A Greener European Economy can Bring a Double Dividend

Towards a Greener Economy: The Social Dimension examines the green economy in the European Union, especially the labour market and employment aspects. It focuses on the 15 high carbon industries which produce approximately 85 per cent of production emissions, and which represent approximately 12% of employment. The core of the report is its discussion of the green policy measures currently in use in the EU, and the conclusion that a “double dividend” – greater decent work opportunities and a greener economy – is possible if environmental, economic and social policies are integrated in the right policy mix. The report concludes by identifying topics requiring further research. Towards a Greener Economy was released in November 2011, and is the result from the cooperation between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion and the International Institute for Labour Studies of the ILO.



Towards a Greener Economy: The Social Dimension is available at:


Canadian Municipalities Invest in Infrastructure Projects to Boost Green Economy

At its Sustainable Communities Conference, February 8-10, 2012, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a new policy document, Building Canada’s Green Economy: The Municipal Role. The FCM states that municipalities build and operate most of Canada’s environmental infrastructure, from water treatment plants to public transit to recycling and waste disposal services. In areas such as land-use planning, transportation, and building standards, municipalities have direct or indirect influence over 44% of Canada’s GHG emissions.

Building Canada’s Green Economy describes existing programs such as Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) and the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), which together have invested over $145 million in projects that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 350,000 tonnes. In addition, a $550 million federal endowment to the FCM is reported to have been invested in capital projects which have yielded 32,650 jobs. The report also compares the potential job multiplier effect of municipal jobs vs. the oil and gas extraction industry: it estimates transit and passenger transportation operations would create over 20 jobs per million dollars invested. Extraction activities, the report states, generate roughly 3 jobs per million dollars invested, while support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction generate about 8 jobs per million.



Building Canada’s Green Economy: The Municipal Role is available at:

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Economy website is at:


Co-operatives as a Green Agent

A study by the Canadian Co-operative Association examines co-operatives that are creating and facilitating renewable energy development in Canada. Of the 71 such co-ops in Canada in 2010, 26% are in the biofuel sector, 22% in the wind sector, 3% in solar, 8% in biomass, 3% in hydro, and 28% in “varied”. The report describes the organizational structure, stage of development, and geographical distribution, and lists each co-operative by name, address, and web address.


Co-operatives helping fuel a green economy is at:


Employment in Renewable Energy

State of Renewable Energies in Europe, a bilingual document in French and English, was released in February and compares the main statistics on the renewable energy market in the 27 European Union countries for the years 2009 and 2010. Official 2010 data will only be available by 2013, but the group responsible, EurObserv’ER, has proven to be remarkably accurate in its past estimates. It describes and quantifies 9 renewable sectors including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal. For each type of energy, and for each country, it provides estimates of direct and indirect job creation: it estimates total renewable energy based employment at 1.11 million people in 2010 – a 25% increase from 2009. The top employer is solid biomass, followed by photovoltaic and wind power. The final chapter focuses on seven EU regions which have particularly high amounts of RES investments in 2010.



State of Renewable Energies in Europe is available at:

http://www.eurobserv-er.org/pdf/barobilan11.pdf, with more detailed data provided and searchable at the EurObserv’ER website at: http://www.eurobserv-er.org/


Related reports which discuss the market (but not employment) for renewables:

Wind in power: 2011 European statistics (February 2012) from the European Wind Energy Association at:



Global wind statistics 2011 (4 pages) is available from the Global Wind Energy Council at: http://www.gwec.net/fileadmin/images/News/Press/GWEC_-_Global_Wind_Statistics_2011.pdf

Climate Change, Oceans and Fisheries

In late February, the Global Partnership for Oceans was launched – a coalition of international organizations such as the UNEP, UNESCO, FAO, and non-governmental organizations such as WWF and Nature Conservancy, to address the challenges to oceans management and governance, including over-fishing, marine degradation and habitat loss. These are the same issues that were raised by the Royal Society of Canada in February in its comprehensive 300-page report, Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity. Ten Canadian marine research scientists examined the state of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans as a result of overfishing, aquaculture “and all the things we do that drive climate change”. The report explains the real and future threats to biodiversity, discusses Canada’s international and national legal obligations and policies, and offers “seven recommendations for action that will take Canada from negligence to effectiveness in managing its fisheries and preserving marine biodiversity, for the benefit of Canadians and all the world’s people”.



