Estimating the Scale of the US Green Economy Within the Global Context – Palgrave Communications – article

Estimating the Scale of the US Green Economy Within the Global Context

Lucien Georgeson, Mark Maslin | Palgrave Communications


The green economy has previously been defined and measured in various, but limited, ways. This article presents an estimation of the scale of and employment in the US Green Economy using a data triangulation approach that uses many sources of data and multiple types of data. This can give a suggestion of the green economy’s role in economic development and employment at the country level. It also makes it possible to compare the scale of ‘green jobs’ to employment in fossil fuel-related sectors, and to compare the US green economy to other economies. Through the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGSS) dataset, the US green economy is estimated to represent $1.3 trillion in annual sales revenue and to employ nearly 9.5 million workers; both of which have grown by over 20% between 2012/13 and 2015/16. Comparison with China, OECD members and the G20 countries suggests that the US is estimated to have a greater proportion of the working age population employed (4%) and higher sales revenue per capita in the green economy. Estimated values for other countries suggests that they too have significant production and consumption in the green economy and the US should consider, as other economies are, developing energy, environmental and educational policies relevant to the green economy to remain competitive in these areas. Given the shortcomings of other data sources, this information can contribute to understanding the potential impact of changes to federal-level policies on economic sectors that are vital to combating climate change and protecting the environment.


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