Green jobs: hope or hype?


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Even as the entire country shifts gears to health care, some people are still concerned about the devastating numbers of unemployed persons and the government’s efforts to get people back to work. CNN has just run a piece I wrote cautioning the Obama administration on its optimistic assumptions about creating green jobs.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — After the release of a miserable June jobs report, President Obama stood with a group of green company CEOs and told reporters that “men and women like these will help lead us out of this recession and into a better future.”
But if the White House puts too many eggs in the green recovery basket, we may all be disappointed. The green sector is simply not large enough or competitive enough to be a major engine of job creation.
The CEOs who stood with Obama lead smart, innovative and, in many cases, rapidly growing firms. But green firms in the United States are small and employ relatively few people.
Applied Materials, one of the larger companies at the meeting and a producer of solar cells, employs 13,000 people worldwide and only 6,000 in the United States. Hara, a smaller company at the table, uses computer models to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Hara employs 30 people in the United States.
Moreover, data on production of green technologies globally show that the United States is becoming less competitive. Looking at the “green trade balance,” or the balance of trade in goods for reducing pollution, increasing energy efficiency and producing renewable energy, the United States moved from a trade surplus of $14.4 billion in 1997 to a trade deficit of $8.9 billion in 2008.
Thus, job creation for production of green technologies may occur far more outside than inside the United States. Investing in green energy will create jobs, but many of these jobs may be created elsewhere.
This is not to disparage these innovative companies. They may one day revolutionize energy generation and consumption the way Google revolutionized the Internet.
But green industries will not achieve this goal in the near future and will probably remain dependent on government subsidies for the short- to medium term. Since the Carter administration, activity in the green sector has waxed and waned as the green economy has come into vogue and fallen out of favor with politicians.
Currently, large federal subsidies go to the renewable energy sector. According to estimates by the Energy Information Agency, solar energy receives $24.34 in federal subsidies per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced. Electricity generated by wind receives $23.37 per MWh. By way of comparison, natural gas receives 25 cents per MWh and nuclear power receives $1.59 per MWh. The stimulus law — and the climate change bill, should it pass — will increase the subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
And because the green sector is heavily dependent on subsidies, its growth potential is self-limiting. As more money is invested, the government goes into more debt. In other words, in the short term, the green sector can grow only as much as you subsidize it.
Furthermore, a focus on green investment may even neglect or underfund other areas of the economy that have greater potential to grow the economy. Money spent on infrastructure, more aid to state governments and boosting exports by cutting corporate taxes would do more to help our economy recover than pouring money into a relatively small number of green jobs.
The White House certainly has high hopes for the green sector. Obama said during the campaign that $150 billion in green investments would create 5 million green jobs over 10 years. Vice President Joe Biden also puts a lot of stock in the green recovery. He chose green jobs as the first topic to address as the head of the Middle Class Task Force.
But, relying heavily on the green sector for job creation will probably disappoint. According to a study conducted by Global Insight, the total of all green jobs in the United States equals half of one percent of total employment (about 750,000 jobs). This is roughly the same number of jobs that the economy shed in January. The same study projects the potential to create 4 million green jobs, but says it will take 30 years to do so.
Even if the green energy sector were to grow 50 percent overnight, it would be able to do so only on the back of heavy government subsidies and with limited returns to the economy. This 50 percent increase in green employment would not even make up for the jobs lost in any single month of 2009.
To be sure, the United States should develop its green energy sector. Green technologies can help protect the environment by reducing pollution, and investments in the green sector today are likely to pay off in the long run. At the same time, the president should recognize the limits of the green sector to contribute to the job creation the country will desperately need during the next few years.

— Samuel Sherraden


14 comments on “Green jobs: hope or hype?

