money for climate resilience unmatched in United States history: Tens of billions of dollars to protect against floods, reduce damage from wildfires, develop new sources of drinking water…

‘Building back better,’ if done right, will boost Ohio jobs, address climate change: Dan Troy

Following through on one of President Biden’s key campaign promises to beef up American infrastructure, the U.S. Senate voted last week to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure bill. While there is still plenty of…

Biden clean energy plan key to restoring industry job losses, says U.S. official

By Nichola Groom   07/20/21  
 The U.S. energy sector lost 10% of its workforce last year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report unveiled on Monday by U.S. government officials, who said President Joe Biden's…

‘Building back better,’ if done right, will boost Ohio jobs, address climate change: Dan Troy

By Andrea Germanos   07/19/21  
Amid a sustained push for the inclusion of a Civilian Climate Corps in federal infrastructure legislation, the Sunrise Movement on Monday rolled out a new tool showcasing the potential for over 15 million jobs that simultaneously tackle economic inequality and…

Annual Energy Department report finds slight recovery in energy industry jobs

By Zack Budryk   07/19/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy found an overall drop in jobs within the energy industry in 2020 but a slight increase in some renewable energy jobs, which it said is attributed to investments in those sectors.

Sunrise Launches Green New Deal Jobs Website to Celebrate Future of Climate-Friendly Work

By Andrea Germanos   07/19/21  
Amid a sustained push for the inclusion of a Civilian Climate Corps in federal infrastructure legislation, the Sunrise Movement on Monday rolled out a new tool showcasing the potential for over 15 million jobs that…

Biden’s Big Bet: Tackling Climate Change Will Create Jobs, Not Kill Them

By Coral Davenport and others   07/16/21  
In 2017, as Donald J. Trump was announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the largest global effort to attack planetary warming, he declared, “I was elected to represent the citizens of…

The number of green jobs is growing. Will they pay well?

By YCC Team   06/30/21  
Action to reduce global warming could create a lot of new jobs – from wind and solar farm construction to green building and electric-vehicle manufacturing. Jason Walsh is executive director of the Bluegreen Alliance, a…

This is how Los Angeles is creating green jobs of the future

By Avi Asher-Schapiro   06/25/21  
Los Angeles is looking to renewable energy sources like solar power to improve its economic outlook - whilst helping to save the planet. The city has pledged to sharply curb its greenhouse gas emissions, aiming…

Newsletter: What the clean energy future looks like from a 262-foot wind turbine

By Sammy Roth   06/24/21  
Hundreds of feet above the ground, suspended by ropes and battered by powerful winds, Matthew Kelly is living his best life. Kelly is a wind turbine technician, and my colleague Brian van der Brug recently…

Newsletter: What the clean energy future looks like from a 262-foot wind turbine

By Sammy Roth   06/24/21  
Hundreds of feet above the ground, suspended by ropes and battered by powerful winds, Matthew Kelly is living his best life. Kelly is a wind turbine technician, and my colleague Brian van der Brug recently…

Sustainability drives talks on reforming visitor industry

By Melissa Tanji   06/23/21  
While local leaders have different ideas of how tourism should look moving forward, many agree on one thing — Maui is overwhelmed. “It’s just too many tourists, overcrowding everywhere, on the reefs, the roads, the…

The Demand for Clean-Energy Jobs Grows in Westchester

By David Levine   06/13/21  
Clean energy offers many well-paying opportunities for those with or without a college degree in New York State. After many years of depending on fossil-fuel-driven energy, the U.S. has recently begun to embrace clean-energy alternatives.…

8 Jobs That Are Helping To Fight Climate Change

By Gabrielle Olya   06/11/21  
In an open letter to President Joe Biden, notable executives -- including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford -- and other leaders from around the…

Headwinds: Offshore wind will take time to carry factory jobs to U.S.

By Isla Binnie, Nichola Groom and Susanna Twidale   05/27/21  
When U.S. President Joe Biden's administration approved the country’s first major offshore wind farm this month, it billed the move as the start of a new clean energy industry that by the end of the…

Economic Study Shows Why ‘Saving the Planet Is Not a Jobs Killer’

By Julia Conley   05/26/21  
A key argument made by opponents to climate action—that sharply reducing carbon emissions by shifting away from fossil fuel production and towards renewable energy sources would kill jobs—continued to fall apart Wednesday as a new…

Where climate, jobs and health meet: The outdoors

By Mario Molina   05/26/21  
Americans look to the outdoors for solace and recreation. It’s been true since our foundation as a nation and it became even more clear last year. For more than 50 million of us, the outdoors…

What climate change jobs will be in high demand?

