The national report Greener Pathways defines green jobs as “family-supporting jobs that contribute significantly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality. Defined more by industry than occupation, they reside primarily in the sectors that make up the clean energy economy – efficiency, renewables, alternative transportation, and fuels.”
The National Center for O*NET Development (O*NET) classifies green jobs into three major categories:
- Green Increased Demand Occupations: Existing occupations for which there is an increased demand. An example: More electrical power line installers and repairers are needed to make energy efficiency and infrastructure upgrades.
- Green Enhanced Skills Occupations: Occupations experiencing significant changes in work and worker requirements to meet green market changes. Examples: Building and construction trades workers must learn about new green materials, construction techniques and options, energy code requirements, and effective disposal and recycling techniques.
- New and Emerging Green Occupations: Occupations being created to meet the needs of the new green economy. An example: A solar system technician who determines how solar technology can be used on an existing site and then installs it.
In a recent report, O*NET identified twelve distinct green economy job sectors:
- Renewable Energy Generation. Activities related to developing and using energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.
- Green Construction. Activities relating to constructing new green buildings, retrofitting residential and commercial buildings, and installing other green construction technology.
- Transportation. Activities related to increasing energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of various modes of transportation, including mass transit, trucking and rail.
- Energy Efficiency. Activities related to increasing energy efficiency, making energy demand response more effective, constructing smart grids, etc.
- Manufacturing. Activities related to the industrial manufacturing of green technology, as well as energy efficient manufacturing processes.
- Agriculture and Forestry. Activities relating to using natural pesticides, efficient land management or farming, and aquaculture.
- Recycling and Waste Reduction. Activities related to solid waste and wastewater management, treatment, and reduction, as well as processing recyclable materials.
- Environmental Protection. Activities related to environmental remediation, climate change adaptation, and ensuring or enhancing air quality.
- Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage. Activities related to capturing and storing energy and/or carbon emissions, as well as power-plant-related technologies.
- Energy Trading. Activities related to buying and selling energy as an economic commodity, including carbon trading.
- Research, Design and Consulting Services. Activities such as energy consulting or research and other related business services.
- Governmental and Regulatory Administration. Activities by public and private organizations associated with conservation and pollution prevention, regulation enforcement, and policy analysis and advocacy.