  1. rich says:

    Recognizing Mr. Sherraden’s main point — that green jobs alone will not pull us out of the depression resulting from George Bush’s economic policies — leads to a number of questions.
    What actions to stimulate the economy does Mr. Sherraden propose? Anything? Are you ready to support and work for a WPA-style public works program?
    If not, then Sherraden’s post functions as a kind of self-indictment. He protests that money invested in renewable energy will be spent on equipment produced overseas; that some green jobs will be foreign jobs. Doesn’t that just indict the old economy, the status quo that led us to this sorry pass? American corporate & elected leadership failed to keep the U.S. economy on the cutting edge of renewable energy technology. That we’ve fallen behind is no reason to slough off the imperative to recapture the competitive advantage of economic efficiency. So isn’t Sherraden offering up a kind of self-defeating response? The implication seems to be ‘Why bother?’ rather than, ‘Redouble your green efforts & stimulate through public works.’
    Recall: the Japanese captured segments of the auto market by going out and borrowing technology invented and proven by … the United States. If America is to compete economically — compete at all — we have to go find the best green technology we can find, buy it wherever we find it, and put it to use here at home. Anything less would be suicide. The idea we shouldn’t put our stock or our money in the world’s best technology strikes me as a recipe for failure — and just plain foolhardy.
    Here’s Sherraden’s omission: investing in energy efficient tech & renewable energy makes economic sense. From the Apollo Alliance:
    “A new McKinsey & Company report says an aggressive energy efficiency policy could net the U.S. $700 billion in savings while cutting energy use up to 23 percent by 2020.”
    Hey, if McKinsey isn’t a good enough source — catching on 30 years after Amory Lovins broke this ground — then CNN, Sherraden & TWN (yes, I know you get it) won’t listen to anyone.
    Think: would you take $700 billion in essentially free money? Before you say no, mull what you could buy. It’d pay for the Wall Street bailout — and cover those billions in bonuses paid out with taxpayer money. It’d cover a good chunk of the Iraq Attack & Occupation — some of the costs we’ve been told about, anyway. It’d pay for another economic stimulus package, wouldn’t it? And the installation would create jobs here at home. Energy savings would continue into the future.
    And the money from those jobs will recirculate through the American economy. As will much of that $700 billion, which will keep companies in business and improve household budgets.
    I don’t know, Sam, I’d take the $700 billion.
    So why, you may ask, would New Jersey invest over $500 billion in solar energy projects, to will more than double the state’s solar output, when solar still costs $6 to $8 a watt? It’s not just the installation jobs, nor the cleaner air, nor the fact that “combined, the solar plants will produce 80 megawatts of electricity and power about 72,000 homes.”
    Once those solar energy projects are installed, the oodles of money required to produce those 80 megawatts will no longer be continually sent overseas to Saudi Arabia (oil); nor require ripping up the earth in Wyoming (natl gas), or to laying waste whole mountain ranges in West Virginia (coal), which have enormous costs of their own.
    Instead, utility bills will first pay off the investment — and then be available free and clear for further investment or rebates — both of which have a BIG economic impact.
    So, absent explicit recognition of the economic imperative of energy efficiency, renewable energy revenue streams and broader economic savings, it’s hard not to see the omissions in Sherraden’s post as a tell-tale sign that dissing green jobs is meant to undercut Obama’s new path.
    Perhaps Mr. Sherraden’s post spins the issue, as TWN posts have often been designed to make a point, for a specific purpose.
    Because even a passing familiarity with green jobs and the economic impact of energy efficiency would dictate that Sherraden use a different metric, and make mention, at least, of the broader benefits of a greener economy.
    Sure, the renewable energy sector will not mass produce jobs. But that only indicts the failure of the traditional economy to produce the jobs it’s so certain environmental enterprises supposedly cannot.
    We’re in the middle of a depression brought on by the old paradigm — and the old economy’s ideological errand boys can’t seem to come up with a solution.
    That’s what’s so disappointing about Mr. Sherraden’s post. He restricts the scope of his column to leave the misimpression that green jobs will have a limited impact, when that impact is very very broad and makes a vital contribution in communities where any job is viewed as a lifeline.
    It’s hard not to see such an analysis as an attempt to belay, delay and deny the very reforms and investments we need to revamp and repair the economy. If we’re to remain at the mercy of the arrangements that got us into this mess, we’re sunk. If self-government has any meaning, we’ll be directing the construction of a new economy.
    If it’s stimulus you want, Mr. Sherraden, look no further than Tennesse, where even conservative Gov. Breseden has opted for WPA-style public works programs to get money in peoples’ pockets. This is no time for ideological hair-splitting by defenders of the vested interests or by policy spinners connected to the status quo. If you want stimulus, you could be and would be advocating for WPA public works — there’s plenty to be done. But if that’s what you’re about, I’ve missed the articles pushing solutions that you want to see happen.


