US ‘green economy’ generates $1.3 trillion and employs millions, new study finds

  • The “green economy” in America employs more than 9.5 million people, according to the University College London study.
  • The researchers compiled data from subsections of the broader economy such as electric vehicles, waste management and renewable energy.
  • Measuring the green economy’s impact in the United States is difficult because the government doesn’t collect official data.

The green economy is driving growth and job creation in the United States, but as the rest of the world catches up, the U.S. will have to enact new and supportive policies to remain competitive, a new study from University College London found.

GP: Wind turbines and solar panels
Palm Springs, California
Murat Taner | Photographer’s Choice | Getty Images

The green economy generates $1.3 trillion in annual sales revenue in the United States, while creating 9.5 million full-time jobs, climatologist Mark Maslin and researcher Lucien Georgeson said in their study published in the online journal Palgrave Communications.

This growing part of the economy is increasingly important since the United States has a greater proportion of the working-age population employed by the green economy. It also has a higher sales revenue per capita generated by the green economy than China or any country in the OECD or G-20, the study said.

But other nations are catching up and looking to capitalize on the potential. To remain competitive, the United States will have to develop energy, environment and education policies that support growth in areas like renewable energy.

To arrive at their conclusions, Maslin and Georgeson focused on low carbon industries such as electric vehicles and energy management in buildings. They complied public and private data — often at a granular level — and then used data triangulation to synthesize the different data sets and samples.

To put the numbers from the study in context, the 9.5 million jobs represents over 4% of the working age population in the United States, while $1.3 trillion is a little under 7% of annual GDP.

Estimating the impact of the green economy in the United States is challenging. Not only is there a broad and varied definition of what constitutes “green,” but there’s also no official data collected by the government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics used to publish a “Green Goods and Services” survey, but it was discontinued in 2013 following budget cuts.

The researchers said their methodology “can estimate the sales and employment in the green economy, the share of the country’s economy taken up by the green economy, growth in the green economy and the green economy sectors that are leading that growth.”

Innovation and technological advancements are often at the forefront of the green economy, but the researchers only included industries where there was a measurable economic impact.

The United States’ green economy grew 20% from 2013 to 2016, and that number is projected to keep rising as the battle to fight climate change accelerates. But the rest of the world is catching up, and the United States will need to enact new policies to safeguard the millions of Americans who depend on the burgeoning space, the researchers argued.

“To safeguard US economic development and job creation, we suggest that economic, environmental and education policies need to be developed to support the US green economy in the context of global developments in the green economy.”

Oil prices fall on signs of large US stock build


  • Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures was down by 47 cents, or 0.8%, at $58.95 a barrel by 0330 GMT.
  • U.S. crude oil futures were down 48 cents, or 0.9%, at $52.88 after earlier dropping more than 1% to a session low of $52.76 earlier.
GP: Iran Oil Tanker 190121
The oil tanker ‘Devon’ prepares to transfer crude oil from Kharg Island oil terminal to India in the Persian Gulf, Iran, on March 23, 2018.
Ali Mohammadi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Oil prices eased on Thursday after industry data showed a larger-than-expected build-up in stocks in the United States, although losses were limited by comments by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a U.S.-China trade deal.

Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures was down by 47 cents, or 0.8%, at $58.95 a barrel by 0330 GMT.

U.S. crude oil futures were down 48 cents, or 0.9%, at $52.88 after earlier dropping more than 1% to a session low of $52.76 earlier.

U.S. crude inventories soared by 10.5 million barrels to 432.5 million barrels in the week to Oct. 11, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report, published ahead of official government stocks data due on Thursday.

Analysts had estimated U.S. crude inventories rose around 2.8 million barrels last week.

“An enormous U.S. inventory build hits at precisely the wrong moment when the markets are overly focused on demand devastation due to the latest run of weaker global economic data,” Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note on Thursday.

If confirmed by the government data, the build-up would be the biggest U.S. inventory swell since February, 2017, Innes said.

It comes amid concerns about the global economy — and therefore oil demand — as data from the United States showed retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September. That followed earlier data showing a moderation in job growth and services sector activity.

Still, hopes of a potential U.S.-China trade deal helped offset oil prices losses after Mnuchin said U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are working on nailing down a Phase 1 trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month.

“Overall, we are seeing a more constructive picture both in terms of the demand side of the equation with the partial agreement from the U.S. (and) also from a technical point of view. (Prices) are at close to the bottom end of trading range rather than the top,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney.

But short-term pressure on oil prices will likely remain until U.S. government data on oil inventory is out later on Thursday, he added.

Oil prices edge higher as OPEC hints at deeper output cuts

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Wednesday, tracking gains in equities, as investors pinned hopes on a potential Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union and on signals from OPEC and its allies that further supply curbs could be possible.

But gains were limited due to lingering concerns of a global economic slowdown.

Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 had risen 25 cents to $58.99 by 0621 GMT, up about 0.4% from the previous day’s close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 had gained 23 cents or 0.4% to $53.04 a barrel.

“Oil is starting to see some bullish positions added on the easing of two big tail risks for global demand, the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

“While a broader trade deal seems unlikely in the immediate future, the risks for the U.S.-China trade war have been fading.”

Last-ditch talks between Britain and the European Union to get a Brexit deal ahead of a summit of the bloc’s leaders this week ran past midnight to Wednesday, but it was still unclear if Britain could avoid postponing its departure, due on Oct. 31.

Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a “hard” or no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and in turn oil demand and prices.

Providing more support, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries “will do whatever (is) in its power” along with its allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market.

Yet an expected rise in U.S. crude inventories this week kept prices under pressure.

U.S. crude stocks probably grew for the fifth straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

U.S. oil inventory reports are due out from industry group the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Thursday. The reports have been delayed one day because of a U.S. government holiday.

“Should EIA inventories illustrate for a fifth consecutive week build, we expect for strong selling pressure to afflict oil prices on an intraday basis,” Benjamin Lu from Phillip Futures said in a note.

Concerns of a global economic slowdown due to the protracted trade war between the United States and China and swelling U.S. inventories also pressured prices.

The U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez & Simon Cameron-Moore

Oil prices extend fall on China, global demand concerns


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Tuesday, after heavy losses in the previous session, as two days of weak Chinese data added to worries about the top crude oil importer’s energy demand growth.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell 42 cents, or 0.71%, to $58.93 a barrel by 0720 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 dropped 44 cents, or 0.82%, to $53.15.

China has been hit by poor economic data for two straight days. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Tuesday that China’s factory gate prices declined at the fastest pace in more than three years in September.

That followed customs data on Monday that showed Chinese imports had contracted for a fifth straight month.

The U.S.-China trade dispute also continued to cast a shadow on the global economy, despite claims of progress toward a deal, leaving unanswered questions over future oil demand.

Taken all together that was enough to outweigh any support oil prices might have received from worries about possible escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

“Demand-side concerns emerging from the Sino-U.S. trade war have continued to weigh on oil prices,” said Abhishek Kumar, head of analytics at Interfax Energy in London.

“China’s weak economic data is a manifestation of the trade dispute,” he said.

On Monday U.S. President Trump imposed sanctions on Turkey and demanded the NATO ally stop a military incursion in northeast Syria that is rapidly reshaping the battlefield of the world’s deadliest ongoing war.

Prices could also get a boost this week as investors are expecting a drawdown in crude inventories in the United States.

“This week … markets are expecting to see a draw (on) U.S. stockpiles and possibly further escalations in the Middle East,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The next weekly U.S. oil inventory reports are due out from industry group the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Oct. 16.

Reporting by Seng Li Peng; Editing by Tom Hogue

Oil prices ease on scant details of US-China trade deal


  • Oil prices eased on Monday as scant details on the first phase of a trade deal between the United States and China undercut last week’s optimism over the thaw that helped to lift crude markets by 2%.
  • Brent crude futures edged down by 25 cents to $60.26 a barrel by 0436 GMT.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures was at $54.45 a barrel, down 25 cents.
GP: US Oil workers Oil Boom in Texas's Permian Basin 191014
Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas on May 1, 2018.
Benjamin Lowy | Getty Images

Oil prices eased on Monday as scant details on the first phase of a trade deal between the United States and China undercut last week’s optimism over the thaw that helped to lift crude markets by 2%.

Brent crude futures edged down by 25 cents to $60.26 a barrel by 0436 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures was at $54.45 a barrel, down 25 cents.

Both contracts rose more than 3% last week, their first weekly gain in three.

“There is an argument that the oil market trading during U.S. hours on Friday have already had a chance to price (in) the news on the trade dispute and the better outlook for global demand,” said CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy.

“So traders are reluctant to push it further given those very strong gains.”

Most of the gains posted on Friday, however, had come after an Iranian oil tanker was attacked off Saudi Arabia’s coast in the Red Sea. Investigations are under way to determine if the tanker was hit by missiles, which could ratchet up tensions between Tehran and Riyadh if confirmed.

The emergence of a “phase 1” trade deal between the United States and China and a goodwill move by Washington to suspend threatened tariffs on Chinese products also helped to lifted global financial markets on Monday.

But investors remained cautious given that few details emerged from the talks.

“Traders view the deal in a tentative light … This baby-step agreement could take weeks to iron out,” said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader in a note.

The trade war has pressured China’s trade, with its exports to the United States falling 10.7% from a year earlier in dollar terms over January-September, Chinese customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters.

China’s imports from the United States, on the other hand, have fallen 26.4% in dollar terms during the first nine months.

China’s demand for oil remains strong, however, with its September imports reflecting a 10.8% rise from a year earlier as refiners ramped up output amid stable profit margins and solid fuel demand.