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China's Global Dominance in Green Jobs Growing, Report Says

Houston is rising U.S. star in green jobs race; Mexico quietly competes with Asian giants as solar factories sprout south of the border

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 6, 2010

China is prevailing in the global race for green jobs in sectors from solar panels to advanced lighting, and appears to be on an unstoppable upward path, an annual report by cleantech research firm said on Wednesday.

The Chinese government spent $34.6 billion last year to propel its low-carbon economy, more than any other nation and almost double what the U.S. invested. The country is now headquarters for six of the biggest renewable energy employers—up from three in 2008—according to .

Ron Pernick, managing director of Clean Edge and a report author, called the economic giant's "meteoric" surge "very striking." But, he said, it is "not a fait accompli that China will dominate" across the entire industry.

There is "serious competition on the global playing field," Pernick told SolveClimate News.

The report said clean energy is spawning millions of high-paying green jobs worldwide, even as the global economy continues to sputter.

Total jobs surpassed three million in 2009, recent data from global research group finds. China accounted for 700,000 of that amount, due in large part to measures that promote solar heating.

But Brazil, South Korea, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and other nations are still very much in the game, as clean-energy manufacturing grows and becomes more complex.

Clean Edge identified more than two dozen top cleantech job sectors, including solar energy storage, green building materials and smart-grid devices.

The authors said the findings should dispel naysayers' claims that green jobs merely displace employment in other sectors and add no new net jobs.

"Clean-tech jobs are not amorphous as these critics claim, and instead represent some of the most dynamic sectors in the technology landscape," the report said.

"There's no way that any country is going to dominate in every one of those," Pernick said, adding, "The cleantech revolution is going to be a highly dispersed one, and highly distributed."

"Wake-Up Call" for U.S.

Still, Pernick called China's emerging dominance a "wake-up call" for U.S. lawmakers. "Time is running out for us to take a more serious, concerted approach...at the national level," he said.

The U.S. government devoted $50 billion of the $800 billion federal stimulus package to develop cleantech factory jobs. "But results of this attempted manufacturing revival in the U.S. are decidedly mixed," the report said.

Some 70 percent of the parts in renewable energy installations are manufactured overseas, according to estimates from the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmental groups, labor unions and politicians.

Part of the reason is cheap labor costs in Asia. But Clean Edge also faults the lack of a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that would require more use of solar, wind and other sources, and provide a long-term market signal to manufacturers. Around 30 countries have such policies in place, including China, which has targeted 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

"We believe that the lack of a strong and robust RPS puts countries like the U.S. at a significant disadvantage," the report said.

Another policy absent in America is a national feed-in tariff program like the one that made Germany the world's largest market for solar power. The U.S. also needs significant regulatory and financial support, including "billions in loan guarantees," the report said.

"There are no subsidy-free or regulatory-free energy sources on the planet—whether it's oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind or solar," Pernick said.

Silicon Valley Leads, Houston Surprises

In the U.S., solar power continues to create the most green jobs, followed by biofuels, smart grid, energy efficiency, wind power and clean vehicles, the report said.

California is the national leader, with four of its cities in the top 15 metro areas for cleantech jobs. San Francisco and Silicon Valley ranked first, with Los Angeles coming in second, San Diego seventh and Sacramento fifteenth.

Green = green in dollars

China is definitely not the most eco friendly country, yet by taking on so many green jobs it's proving that today green is starting to mean the color of money...

I actually have created a

I actually have created a directory of career sections of nearly 210 companies nationwide.

Check it out!



I find it's best to check each company from a-z in series. Working from the top down. Doing it religiously, as if it were your job to get a job!

Anyways, good luck all!

I was looking for a job back

I was looking for a job back in May, after we moved from DC to Houston. I was having a very hard time keeping track of where I had applied. I literally applied to hundreds of jobs. With all my spare time, I put together a simple website with all the landing pages of the open positions at well over 200 companies nationwide.

For those of you out there, looking for a job. Here's the website:

I got a job in the beginning of July, making more than I did in DC, so we're very happy with the move. But I figure others may still be able to use the site.

I'm looking for suggestions to expand the list as well, so please let me know!

Good Luck!

Yes, China is not Green

China's crude oil and coal consumption continue to rise dramatically. I doubt very seriously China is building solar and wind to be green. This is just part of a mixed energy portfolio for a huge consumer. They can build solar and wind products cheaper, their construction costs are cheaper and they don't have the massive delays and costs associated with environmental permitting that occurs in the U.S.

China - It's just not green

It should also be of interest to note that since 2007, China has spent over $230 billion on crude oil purchase and "loan for energy" deals to secure future crude oil supplies. They could easily become the dominant global crude player in the near future.

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