What is a Green Job?

Turns out the guy who gasses up a school bus has a green job.

When Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner John Galvin balked on what qualifies as a green job under the agency definition, Issa responded, “Just answer the question.”

“Does someone who sweeps the floor at a company that makes solar panels -- is that a green job?” Issa asked.

“Yes,” replied Galvin, who also acknowledged that a bike-repair shop clerk, a hybrid-bus driver, any school bus driver and “the guy who puts gas in a school bus” are all defined as green jobs.

He also acknowledged that an oil lobbyist, if his work is related to environmental issues, would also have a green job.

It gets better.  Apparently, when I worked at the Exxon refinery in Baytown, TX, I had a green job:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states a green job is either: a business that produces goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or a job in which a worker's duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources

I have never encountered an industrial engineering job anywhere that was not concerned with having their processes use fewer natural resources.

I would argue the greenest of jobs are held by oil and other commodity speculators and traders.  They ensure that prices at all times accurately match our current understanding of the scarcity of each resource.  Without these accurate pricing signals, all efforts to properly invest to use more or fewer of these materials would be impossible.  Just look at the "success" of investments like Solyndra that were made irregardless of these market pricing signals.


  1. Don B:

    A school bus driver may have a green job, but if she "excessively idles," she is subject to a $500,000 fine by Obama's EPA.


  2. me:

    See, on of the fine things about where I work is that if I proudly showed off statistics about my department like this, I'd be shown the door within a week. Question of the week: are incompetent administrators crooks are just what the voting public deserves?

  3. DoctorT:

    "...are incompetent administrators crooks [or] just what the voting public deserves?"

    Both. We've had generations of expanding government powers (in the hands of inept bureaucrats) because when people are unhappy about something they loudly proclaim: "There ought to be a law."

    Too few people believe that voluntary contracts are better than government-enforced laws. Workers who want safer conditions can negotiate for them or work elsewhere. Homeowners who want safer bathrooms can request and pay for installation of GFI outlets. Drivers who want reduced car insurance rates can accept policies that pay less for medical costs when injured persons were not wearing a seat belt. People who want lower health insurance costs can exercise regularly, eat appropriately, and find insurers that reduce the premiums of healthy policy holders. Workers who want more pay can accept contracts with fewer annual vacation days and sick days. Worker whos want more vacation time can negotiate lower annual salaries. These types of interactions do not require the heavy hand of government with its 'one-size-fits-all' and 'zero-tolerance' approaches.

  4. Mark:

    This is similar to the statistical accounting of employment that is much of the basis of the disappearance of "manufacturing jobs". Back in the olden days, before outsourcing and computerization, a manufacturer might employ dozens of people to do payroll and similar clerical tasks. All of those jobs were classified as "manufacturing". So now, one person can do the payroll job in a matter of hours, minutes really that probably took 10 people a full week to do, and much of this has been moved to specialist outside the company. Multiply that by many, many different jobs and that is most of the manufacturing job loss.

  5. joe:

    woo-hoo, I have a green job helping drill oil and gas wells more efficiently. it's a shame i can't come home do my green job in the usa.

  6. Jack K:

    Great post, please just don't use the non-word "irregardless."

  7. me:

    It strikes me that organizational size is really the relevant criterion here: small businesses and even small, locally empowered administration can work extremely well. It's the large orgs with their politics that always kill efficiency (and my patience and composure).

    Food for thought.

  8. Smock Puppet, DHMO Prophet of Doom:

    OOPs. I just farted. Does that mean my job is no longer "green"?

  9. bob sykes:

    This is actually funny, although it shows how ignorant our rulers are. Antiplanner published data some time ago that showed that on a passenger-mile basis buses had about the same fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions as passenger cars. The reason being that buses cruise around most of the day empty.

    Both buses and cars, however, are much more efficient than trains of any kind.

  10. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA):

    What I do for a living is find ever-more-efficient ways of capturing solar energy, converting it into a marketable product, and selling that product at a profit. IOW, I'm a farmer. It's one of the "green"-est jobs out there, which highlights the utter banality of even framing the discussion in such terms.

    This leftie feel-good era in which intentions matter more than results cannot end soon enough. Oh, yeah, eventually all farms will be organic ... uh-huh. And I say that as a farmer first certified organic in 1985.

    Most of "green" is either ego-stroking ... or a front for higher taxes, more regulation, and transnational government. As opposed to normal conservation and stewardship in which we can all rejoice, for example the fact that wild Atlantic salmon are running in the Connecticut River for the first time in over 300 years, and you can eat raw oysters out of Long Island Sound less than 30 miles from downtown Manhattan.

