A major shift to renewable energy and efficiency is expected to produce 4. 2 million new environmentally friendly "green" jobs over the...

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WASHINGTON — A major shift to renewable energy and efficiency is expected to produce 4.2 million new environmentally friendly “green” jobs over the next three decades, according to a study commissioned by the nation’s mayors.

The study, being released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, says about 750,000 people now work in what can be considered green jobs, from scientists and engineers researching alternative fuels to makers of wind turbines and more energy-efficient products.

But that’s less than one half of 1 percent of total employment.

“It could be the fastest-growing segment of the United States economy over the next several decades and dramatically increase its share of total employment,” the report says.

However, the study cautioned such job growth won’t be realized without an aggressive shift from fossil fuels toward alternative energy such as such as wind, geothermal, biomass and solar. And the effort must include significant improvement in energy efficiency.