By Eric Roston
That’s why Maslin and lead author Lucien Georgeson accumulated their own data on the U.S. green economy, drawing on hundreds of often private databases containing granular, real-world business and transaction statistics. They concluded that almost 9.5 million Americans, or about 4% of the workforce, are employed in a “green economy” that generates $1.4 trillion in annual revenue, or about 7% of U.S. annual GDP.
That’s about 16.5% of the green economy worldwide, according to the analysis published in Palgrave Communications.
The numbers rose more than 20% over the 2013-2016 fiscal years, led by the renewable energy sector. Growth was also seen in already established environmental businesses, including air pollution, recycling and waste management, land remediation and water treatment.
What the analysis calls “low-carbon” sectors—including electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and green finance—are making an up-and-coming contribution as well.
The U.S. is ahead of China and other nations, but its lead may not last as other nations align national and state-level policies with green growth. Next steps for the research include updating the findings beyond 2016, and eventually applying their database-diving approach to assemble a better picture of global green trade.