Global Partnership for Oceans website is at: http://www.globalpartnershipforoceans.org/


The full report, Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture is available at: http://www.rsc.ca/documents/RSCMarineBiodiversity2012_ENFINAL.pdf.

The 20 page summary document, which focuses on policy, is in English at:

and in French at:

California Green Economy Grew Despite the Recession

Next 10 of San Francisco has published an analysis of California’s “core green economy”. While employment and business growth varies across the 15 green industry segments measured, there was overall employment growth of 1% in green manufacturing in 2009-2010, despite the recession. For the period 1995 to 2010, job creation in the clean energy/materials manufacturing sector increased by 53% while jobs in the rest of the manufacturing sector decreased by 18%.



Many shades of green at:

Green Career Guide Aimed at Women

The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, in early February 2012, released Why Green is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career. The career guide was written under contract to the Women’s Bureau by Public Policy Associates, Inc. and Wider Opportunities for Women. It is designed for workers and educators, career counselors and training providers, and discusses a range of in-demand and emerging jobs, as well as job training opportunities and career development tools.



Green Jobs for Women website at:http://www.dol.gov/wb/media/green.htm includes links to the career guide, transcripts from teleconferences in 2010, and details of regional training pilot projects.


Why green is your color is available at:



Green Jobs teleconferences, including PowerPoint presentations, fact sheets and transcripts of teleconferences are at:



Northern Gateway Pipeline Developments

The Canadian Energy Research Institute has released Oil Spills and First Nations: Exploring Environmental and Land Issues Surrounding the Northern Gateway Pipeline. It provides a good explanation of the issues and the process underway with the Northern Gateway pipeline review. According to this document, environmental issues are paramount and job creation is a very minor concern among the First Nations. The report is available at:

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) presented evidence to the National Energy Board on January 31, calling for a delay in the decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline until a national energy policy is in place. The union includes a memo by Michael McCracken, principal of Informetrica Inc., who was retained by CEP to assess the potential impact of the Northern Gateway project. His report estimates 26,000 jobs would be lost if bitumen extracted in Alberta was exported rather than being upgraded in Canada. See the CEP Evidence at: http://www.cep.ca/sites/cep.ca/files/docs/en/120201_Northern_Gateway_Project_CEP_Evidence_00389312.pdf, and the Memorandum from Informetrica, titled Employment Consequences of Exporting Bitumen, at:  http://www.cep.ca/sites/cep.ca/files/docs/en/120201_Northern_Gateway_Project_Attachment_A_00389307.pdf

Oil Sands Pollution

A February 23 vote by the European Union has ended in a stalemate, so that the issue of whether crude from Canada’s oil sands should be classed as dirtier than other fuels will be debated by the full European Council in Spring or early Summer. Read a CBC summary at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/02/22/oilsands-european-union-vote.html.
A paper by University of Victoria scientists Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart calculates the climate impact of producing the oil sands. “The Alberta Oil Sands and climate”, in Nature Climate Change was published online February 19, 2012 and is available (for a fee) at:http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1421.html. Neil Swart’s website provides a summary of the paper and selected data at: http://climate.uvic.ca/people/nswart/Alberta_Oil_Sands_climate.html. For a discussion of the Weaver Swart paper, go to the Pembina Institute blog by P.J. Partington on February 27, at:  http://www.pembina.org/blog/612. Another study, released by the American Geophysical Union in its Geophysical Research Letters on February 22, is unique in using satellite data to calculate the overall extent of the oil sands’ air quality impacts including the giant dump trucks, huge refining facilities where the bitumen is processed, and more. Read a summary at:  http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2012/2012-12.shtml.

Youth Interested in Green Careers

The latest World Youth Report released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs on February 6, 2012 was based on a four-week consultation period, where youth around the world were invited to submit their opinions and comments. There was great concern that educational systems are not adequate and that the skills taught are not relevant. Many identified entrepreneurship as a preferred career path, and many were interested in innovation in green technologies and communications. Read the press release and summary at: