Environmental Careers: Is There a Future in Green Jobs?

Is the Focus on Climate Change Obscuring the Real Potential for Green Jobs?

Environmental CareersAccording to a survey of Americans conducted in October 2012 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, only 42 percent of respondents said they believed that there is solid evidence for man-made global warming. A Gallup poll from March 2014 showed that more than four in 10 say the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated in the news.

It all points to a big case of "green fatigue" brought about by contradictory information, confusing media messages, polarizing politics and a poor economy that's made consideration for environmental issues an afterthought for many people.

In short, skepticism about human-caused global warming is slowing meaningful progress towards a cleaner economy. This can make it difficult to arrive at any kind of solid understanding about the potential for great numbers of green jobs to manifest in the United States.

If the climate change issue is removed from the conversation, at least temporarily, the prospects for green careers and renewable energy growth in America are clearer. Many other powerful forces are influencing the development of clean technology—and the jobs that will come with it.

What Are Green Jobs?

There is currently no widely agreed-upon definition for "green jobs." However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other organizations are working to change that. The BLS website currently states that green jobs fall into one of two categories*:

A. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.

B. Jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

A report titled Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 from Clean Edge, Inc., a research and advisory firm dedicated to the clean technology sector, states**:

Green-job naysayers often question the validity of green jobs, stating that there's no clear definition for what constitutes a green job and that any new jobs in clean tech simply displace jobs from other sectors, creating no new net jobs. But clean-tech jobs are not amorphous as these critics claim, and instead represent some of the most dynamic sectors in the technology landscape, including electric vehicles (cars, trucks, and rail), energy storage, green-building materials, advanced lighting, solar power, wind energy, and the smart grid.

Other prominent reports claim that smart financial investments in clean energy, over time, have the potential to create two to four times more jobs than equal investments in the fossil fuel industries. According to Clean Edge, five clean technology sectors are currently showing the most promise for job activity**:

  1. Solar power
  2. Biofuels and biomaterials
  3. Smart grid and energy efficiency
  4. Wind energy
  5. Advanced transportation/vehicles

How Much Do Green Jobs Pay?

Many of these jobs even provide good incomes for entry-level workers. Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 states**:

A four-year college degree is not a prerequisite for entry to the clean-tech playing field. Those with high school or associate degrees can pursue positions in many popular fields like green building, solar power, and wind energy. HVAC Service Technicians ($48,600), Insulation Workers ($33,600), Solar Energy System Installers ($37,700), and Wind Turbine Technicians ($48,300) are only a few of the industry posts offering living-wage median pay to entry-level workers without a bachelor's degree. For higher-ranking, more educated or experienced hands, positions like LEED Architect ($57,100), Wind Construction Superintendent ($76,700), Senior Electrical Engineer ($95,400), and Environmental Engineering Manager ($106,000) are all profitable career choices.

So it's clear that some quality green jobs already exist. But will they be added to in any significant way over the next two decades?

"It is true that such opportunities will only be created if there is sufficient demand for them," says Jeannette Wicks-Lim, an economist at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "Part of the equation here is whether there will be the political will to launch any large-scale effort to support the development of clean energy markets."

Ron Pernick, cofounder and managing director of Clean Edge, believes there are many reasons to stay hopeful. "The clean energy sector is not being driven primarily by climate," he says. He's not deterred by the fact that U.S. lawmakers have failed to enact any kind of legislation that would put a price on carbon. "Does that put a chill on, or even worse, kill clean energy?" he says. "I think the answer is a resounding 'No!' There are so many other variables."

Demand for clean energy and green jobs will arise from influential trends and purposes beyond the need to reduce carbon emissions.

Why Careers in Environmental Technologies Might Depend on the Quest for Independence, Financial Security and Better Health

Pride for country is a hallmark of American culture. So is the desire for independence, security and good health. Each of these U.S. values may provide substantial momentum toward environmental sustainability, along with green jobs in renewable energy and other clean technologies.

While Americans definitely care about having a secure country, the desire for freedom and productive independence runs deeper—a feeling of pride that would arise from contributing to a domestic economy that is not reliant on foreign nations, especially hostile ones, for our energy.