  11. Jack S:

    I have come to the conclusion that many individuals have to be lacking basic common sense skills to be promoted to a upper management government or political position. You must also have refined skills of lying, telling half truths and of being of low morale character. And you must be capable of giving yourself double the pay and pension benefits compared to the civilian world.

  12. TXJim:

    Back in the 90's I worked in the "environmental business" and got a chance to see first hand what it was really about. Superfund sites are primarily ATM machines for special interests. They are interested in dragging the cleanup out as long as possible. The in-plant cleanup jobs that were under the control of the producers were by far the most efficient.

    BTW Coyote I spent a lot of time on the ship channel and occasionally worked in Baytown Exxon. I liked that place. The engineers and the field people were great to work with.

    One of my most embarrasing "environmental business" moments happened when I was working at Baytown Exxon. I drove through the Baytown tunnel and a 100lb bag of diatomaceous earth (DE) fell off the back of my truck. Huge dust cloud. Zero visibilty. Shut down the tunnel for two hours. Made the news. Helicopter shots showing what looked like smoke coming out of both ends of the tunnel. Thankfully there were no car wrecks. The Exxon engineer assigned to manage our project soon figured out I was responsible. The joker never let me forget about it the rest of the time I was there. At every morning's tailgate meeting he said the only way we could do the job better was to bring in more DE.

    The tunnel was shut down permanently shortly thereafter and I always felt I had a hand in speeding its demise.

  13. Thalpy:

    These loons should only be given the right to dress themselves-nothing else.

  14. Another Ian:

    Some widening of the definitions!

    "In comments at Andrew Bolt on the recent US green jobs enquiry


    “I guess that by the above definitions it would include a coal miner who is re cycling old and previously unused vegitation

    Geoffc3 of Eden (Reply)
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (10:31am)

    Geoffc3 replied to Geoffc3
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (04:23pm)

    And a power house worker who is recycling it into useful electricity.

    The list is endless/

    doomy of nq replied to Geoffc3
    Sun 10 Jun 12 (06:18pm)

    That is one of the most relevant comment that I have seen on the issue of this farce since this idiocy started. No doubt, Big Ted will have a comment that you are a blatant denier.


  15. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert:

    >>>> What is a Green Job?

    In actuality, Mark Ruffalo, Ed Norton, Eric Bana, and Lou Ferrigno are the only guys I can think of who ACTUALLY have Green Jobs.

  16. andy:

    Green and Environment Jobs were heralded as the way forward to help save the earth and to combat climate change, enhance conservation efforts and halt species decline. But just how far have we come in the past 10 years writes Andrew Coleman for ADC Environment Limited. "There are several studies of the jobs market and the scope for creating a successful career in this field, but is environmental protection a vocation that I would encourage any undergraduate to follow?" (writes Andrew) "Until 2008 there was a tremendous growth pretty much all niches of environmentalism. The trend followed a similar pattern to the tech boom, and the current situation is also the same...the 'bubble burst." "Although there has seen a marginal growth in the years post 2008, growth remains subdued. Previously bouyant areas such as 'organics' 'ecology' and 'climate change' have continued to tread water." The full report can be seen here http://www.environmentjobs.com/news-article.asp?n=134&news=The%20Future%20of%20Green%20and%20Environment%20Jobs "The organic market is predominantly a consumer driven market, and affected by price, customer spend, inflation and employment. In the minority are the organic diehards that will continue to by organic produce irrespective of price and quantity - in favour of a 'lifestyle decision'. The organic market has nose dived since 2008, but it is my opinion that this will become 'part and parcel' of the Fairtrade consumerism and will once again grow. (Fairtrade has not been affected by the global recession but has in fact grown)." "Ecology is affected by private sector business and to a lesser extent by public sector pay. Without developments there is little demand for the services of ecology consultancy services. Less demand creates a stagnant job market. There will however, always be a seasonal demand for ecologists." "Climate Change (CC) is affected by both public and private sector spend. But unlike other specialisms, it has been seen to be at the mercy of climate sceptics and conflicting reports about the integrity of climate data. CC is undoubtedly affecting the globe and is integral to many jobs. However, private sector developments, R&D and the resulting increase in the jobs market has not materialised as would have been expected." "...Onto renewables. Renewables are the holy grail. However, it is my opnion that the future for renewables is fusion energy. Fusion energy requires little physical space and creates energy thousands of times higher (per input) than any other form of energy creation (nuclear aside). However, there is little R&D into this potentially planet saving energy resource. It is my belief that solar, wind and wave technology are too unreliable, labour intensive, invasive, costly and ineffective." We are currently collating market data and hope to publish some statistics and trends later in 2013.