  2. DonS says:

    . . . that would be straight LINE increase assumptions.
    BWT the way, near where I am in Canada, one of their nationwide supermarket chains has partnered with wind power developers, resulting in a turbine behind the local Atlantic SuperStore that currently provides approximately 1/3 of the store’s total electric needs.
    We just spent a couple of days on PEI which has a huge wind farm on the North Cape. In the Nova Scotia Minas Basin, a tidal generation plant has been on line for years.
    Things can be done if the people’s real needs are put first, not the corporate path of least resistance.


  3. DonS says:

    On the ‘roads’ question, I have to come down with rich’s analysis. It’s been over 30 years since I worked in the policy shop of USDOT/UMTA, but I doubt the thinking of the highway planners has changed much. Not just totally inefficient use of resources, all geared towards subsidization of an unsustainable America, which has come to pass, but lack of mission or real will to revise itself. Politically, they love them some highway pork on the Hill. A crucial example, that my brilliantly practical economics guru/coworker kept hammering, was/is the lack of attention, to be kind, to alternative demand forecasting – rather straight light increase assumptions.
    I would also like to emphatically second an expansive notion of what “green” jobs can mean. For me, a radical no doubt, anything that get’s our economy smaller, more local, more citizen-controlled is green. Not exactly the kind of thinking that the Goldman Sachs geniuses have in mind, to be sure. But who really got us in this mess after all?
    Finally, Rich’s opening comment is just laden with insight, common sense and compassion


  4. questions says:

    An interesting note about some of the costs of going green….
    “The cost and hassle of transporting the huge, heavy turbines has led to interest in manufacturing turbines in the United States, rather than in Europe. Last year 24 states opened, expanded or announced turbine manufacturing plants, according to the American Wind Energy Association. By value, about half of turbine parts are now manufactured in the United States, said Mr. Dunlop of the wind association.
    Even if more turbine parts are made in the United States, experts say that transportation logistics are starting to limit how large — and as a result how powerful — wind turbines can get. Some blades are already more than 50 yards long, and those are “reaching the limits of what you can ship on the Interstate or on rail cars,” said Peter Stricker, the vice president for strategic project development at Clipper Windpower, a wind developer and manufacturer.
    There is talk of breaking a blade up into multiple pieces, but “that’s a very significant structural concern,” said Mr. Stricker, who also noted that tower bases were getting too large to squeeze through underpasses.
    In Texas, the state with by far the most wind turbines, the constant truck traffic has created another challenge: it is tearing up small roads in the western part of the state, where the turbines are being rapidly erected.
    “You get what we call alligator cracking,” said Stacey Young, a pavement engineer for the Lubbock district of the Texas Department of Transportation, referring to small seams in the pavement.
    One paved road in her area is “basically a gravel road now” because of the trucks going through, Ms. Young said. She has appealed to state lawmakers to require the developers to help pay for the upkeep of the roads, but so far to no avail.”
    It’s interesting to think that perhaps the infrastructure to make shipping turbine blades more doable might significantly alter the cost/benefit ratio for wind power.
    I’d guess that a lot of “green” jobs work the same way. There are huge costs involved in major socio-economic shifts that need to be taken into account. I would guess that manufacturing jobs in green tech are no more likely to appear in the US than are mfg. jobs in autos.
    So green service jobs seem to be the thing — renovating homes as their time for renovation comes. Insulating, replacing window, and the like are all hands-on, unexportable, and, of course, open to immigrant labor.


  5. pauline says:

    Jul 27 2009
    The Demand for Money
    James Turk
    In Economics 101 college professors teach that prices are determined by supply and demand. Not usually taught, however, is that the ‘price’ – i.e., the purchasing power – of money is also established by these same two economic determinants.
    Economists focus quite extensively on the supply of money, which in the US is the total quantity of dollars in circulation. The demand for money, however, is largely ignored.
    Most economic theory is built upon the supposition that the demand for money grows consistently by about 1.5% per annum. This growth rate is purposefully chosen because it approximately equals world population growth, so it is assumed that if population grows by that rate, the demand for money in commerce will also approximate that same growth rate. It is an imprecise assumption, but the underlying problem is that the demand for money cannot be quantified, in contrast to the supply of money.
    The quantity of dollars in circulation is reported by the Federal Reserve. These are the mix of so-called Ms, with M1 being a compilation of cash currency and dollars in checking accounts at banks. M2 adds to that definition all of the dollars in savings accounts and certain money-market accounts.
    The Federal Reserve measures the total quantity of dollars in circulation, and regularly reports their estimate. The following table presents M1 and M2 as of July 22nd.
    Seasonally adjusted (billions of dollars)
    Date M1 M2
    23 Jul 2007 1370.0 7253.1
    An even broader measure of the total quantity of dollars in circulation is M3, which includes, among other things, time deposits at banks. M3 is no longer reported by the Federal Reserve, but is estimated by private economists. For example, John Williams of estimates that M3 presently totals about $14.8 trillion dollars. Given the US population of 304 million, there is approximately $49,000 in circulation for every American man, woman and child.
    In 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was established, the American population was 97 million. M3 that year was approximately $20 billion, so on average there was $210 in circulation for every American man, woman and child, or just 0.4% of the current average. Are there more dollars in circulation per person because Americans are so much wealthier today than they were in 1913 or is something else at work here?
    First, a point of clarification is necessary. Money is not wealth, at least as far as I define these two terms. Wealth is real things that satisfy one’s needs and wants. Money is the means to buying those needs and wants, but is not wealth itself. And there is no doubt that the US has become wealthier in terms of the vast array of goods and services that have raised living standards considerably since 1913. But is more money needed today to avail oneself of those goods and services?
    While the American population has grown by 1.2% per annum on average since 1913, the growth in M3 has been much greater at 7.1% per annum. Logically we need less money today than 1913 because the efficiency of currency has improved. Methods of payment not even available in 1913, like electronic fund transfers and plastic cards, now move dollars in an instant. So less currency today should satisfy one’s needs.
    There is of course another factor to consider. The dollar was not the world’s major currency in 1913, so the demand to hold dollars for this reason is greater today than it was back then. Nevertheless, it would be hard to argue that so many extra dollars per American exist today for that reason.
    In fact, there is a pernicious factor at work here. Namely, the Federal Reserve and US banking system are creating too many dollars. Because the quantity of dollars is growing more rapidly than demand, the dollar’s purchasing power is being eroded in a process we call inflation. Going back to Economics 101, if supply grows more rapidly than demand, price falls, and purchasing power is the ‘price’ of a dollar.
    The following table from the Federal Reserve presents the current annual growth rates in M1 and M2. Both are far above the population growth rate in the US and even the whole world.
    Percent change at seasonally adjusted annual rate
    12 Months from June 2008 tO June 2009
    M1 18.4
    M2 9.0
    These growth rates have increased the quantity of new currency over the past year far beyond the demand for new currency needed in commerce, and are therefore inflationary. The dollar is being debased. The Federal Reserve is allowing the dollar’s purchasing power to be inflated away. Owning precious metals like gold and/or silver protects yourself and your family from this ongoing erosion of what a dollar buys.
    James Turk is the Founder & Chairman of He is the co-author of The Coming Collapse of the Dollar, which has been updated for a newly released paperback version, now entitled The Collapse of the Dollar .


  6. rich says:

    “When you need to inject money into a sagging economy racing toward double-digit unemployment, you spend the money where it can be spent. Money that can’t be spent until 2012, 2013 or 2014 isn’t going to pull the country out of the Great Recession of 2008-09.”
    No kidding. And nothing I said disagreed with that. Nothing I said advocated for waiting until 2012 or 2014 to spend money. And alternatives to road building projects don’t necessarily require waiting to spend.
    July 9, 2009, NYTs — “Cities Lose Out on Road Funds from Federal Stimulus”
    “Two-thirds of the co;untry lives in large metropolitan aresa, home to the nations’s worst traffic jams and some of its oldest roads and bridges. But cities and their surrounding regions (which contains the vast bulk of economic drivers) are getting far less than two-thirds of federal transportation stimulus money.”
    “..there is little chance that roads and bridges are going to become significantly less vital to the American way of life than they are now.”
    Not so, in this sense: many of these roads were unjustified by the numbers, and will further damage our cities’ ability to compete economically. Yes, we will always need roads; no, these specific projects will not contribute to the roads, transportation network or urban infrastructure that we will need in the future.
    If it is the “American way of life” that you feel is at stake, that’s another discussion entirely.
    Check it out:
    DanK, as you well know: There are plenty of ways to spend money now, without going down this road.
    And if the sagging economy were the great motivator here, more would’ve been done, and in additional arenas.


  7. Dan Kervick says:

    Much of the MPO & state DOT admins are structure to deliver roads, only roads, useless roads, economically damaging roads. Some of this is a sop to the corrupt until the states can get real transit projects in place.
    When you need to inject money into a sagging economy racing toward double-digit unemployment, you spend the money where it can be spent. Money that can’t be spent until 2012, 2013 or 2014 isn’t going to pull the country out of the Great Recession of 2008-09.
    Even when we get more mass transit infrastructure in urban areas, and linking those areas, there is little chance that roads and bridges are going to become significantly less vital to the American way of life than they are now.
    In my part of the country, with its relatively sparse population, there are very few places where mass transit projects are viable and economically efficient. I’m glad to see those work crews now out on the highways and bridges, drawing federal money into the economy and putting more people to work.


  8. rich says:

    Dan Kervick:
    Maintaining what we’ve got for the *stimulus* effect is great; caving to build questionable road projects that permanently build-in an economically inefficient infrastructure that renders our cities non-competitive, not so much. It’s not just counterproductive; when the rational for eating yourself alive is that you’re starving, something’s wrong. It’s not a comparison of near- & long-term projects. Much of the MPO & state DOT admins are structure to deliver roads, only roads, useless roads, economically damaging roads. Some of this is a sop to the corrupt until the states can get real transit projects in place.
    while I agree Obama must do more to stimulate the economy besides repeat a green jobs mantra, the critiques upthread are quite clear.
    That Mr. Sherraden appears (/i) to be writing outside his field of expertise is not his fault; in fact, his ability to do so only reinforces the value and validity of the indispensable content TWN commenters contribute, though they are not paid diplomats, foreign policy analysts or political operatives. Sherraden is free to add sustainable economics to his economic growth day job to his formal education in international affairs … as long as he get it right. That ethic and ability, though, applies equally well to TWN commenters, no matter how accurate & uncomfortable their words.
    We all have our areas of expertise, all of us have added to our portfolios; respect for the substance of comments is worthwhile until one has the information to understand where folks are coming from.


  9. Dan Kervick says:

    “I am appalled that the bulk of stimulus funds have so far been going to road and bridge projects. A long range benefit of federal spending will come from transforming the country’s capital infrastructure …”
    Um…that’s why it was called a *stimulus* package. Anti-recessionary Keynesian stimulus and long-term public investments are not the same thing.


  10. Zathras says:

    I’m not sure what posters upthread are objecting to in the main post here, apart from its somewhat discouraging tone.
    The tone is discouraging mainly to people who took President Obama’s rhetoric during the campaign literally. That’s different from taking it seriously. Green jobs are not a mirage. It is possible to create them, and possible to develop new industries based on them. What is not possible is that there will be enough of them to replace all the jobs lost because of the financial markets’ panic and the recession. Plus, it must be added, because of the higher energy prices that will be a part of our future, one way or the other.
    Look, the largest number of jobs that might be called “green” is most likely to come in industries dedicated to enabling Americans to use less energy, more efficiently than they do now. A necessary condition for the creation of these jobs is higher energy prices. Inexpensive energy gives people scant reason to want to use energy efficiently, and no reason to spend money becoming able to use energy more efficiently.
    It is unfortunately also true that higher energy prices will cost jobs in other areas. There are probably ways to limit the resulting economic pain, but there are no ways to avoid it completely. Obama elided this distinction during the campaign; it would have been easy to listen to his speeches then and conclude that every American would be in “win-win-land” after the government began his program to tackle climate change and reduce oil imports. The truth is that some Americans would be; every period of economic turmoil and change represents opportunity for somebody. For Americans generally, though, the transition from an economy operating on inexpensive energy, mainly from fossil fuels, to one operating on more expensive energy will be difficult.
    Why should we expect higher energy prices? Limited sources of fossil fuels; projected higher demand around the globe for those fuels, especially as the economy recovers; limited tolerance in the United States for the environmental damage resulting from the use of coal, which this country has in abundance. Left to themselves, market forces will drive the cost of the energy we use higher, at a time we cannot predict with accuracy and in a manner over which we will have no control. Better, on the merits, to use taxation to raise energy prices now: clearly, explicitly and in the open, so that the American people are left in no doubt as to what the government feels it necessary to do and why.
    This is not the course President Obama has chosen. He is more comfortable continuing his campaign talk about sunshine and lollipops, tough decisions that ask nothing of any American, and green jobs — always “good-paying” green jobs — as far as the eye can see. He is proposing to raise the price Americans pay for energy; deep within the core of the cap-and-trade bureaucracy he and his allies in Congress would create to absorb the public ire that higher energy prices will arouse, that is how Obama proposes to address climate change.
    Obama wants to slow climate change, and wants to reduce oil imports. He just doesn’t want to be blamed for anything that might contribute to attaining these objectives, something he has in common with approximately 100% of the politicians in the country. It is comforting to think that difficult problems can be addressed successfully without doing anything unpopular, but they can’t. That’s not pessimism, or negativity. That is life.