This drive for autonomy means many citizens support expanded exploration and development of coal, oil and gas in the U.S. A December, 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed that 30 percent of respondents still favored increasing the establishment of fossil fuel industries within American borders.

But it's not all about national pride and independence. The immediate concern for most average families and business owners is financial well-being. This is where the concept of security becomes a lot more personal and crosses paths with going green.

"There is extreme volatility in the fossil fuel sector," says Ron Pernick of Clean Edge, Inc. "You're only one natural disaster away, one explosion away, from variable pricing. Prices, on average, for electricity in the country are going up. At the same time, the costs for renewables are going down—in many cases, quite dramatically."

The outdated energy infrastructure of the past century cannot continue to provide affordable fuel and electricity indefinitely. To regain—and sustain—its economic mojo, the U.S. will need to adopt and support newer, greener energy technologies and companies.

Efficiency is considered to be another "fuel" since it can dramatically decrease energy usage and costs. It includes everything from building retrofits like weatherization to upgrades of the electrical grid.

"I actually think that the energy efficiency part of the green jobs/clean energy revolution has the most promise of taking off," says Jeannette Wicks-Lim. "This is because, regardless of one's view on the use of fossil fuels and all the problems you think it does or does not cause, energy efficiency measures will appeal to most households as long as energy costs remain relatively high or rise again. Taking up energy efficiency measures is simply a means of saving money. This is also an area of the economy that does not require a lot of lead time to get workers geared up; nor are there significant technological barriers."

Better Health: A Driver of Future Green Jobs and Environmental Careers?

Warming of the planet seems to get most of the attention when it comes to the side effects of fossil fuel use. But air pollution, to which the burning of coal, oil and gas for energy contributes significantly, can have an even more direct impact on human health.

With baby boomers entering the final phase of life and healthcare costs soaring everywhere, this is an issue that will only grow in importance and gain an ever-increasing share of the spotlight. As such, it could help propel the demand for clean, renewable energy in ways we may not expect.

There is an almost endless stream of medical studies that have examined the health effects of air pollution. It is well-known that the chemicals and particulate matter released as a result of incomplete fuel combustion from automobiles, power plants and heavy industry in urban environments are serious triggers for people with pre-existing breathing problems. Many researchers believe that the high rates of childhood asthma now seen in urban environments—nearly one in ten children suffer from the disease—can be at least partially attributed to daily exposure to air pollution.

Conclusions from countless scientific studies worldwide link the air-polluting byproducts of fossil fuel burning—carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, lead and small particulates—to a host of medical conditions. Most of us are already familiar with the effects that air pollution can have on our allergies or breathing. Illnesses like asthma and bronchitis can be affected by poor air quality. It might come as a shock, however, to know that the smog within our cities could also be contributing to a much larger list of ailments than one would expect. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.

What about other health impacts? Vehicle traffic, for example, doesn't just add to air pollution. It is also a major cause of noise pollution, something city dwellers mostly just accept as a given. But constant exposure to noise can have its own significant impacts on human health and behavior. Because it disrupts sleep, it can lead to problems like mood and mental disorders, fatigue, cardiovascular disease and poor concentration.

Most people would probably prefer clean air and quieter cities and neighborhoods. With the largest segment of the North American population approaching the end of their lives (and wishing to extend and enjoy what remains of them), we might just see a much stronger push for solutions that can bring such a vision to fruition. Clean energy technologies will have to lead the way.

Why a Green Revolution in America Depends on Money

Environmental CareersCreating a green economy will require lots of money. Governments and private investors have already contributed a lot of cash to the cause of environmental technology and green-job creation—with mixed results. But with sustainability driving so much future planning, there's likely much more to come.

Taking action for a cleaner environment is noble, but it is rarely the main reason that big green projects actually end up being undertaken. It's most likely to be the financial bottom line. So when something has as much potential as clean energy technology to positively transform whole nations at the economic level, it's only natural that a lot of money—both private and public—would get thrown in its direction. It's also understandable that some politicians would want to capitalize on the situation and demonstrate to the public that they support such visionary, if costly, endeavors.