By Sara Peach   05/21/21  
What kind of careers are going to be in high demand in the future? Climate science? Engineering? Animal conservation? Will we wake up and try to save what’s left of the species on this planet?…

Oil Companies and Community Activists Join Together to Create an Offshore Wind Project—and Jobs

By Nicholas Kusnetz   05/09/21  
When Aroldo Garcia learned that the operations base for a major offshore wind project was coming to his Brooklyn neighborhood, he thought about the jobs it could provide for his family members and friends who…

‘Which climate change jobs will be in high demand in the future?’

By Sara Peach   05/05/21  
What kind of careers are going to be in high demand in the future? Climate science? Engineering? Animal conservation? Will we wake up and try to save what’s left of the species on this planet?

UMWA Seeks Foothold for Coal in the Green Hydrogen Economy

By Tina Casey   04/27/21  
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) caused quite a stir last week when it issued a detailed statement in support of federal energy policies that create new clean energy jobs. The timing was perfect…

White House targets $38B to aid coal sector transition, but it’s likely not enough, analysts say

By Emma Penrod   04/26/21  
Existing federal programs have up to $38 billion in unspent funds available that could be used to spur job creation in communities impacted by the decline of the coal industry, according to a report released Friday by…

Biden closes landmark summit with a message: Climate action equals jobs

By Sean Sullivan   04/23/21  
President Biden used the waning hours of a White House climate summit to hammer home a message aimed as much at Americans as at the dozens of world leaders he had convened: Combating the Earth’s…

The predictable economic effects of climate change have started to appear

By Philip Bump   04/21/21  
The United Mine Workers of America released a remarkable document on Monday, an articulation of how the country’s largest union representing coal miners understood the future of the industry.

The Fossil Fuel Sector, Subsidies and Job Creation: Sorting Fact From Fiction

By Sarah Lozanova   04/13/21  
The energy industry is undergoing a fundamental shift. Exactly how quickly the world will adopt clean energy is still unclear. One significant argument for keeping society’s fossil fuel love affair going is to protect jobs…

Biden faces tough choice over a battery plant in Georgia

By Gavin Bade   04/08/21  
President Joe Biden’s ambitious electric vehicle plan has run into a huge hurdle with U.S. trade law, forcing him to choose between swing-state jobs and American intellectual property rules that have come under intense scrutiny…

Wind and solar energy are job creators. Which states are taking advantage?

By Karin Kirk   04/07/21  
If there’s one sure-fire way to get the ear of most politicians, it’s the word “jobs.” It seems almost any issue can be framed as either job-growing or job-killing, depending on which side of the…

Joe Biden wants to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure and jobs

By Javier Zarracina and Joey Garrison   04/07/21  
President Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced a sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package that looks to reshape the American economy and make the most significant domestic U.S. investments in generations. His far-reaching American Jobs Plan…

Create Jobs for Oil/Gas Workers, Plugging Oil and Gas Wells

By Peter Sinclair   04/05/21  
Across the country there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned or “orphan” frack wells. There are also, tens of thousands of unemployed oil and gas workers. Putting them to work, plugging old, leaking, toxic and…

Why Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Is a Green Jobs Plan

By Gernot Wagner   04/02/21  
“Once you put capital money to work, jobs are created.” These are not the words of President Joe Biden, announcing his administration’s infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Nor were they the words of Transportation Secretary…

Fossil Fuel Companies Took Billions in U.S. Coronavirus Relief Funds but Still Cut Nearly 60,000 Jobs

By Nicholas Kusnetz   04/02/21  
When Congress looked to prop up a tanking economy and stanch its hemorrhaging of employment as the pandemic spread last year, the oil industry was among those that sought relief.

The Promise of Offshore Wind

By Brittany Gibson   03/24/21  
Wind farms in 42 states provided about 7 percent of U.S. power needs in 2019, a figure that is expected to grow. But offshore wind is the exciting growth area for technology and jobs, as…

The Energy 202: China, Europe way ahead of U.S. when it comes to clean energy jobs

By Alexandra Ellerbeck   02/12/21  
President Biden has promised that U.S. efforts to combat climate change will create millions of jobs. But the country will be playing catch-up, especially when it comes to battery technology critical for powering electric cars…