  11. jon says:

    What Rich said.
    Please don’t forget that corporations like 3M, Dow, Owens
    Corning, Honeywell, and General Electric (among many others)
    each employ thousands of people in the US in jobs producing
    for and servicing the green sector. Their green jobs might not
    be the majority of their business or employment, but it is
    substantial. And all of these companies want to compete
    worldwide and be as profitable as possible.
    Can/should more be done? Certainly, and the sooner the better.
    The US once had large leads in Solar and wind power, but
    abandoned this position due to ignorance and hostility to
    renewable energy production by other, hostile and competing
    market sectors and political orientations. We can recapture what
    has been lost and improve upon it, but that will take investment
    and commitment.
    I also believe that your figures for relative subsidies for power
    generation are inaccurate and incomplete, and misguided. The
    subsidies for nuclear power should be taking into account the
    insurance liabilities which the US government is almost entirely
    responsible for, and the costs of reprocessing (which has been
    on the military side of the ledger), and the eventual costs of
    waste storage that will last for thousands of years and the
    decommissioning and disposal of power plants and related
    infrastructure. These are not small numbers, and what has
    already been spent on them by taxpayers makes government
    subsidies and support for renewable energy seem trivial.
    Solar photovoltaic power has been very expensive to produce.
    To lower those costs requires research and investment, and it is
    not yet clear which of a multitude of technologies, fabrication
    techniques, installation formats, operation and ownership
    structures, and integration into the existing power grid will be
    the most beneficial or win out in the market. It is appropriate to
    provide substantial subsidies to many of these projects in order
    to make more rapid advancement than would otherwise occur
    and make it possible to identify and make ready for large scale
    productions those elements that will provide the greatest
    I am appalled that the bulk of stimulus funds have so far been
    going to road and bridge projects. A long range benefit of
    federal spending will come from transforming the country’s
    capital infrastructure, which will make it possible to produce and
    compete effectively over the next century, and will produce the
    educated workforce, researchers and businesses than can do


  12. TonyForesta says:

    The green sector, or green technologies, or other sector or technologies have ABSOLUTELY NO HOPE of prospering or advancing as long as Obama and his Goldman Sachs worshipping minions continues to throw trillions (or thousands of billions) of our taxpayer dollars to the FAILED managements of FAILED institutions bruting and pimping the same FAILED models that brought the ecnomic world to the brink of collapse, and caused the worst financial crisis since the great depression. Obama is a oneterm president for turning his back on the voiceless and pouring trillions (thousands of billions) of the people taxdollars into the offshore accounts of the predatorclass swindlers, thieves, pathological liars, and criminals in the finance sector ALONE!!! These fiendish criminal oligarchs have no opened the lending flows and have in fact acted in outrageously abusive ways to reap the largest profits in their sordid histories off the backs of the American taxpayer.
    There is no investment appetite for green technologies or the green sector, because all the available funds are funnelled into five finance sector oligarchs to prop them up, and hide and mask their insolvency.
    There is no improvement in unemployment, or wages, or bargaining power, or labor rights or benefits, because the swindlers and thieves and criminals on Wall Street own and control the Obama government, and NO MONEY will go to any other sector, or any other industry.
    There are numerous green technologies and processess, networks, and systems, that if there were adequate capitalization could provide the employment opportunities of the future for millions of Americans. But it would require huge investments into the green future, as Bobby Kennedy Jr. has noted. Tragically, all Obama and his Goldman Sachs worshippiing economic advisors are concerned about is throwing trillions (thousands of billions) of the people dollars to the swindlers, thieves, pathological liars, and criminals on Wall Street who are singularly and exclusively responsible for causing the worst economic crisis since the great depression.
    The predatorclass does not want, and will not allow any advancement of green technologies because this future would undermine the predatorclass death grip on oil, energy, and capital markets.
    Obama has betrayed those who fought, voted for and supported him.
    A Pox on the house of Goldman Sachs.


