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Governments Need Better Methods to Calculate Green Job Growth

Governments need better, more consistent methodologies to fully assess the job impacts of green energy policies, according to a report published last month by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“There are many claims and counter-claims about whether ‘green growth’ creates or destroys jobs,” wrote authors Dr. Alex Bowen and Dr. Karlygash Kuralbayeva. “But fully assessing the consequences of environmental policies for employment presents a considerable challenge, and at present it is not possible for policy-makers to assess conflicting claims about the quality and quantity of ‘green jobs’ that have already been created, or may be created in the future.”

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The report describes different methods of calculating net job creation, at least one of which accounts for employment lost in a low-carbon transition.

“There is some evidence that [green] jobs are growing in number—a bit faster than employment as a whole—but from a low base,” the authors said.

“But with climate change mitigation measures strengthening around the world, it is important for national statistical agencies to get a better grasp on what is happening to employment (and GDP) in these industry sectors, so that they can alert policy-makers to the extent of structural change that such policies are inducing.”

They added that governments will need strategies “for coping with employment losses in the sectors that will suffer from green growth policies, remembering that this may include sectors hit by higher real prices for currently carbon-intensive inputs.”