Renewable energy has tremendous upside. That's why, with the dire impacts of the latest recession still fresh, many progressive leaders began aggressively touting the idea of environmentally friendly projects and green jobs as a good—some believed quick—way out of America's economic doldrums. It's a notion that received a great amount of hype and media attention. So when Congress passed a new stimulus measure, about $92 billion of the legislated funds were allocated for clean technology and energy efficiency projects in the United States with the hope that hundreds of thousands of new green jobs would be created.

It is unlikely the clean technology sector can count on a steady stream of public financing.

"I believe that the federal government can play a significant role in determining how fast this market grows—via loan guarantee programs, tax credits, direct investment, and the like," says Jeannette Wicks-Lim, economist at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "This, however, is the least predictable factor."

Some state governments are quietly doing a much better job than the federal government, through state-level initiatives and targeted investments. But that is often the case. It frequently takes individual states to begin a trend, making changes at the federal level less politically risky.

"U.S. states like Massachusetts, California, Oregon and others are aggressively pursuing the build-out of their clean energy infrastructures and the jobs that come with them," says Ron Pernick of Clean Edge, Inc. "They are shifting policies and regulatory frameworks, and that is attracting capital and a whole bunch of other things."

Public investment and "green-friendly" legislation is a great lure for private capital. By some estimates, every dollar of public money invested attracts three dollars from the private sector. Big innovations and visionary projects often require hefty private investment to reach large scale. Renewable energy is no exception. According to Clean Edge, the clean technology sector currently receives nearly as much venture capital money as investor-happy sectors like biotechnology, software and health technology.

Total global investments—both public and private—in the clean technology sector show a strong commitment to developing a green infrastructure. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, new investment in the clean-tech sector jumped from $60 billion in 2004 to $310 billion in 2014.

Some economists, though, believe that the United States' portion of those clean technology investments should be bigger. Private investors want to know that America is truly committed to developing its renewable energy sector, and they want to see concrete actions in the form of favorable public policy measures and greater, steadier federal investment.

A recent white paper authored by scholars from across the political spectrum—members of the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute and the Breakthrough Institute—has made many people connected to clean technology sit up and take notice. Although not perfect, the report lays out solid reasons for public investment in clean energy and offers a path forward. At the very least, it provides additional hope that good public policy at the national level is capable of generating the massive tide of green employment in America that so many have promised.

Titled Post-Partisan Power: How a Limited and Direct Approach to Energy Innovation Can Deliver Clean, Cheap Energy, Economic Productivity and National Prosperity, the white paper states***:

Just as federal investment has driven innovation in countless industries over the last century, so too will federal investment in energy technology be central to catalyzing private sector innovation and entrepreneurship in the 21st century energy sector, creating new industries and jobs.

Post-Partisan Power points to the fact that America's federal government has a history of investing in research and development (R&D), education and other programs that led to widespread innovation, infrastructure improvements and advancements directly responsible for maintaining the nation's competitiveness and standard of living. It's an impressive list of achievements:

  • Railroads
  • The federal highway system
  • Radios
  • Nuclear power
  • Aerospace technology
  • Semiconductors
  • Computers
  • Software
  • The Internet
  • Biomedical advancements

So if America wants to keep that winning streak alive, the federal government will have to find a way to pony up more money for renewable energy development.

If it does, huge waves of private capital are likely to follow, along with new green jobs.

Why Global Competition, Domestic Manufacturing and Retiring Baby Boomers Might Increase Green Job Development

Americans don't like to lose, but global competition in the renewable energy sector is fierce. China now leads the clean technology race. And with so much uncertainty about the fate of domestic manufacturing and the coming worker shortage in the energy utility sector, the prospect for a green-job revolution seems to hang in the balance. Will America rise to the challenge and use it to regain a leadership position?

While it seems like a lot of money is being directed at green technologies in North America, the truth is that the biggest investments in clean energy—by far—are happening overseas. China has become the clear leader in renewable energy investments. It's a rapidly industrializing nation with such an insatiable appetite for energy that it now holds the odd distinction of being the leader in both dirty and clean power generation.

A report titled Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 from Clean Edge, Inc. states**:

It may seem contradictory that the world's largest consumer of iron, steel, cement, oil, coal, and meat—and now the world's largest emitter of global greenhouse emissions—is also a clean-tech champion, but that's exactly what's playing out.