  13. ... says:

    if the usa isn’t one big military type contractor then it is a giant outlet for walmart… what is green about either? tell me what is being sold at walmart that is made in the usa, or 2 – worth anything? having the ceo of walmart at the table would have been more interesting, but then it is companies like that which are getting rid of the usa manufacturing sector, not helping it.. maybe ordinary folks could consider shopping somewhere else, but then keeping everyone in low paying jobs is perfect for walmart… the usa has got what it created…it isn’t going to be easy getting out of this situation…


  14. rich says:

    I’m not really sure you understand how jobs are created, or the implications of highly efficient, self-reliant communities, given the context of Wall Street’s failure and a failing economy that’s sold out whole industrial sectors and the jobs they supported.
    I’m particularly concerned you don’t understand what green jobs are. Rehabbing substandard or older housing stock supports more jobs than new construction. The energy savings and money saved on utility bills can be the difference between shelter and eviction, life and death.
    The alternative is flushing your money, and our economy, down the toilet. Money spent on gas is just sucked right out of the regional and national economy. If you’re saying oil and roads and cars have never been subsidized far beyond the tune of green energy sources, you’re a) sadly mistaken, or b) totally misleading.
    Using renewable energy subsidies as a stand-in for the economic costs/benefits of an ecologically-sound economy does not, of course, offer valid or valuable insight into the power of the green sector — overhyped as it is. Limiting your assessment to jobs generated in the renewable energy sector really misses the meat of the green jobs concept, and is equally misleading. Let’s not even get into the economic costs of mountaintop removal (etc.) and the concomitant evisceration of the clean water act — surely not included as another set of subsidies in your analysis.
    Overall, the real point is that the American businesses will NEVer (/ital) be able to compete in an increasingly sustainable global economy, unless they adopt cutting-edge energy efficient technologies, which are cheap and already available. Funny, though, the market has already spoken and businesses are moving in this direction across the board.
    Granted, the green jobs mantra can feel overhyped, and it may well be coopted by Congress-critters eager to get a slice of the federal pie by labeling every last thing ‘green’.
    Hard to see where this post is coming from unless it’s an attempt to circumscribe the issue in a way that abets the lobbying meme that coal is clean or cheap simply because the pipeline is in place and some investment is required to bring a cheaper more efficient source online.
    Mostly though, to understand why the jobs generated by renewables, allegedly ‘so few’, really do matter, all you have to do is go to a Midwestern Rust Belt city and check out the one factory that is not idle. Many of the only thriving manufacturing companies are those that supply towers or turbines for wind power generation (or the like).
    And those jobs matter. You say they’re few, but talk to the guy with a job, the small business owner that’s got a live one, the town that now has hope. Talk to them — and then come back to TWN and tell us it doesn’t matter. That they don’t matter.
    In stark contrast to the geniuses who idled America’s industrial base, local folks with functional skills and pragmatic business sense are creating green jobs, across multiple sectors.
    And in the grand scheme of things, that’s everything. Because the grand scheme of things itself — from coy Wall Street paper ‘products’ & ‘investment’ vehicles to the complicit deregulatory compulsion — destroyed the economy, cost us trillions upon trillions, and escaped by paying themselves billions — all without any real accountability.
    Now, forgive me for noting how little insight this post conveys regarding the relationship between economic vitality and environmental efficiency. Or either one separately, for that matter.
    It’d be great, though, if your concern with scale were transferred to the need for a second stimulus focusing on public works and jobs constructing a better America for Americans. I know — it’s a concern TWN / & Co. have already held dear. Yet .. .
    Agreed that the meaning of green jobs may’ve been sucked out of all the talk, but is this post the remedy?


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