Low-carbon labor pool growing, study finds

Report finds low-carbon employment growing worldwide, but says renewable energy's future in the U.S. is uncertain because of political issues.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  May 12, 2014 at 10:02 AM
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, May 12 (UPI) -- There are more than 6 million people worldwide who get their paychecks from jobs tied to the renewable energy sector, an Emirati study finds.

The International Renewable Energy Agency, which has headquarters in Abu Dhabi, published a study Sunday finding 6.5 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2013, compared with the 5.7 million directly or indirectly employed in the low-carbon economy in 2012.

"The [renewable energy] sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide," IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said in a statement.

IRENA found the largest employers by country were China, Brazil and the United States. In terms of which sector was providing the most employment gains, the agency said in its report that solar power, biofuels and wind were leading the way.

Offshore wind is focused largely in Europe, while solar power was dominating the low-carbon economies of Asia. IRENA said renewable energy's future in the United States was uncertain because of political issues.

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama said he ordered $2 billion in energy efficiency upgrades for federal buildings, including an overhaul of the solar panels installed on the White House.

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