"China now leads in solar PV manufacturing," says Ron Pernick of Clean Edge Inc. "[In 2009] it beat out the United States to be the largest installer of wind in the world. It has the largest solar hot water industry on the planet."

This might turn out to be a good thing.

"Competition is good," says Pernick. "Imagine if people worked in a vacuum or isolation. Or, if it's just about climate, then you don't see shifts. But you've got China aggressively pursuing clean tech. You've got Samsung looking to invest, potentially, $10 billion into a build-out of changing itself into a clean-tech company. GE has its Ecomagination program and other commitments it is making. These are wake-up calls."

Clean technology is a key piece of the future global marketplace and prosperous economies. If America wants to be part of that future, it has a whole lot of ground to gain—and quickly. Clean Tech Job Trends 2010 states**:

Barring any significant policy changes by other nations, China-based companies are poised to increasingly dominate as clean-tech employers both domestically and abroad—unsettling news for other nations looking for their companies to gain a competitive clean-tech advantage.

According to this same report, eight of the top 10 employers in the sector—publicly traded companies dedicated solely to clean technology—are foreign companies. That means, right now, most green jobs are being created overseas.

China has been particularly aggressive at luring big companies—even American ones—to establish large research and development operations within its borders. And it has pursued very protectionist trading policies, making it more difficult for other nations to compete in the clean technology sector.

What's emerging is a new race. But, instead of an arms race or a space race like what happened during the Cold War, this one will be for clean energy superiority. Some are calling it the "Green War." In 2009, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China attracted more private investment for renewable energy than the United States. Among the largest drivers of investment are the categories of asset financing for wind and financing for small distributed capacity—essentially, rooftop solar. In 2014, the US was the world's second-largest market for new wind installations, behind China, and third-largest for solar, behind China and Japan.

Will America be able to keep pace with competition so that it, too, can create the good-paying green jobs touted as the future?

"On the one hand, we do need to develop the technologies here within the U.S. borders so that we can benefit from participating in the renewable energy industries," says economist Jeannette Wicks-Lim. "On the other hand, there are a lot of things that we can do right now that would not be susceptible to strong competition from abroad: constructing and maintaining a better, more accessible public transit system and retrofitting private and public buildings and homes. These types of economic activities produce many more jobs per dollar of investment than compared even to investing in renewable power or the fossil fuels industry."

So focusing on retrofitting America's buildings to be much more energy efficient is one way to produce some green jobs at home. But that won't be enough to maintain the nation's competitiveness. America will be forced to take further creative action.

"Competition from China... is a real worry," says Wicks-Lim. "We can't compete on the basis of costs alone—labor costs in particular—nor do I think that we want to unless we want to accept a fall in living standards here in the U.S. Rather, we need to develop some degree of technological advantage or a large efficiency advantage by producing domestically in the U.S. to compete."

Fear of climate change impacts may not currently be producing enough action toward renewable energy development in America, but fear of losing its relatively high living standards and global leadership position may, at some point, get things moving. It will no longer be a matter of idealism, but one of practicality.

And it's practicality that's at the heart of what is shaping another aspect of the green-jobs question: domestic manufacturing.

Domestic Manufacturing: Does it Still Have a Role to Play?

America is currently a service economy. Most employment, by far, occurs in sectors like retail, healthcare and finance. America's manufacturing base—once the envy of other nations—appears to grow less and less significant. Yet, despite all of the layoffs and empty factories, domestic manufacturing still exists—and even thrives—in small pockets of the country.

Clean technology products (such as wind turbines, solar panels and components for hybrid vehicles) are, in fact, being manufactured in America, albeit on a significantly smaller scale than in some other countries. Nevertheless, cynics like to believe that U.S. manufacturers cannot compete with their foreign counterparts. They point to the much lower wages and better tax incentives in developing nations.

Yet, if minimizing labor costs and getting the best tax breaks were the only considerations for renewable energy manufacturers, then foreign companies probably wouldn't be setting up factories in the United States—providing jobs to Americans. But that is exactly what is happening.

For instance, a Danish company called Vestas has invested more than $1 billion in Colorado since 2007. With three factories running, another under construction, more than 1,000 local workers already producing components for wind turbines, and further expansion plans underway, Vestas is one of a number of companies that sees a bright future for green manufacturing in America, and is making the commitments to prove it.

