Sunday, November 16, 2008

Green Jobs: Stabilizing the Economy

Facing the challenges of global warming and climate change will create new economic opportunities, as the nation shifts from burning fossil fuels that generate global warming pollution, to clean, renewable energy sources. The shift to clean energy, and a rising awareness of the need to conserve energy and use it efficiently, are creating new jobs: green-collar jobs, or simply, Green Jobs.

­Investment in energy efficiency and in clean energy can create new businesses and Green Jobs, and at the same time curb climate change. A program to retrofit offices, manufacturing plants and homes with energy-efficient technologies will create a large demand for electricians, carpenters, and many other workers, skilled and unskilled. Expanding mass transit and improving freight rail will save energy and spark the demand for civil engineers, bus drivers, rail track layers, welders, locomotive engineers, conductors, and dispatchers. Incentives to develop wind, solar, geothermal power, next-generation biofuels, smart electrical grid transmission systems, and hybrid-electric vehicles will have enormous job-creation potential. One study showed that a $100 billion investment in these areas over two years would result in 2 Million new jobs across the nation, as illustrated in the US Map from a Green Jobs report by 1Sky.org.

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This energy saving investment program will benefit both rural and urban America. An independent study concluded that 5 Million jobs would be created in rural areas alone by 2030 with the right incentives.

A business as usual approach to generating energy will only negatively affect the environment and the economy. Replacing old coal plants with new ones creates no new job opportunities and does nothing to address climate change, and neither does relying on oil. By capping global warming pollution and providing incentives for clean energy sources and energy efficiency, a fast-growing Green Job sector will more than make up for the fossil fuel jobs lost by phasing out coal and oil, and will stabilize the economy.

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