(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is touting its efforts to transition to a clean-energy economy, but a new study shows that few workers who leave industries associated with fossil fuels move to a green job — especially older employees and those without a college degree.
Researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed job changes in more than 130 million profiles from market-analytics firm Lightcast. They found that while the rate of transition from so-called dirty jobs to ones associated with the production of renewable energy or electric vehicles has increased tenfold, fewer than 1% of all workers leave a dirty job for a green one and are more likely to move to manufacturing or another carbon-intensive industry.
The vast majority of workers who landed green jobs came from other industries and occupations such as sales managers, software developers and marketing managers, according to the study. About a quarter of the green jobs went to first-time job-holders.
Workers aged 55 to 64 are more likely to move to another dirty job compared to workers aged 18 to 34, and those without a bachelor’s degree are significantly less likely to successfully transition to a green job, the study found.
“While some workers indeed appear to be able to transition from working in a carbon-intensive job to a less carbon-intensive one, the data clearly show that the majority of green jobs are not being filled by former dirty workers, at least not historically,” the study concluded.
President Joe Biden and his administration have been touting the transition to good-paying jobs in green industries as part of boom in clean-energy investments ahead of Wednesday’s one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, his signature climate bill.
“We are putting American workers and American jobs at the center of our clean-energy transition, making sure Americans in every part of our country benefit from the rising global demand for low-carbon products,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a speech on Monday in Las Vegas.
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