Clean-tech companies like Vestas recognize the benefits of manufacturing their products as close to their end users as possible. Solar and wind power components can be heavy and very large, so shipping them across oceans is often prohibitively expensive, not to mention a logistical nightmare. Port fees are rising, as is the cost of diesel fuel. Throw in issues like quality control, building an efficient supply chain and sourcing qualified labor, and the case for domestic manufacturing becomes compelling. So, in markets like the U.S. that have a growing demand for renewable energy and lots of skilled workers, many green technology companies believe local manufacturing makes the most sense.

Of course, new green manufacturing jobs in the U.S. aren't going to be "outsource-proof" just because a few companies currently happen to find that local manufacturing provides the best return on their bottom lines. Things can—and do—change quickly in a global economy that's driven by cost-cutting measures. The only thing that can ensure that America retains a healthy number of green manufacturing jobs is the will of politicians to enact comprehensive legislation that supports the development and global competitiveness of domestic clean technology industries.

"I think that cultivating a thriving clean energy manufacturing base—whether it is wind turbines, PV panels, electric cars, etc.,—will require an actual industrial policy aimed at doing so," says Wicks-Lim. "We are already starting behind other countries. Public policy that supports the development of clean energy here in the U.S. creates the environment in which private businesses can thrive and grow these new markets."

Coming Mass Retirements = Green Opportunity?

The companies that provide America with energy are facing a crisis. Very soon, about half of all utility workers are expected to retire. These are the people that keep our lights on, our devices charged and our buildings heated. They restore power to us after a storm and make sure we don't experience long blackouts. In the near future, though, lots of them will be gone—many taking critical knowledge with them—and will leave behind a massive shortage of skilled energy workers at a time when the country needs them most.

This situation would be challenging enough if utilities only had to worry about keeping their existing, decaying systems running. But with the imperative of a national clean energy future, these companies must recruit new workers that understand the current energy paradigm and have the skills necessary for operating the green technology systems that are already being brought on line.

There is another big element to this crisis. In order for clean technologies like wind, solar and geothermal to play a mainstream role in the nation's energy consumption, a smart electrical grid will have to be constructed nationwide that can distribute the green power more efficiently. It will be a gigantic undertaking, requiring savvy workers with specialized training.

These challenges represent a fantastic opportunity for anyone that wants to work at the forefront of the green energy revolution. In fact, in terms of the potential for steady green jobs over the next several decades, the utility sector seems like the surest bet right now.

How America's Current Status as a Follower in the Clean Energy Race Threatens to Derail the Vision of a Green Economy

Environmental CareersWhile there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful that a green-jobs revolution will materialize in America, there are also still a number of big obstacles that could stop any progress towards prosperous sustainability. The challenge might be even greater than going to the moon. Despite the uncertainties, though, many opportunities exist right now for anyone hoping to have a career in renewable energy and clean technology. Several U.S. cities are home to burgeoning green industries, and new environmental training programs are sprouting up all over the place. So, what will the future be?

Despite this progress, the United States is one of the few industrialized nations that still don't have comprehensive, long-term energy plans.

"One thing that's really important in all of this is that energy sectors are subsidy and regulatory dependent," says Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge Inc. "Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a fool or trying to pull one over on you. That's just the reality." He says the oil, coal and gas industries, the nuclear industry and the renewable energy industries all rely on substantial government support. The problem is that, at present, the U.S. clean energy sector isn't getting the kind of regulatory assistance it needs in order to compete on an equal footing with fossil fuels.

Creating a vibrant, lasting clean technology sector in America that produces green jobs will also require bigger, more strategic financial investments from the federal government in research and development. History proves that, despite what some conservative critics might say, public money (along with smart policy) can make the key difference between progress and stagnation. A report from Clean Edge, titled Clean Edge Job Trends 2010, states**:

Think of what the Internet industry might look like if the U.S. government hadn't invested in the build-out of its predecessor—ARPANET. The clean-tech sector relies similarly on the deployment of new infrastructure, like a smart grid with enhanced, modernized grid infrastructure to carry green electrons and incorporate charging stations to support all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

So far, much of the stimulus money that Congress designated for U.S. renewable energy projects has gone to foreign corporations (particularly for wind power), creating green manufacturing jobs overseas rather than at home. In his article, "Blown Away," for the Investigative Reporting Workshop, reporter Russ Choma writes****:

Including other forms of energy, like solar and geothermal, 79 percent ($1.71 billion) has gone to foreign companies.

