Green energy job growth in Massachusetts following New Climate Change report published by the United Nations

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On August 9, 2021, the United Nations Climate Change Panel published one of the most comprehensive climate change assessments to date, which called for worldwide action and reform regarding waste, consumption, and fuel usage. The report stated, “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land.” 


According to this article by Reuters, the primary problems the report identified were rising temperatures, extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, longer and more intense seasons, gradual sea level rise, and lower ice levels in the arctic. Most importantly, the report claimed that humanity is running out of time to turn the situation around.


However, there is controversy over the report. Many reputable news sources are claiming that United Nations officials on the Climate Change Panel that published the report used biased data to make the situation look worse than it actually is.


The full report by the United Nations is linked here.


In Massachusetts, the number of green or clean energy jobs has increased in recent years, but finding the exact number is no easy task. The definition of what constitutes such jobs can vary significantly. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is tasked with tracking such jobs. This information below was provided by the Clean Energy Center, and the methodology for its statistics, described here, includes information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and surveys.


The survey was mainly administered by telephone and email to industries and organizations in Massachusetts by the U.S. Energy and Employment report (USEER). It was primarily organized in two parts; data was taken from all previously known or recorded energy-related organizations, and the USEER contacted potential energy-related organizations and businesses, which often lead to the discovery and data of new or unrecorded green jobs. Thus, the exact number of green energy jobs in Massachusetts is still blurry.


Table 1

Year Number of Clean Energy Jobs
2010 60,274
2011 64,310
2012 71,523
2013 79,994
2014 88,372
2015 98,895
2016 105,212
2017 109,226
2018 110,767
2019 111,836


As seen in Table 1, the number of green energy jobs has steadily been increasing since 2010. According to the Center, in 2019 clean energy was a $14 billion industry in Massachusetts, growing from $4.8 in 2013. The majority of those in the sector are employed by small businesses. These jobs include but are not limited to project and construction development of green energy plants, education and research of green energy, and component manufacturing of green energy materials and machinery.


Figure 1


Figure one shows the specific number of jobs in green energy sectors in Massachusetts. According to, Massachusetts ranks second in energy efficiency and has employees in all 14 of its counties who work in green energy sectors. The Commonwealth also anticipates creating more environmentally friendly jobs in the future and hopes to severely cut fossil fuel emissions by 2025. 


As the world changes, the nature of employment changes, too. According to US News and World Reports, Massachusetts ranks as the third greenest state, behind Vermont and New York. As more data is reported on climate change, the Commonwealth hopes to continue being a leading example in the nation for how to move towards a greener and less polluted future. But to do so, we must continue to be cognizant of the changing environment and the unconscious human harm our actions can cause.


Nathan Bornstein is a Roger Perry Intern at Pioneer Institute. He is a rising senior high school student at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His favorite subjects at school are history, math, and foreign language.