The U.S. Department of Energy claims that the initial outlay to foreign companies that manufacture the components for renewable energy projects on American soil will help spur demand for more green works at home, which will, at some point, create a better environment to support domestic companies. The problem is that using taxpayer money to create disproportionately more jobs overseas at a time when Americans desperately need those jobs creates a big credibility problem for the government. It's a situation that could threaten the public's trust in future green initiatives.

Beyond this are other obstacles that complicate the prospects for an American green-collar revolution.

One of those hurdles is that we're in the position of having to come from behind. Clean technology requires long-term investment. Renewable energy technologies are still very young in comparison to oil, coal and natural gas. There are substantial technological barriers to overcome if they are ever to achieve widespread adoption in the U.S. The innovations that are needed will not happen quickly. Even if they do, American utility companies face a lengthy transition from an energy infrastructure that's been optimized for fossil fuels. In the meantime, foreign nations enjoy a giant lead, along with the green jobs.

Another potential obstacle goes back to the dominance of China in the clean technology sector. A number of renewable energy technologies—things like wind turbine components or batteries used in hybrid and full-electric vehicles—require metals that are scarce on this planet. China currently mines about 97 percent of these essential rare earth metals. This could spell disaster for much of the American clean-tech sector if the U.S. ever decides to get into a trade war with China. Perhaps the only solution to this dilemma is for American companies to out-innovate their foreign competitors with technologies that don't need such rare commodities.

To the Moon, or Bust

President Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union address, said:

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't even there yet. NASA didn't exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology—an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Many pundits (and late-night comedians) have criticized Obama for comparing the challenges before us now to the more glamorous challenge of going to the moon and overtaking the Soviets. But the problems we currently face could be just as big, and maybe even more important.

Climate change may not inspire everyone, but what about the implications of playing economic loser to the rest of world? The North American lifestyle we enjoy depends on the U.S. retaining its superpower status. In the clean energy race, America is now a follower.

"My feeling is that we have before us some really great opportunities to meet some really pressing needs," says Jeannette Wicks-Lim. "That, by itself, makes me hopeful. How politicians actually end up handling these issues, I just can't predict."

Pernick agrees. He says, "I'm a pragmatic optimist. And I choose to be an optimist because it's certainly better than the alternative. But I understand that shifts take time and that there are forces at play. In the U.S., there is a dumbing down of politics. Half-truths or non-truths get taken for reality. That's problematic."

Americans might be culturally and politically divided from each other in many different ways, but the bigger picture is common to everyone. Our green jobs future will be decided by whether or not we collectively choose to step back, recognize that fact and rise to meet our greatest challenge.

In the meantime, green jobs do exist right now. No, green energy jobs aren't everywhere just yet. But you can be part of the initial spark that is igniting in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Denver, San Diego, Houston, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Sacramento and others.

Environmental training programs are sprouting up for fields that are already in high demand like home weatherization and energy auditing, wind turbine manufacturing and maintenance, and solar fabrication and installation. More and more colleges are offering engineering and business programs with a special emphasis on clean technology.

Despite all of the uncertainties, the opportunity exists now to match your career to the aspirations you hold for America.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Measuring Green Jobs, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

** Clean Edge, Clean Tech Job Trends 2010, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

*** Politico, Post-Partisan Power: How a Limited and Direct Approach to Energy Innovation Can Deliver Clean, Cheap Energy, Economic Productivity and National Prosperity, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

**** Investigative Reporting Workshop, Blown Away, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

Pew Research Center, More Say There Is Solid Evidence of Global Warming, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

Gallup, Americans Most Likely to Say Global Warming Is Exaggerated, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

World Health Organization, Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

World Health Organization, Guidelines for Community Noise, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Global Trends in Clean Energy Investment, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

Forbes, China Leads In Renewable Investment — Again!, website last visited on August 19, 2015.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2015 Factbook, Sustainable Energy in America, website last visited on August 19, 2015.