by Louisa May
Part of President Obama’s new job, according to media reports, is to make sure his new home is energy-efficient and environmentally correct. The White House has smart lawn sprinklers and energy efficient lighting, low-flush toilets and fuel- efficient minivans.
This sets a good example, but a lot of people I’ve talked to, even in middle class America, say they can’t afford to care. They’re out of work or afraid they will be.
When my sister, Diane, started her Lifestyles column in the Chicago Sun-Times with, “I’ve always thought going green was for rich people,” I was surprised. But the point of the article was that we can all do something.
She told her readers how she started by picking up the flimsy, little plastic bags that always seemed to be waving to her between the wires of a chain link fence or drifting ghostlike down the alley behind her house.
By making even moderate changes to renewable energy and energy efficiency policies at the Federal level, the new administration can create jobs. These policy changes will help workers put gas in their cars, food on their tables, and give people hope and reason to care about the little: picking up those flimsy plastic bags littering our neighborhoods, and the big: creating a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.
The American Solar Energy Society released a report on January 15, 2009 stating that “green” industries generated $10.3 billion in sales and accounted for more than 4% of Colorado’s state product in 2007. That translates into 91,000 jobs in this state alone that were provided by renewable energy industries. The report also stated that nationally, over 9 million jobs and 1 billion dollars in revenue were generated by “green” industries.
The organization highlighted three scenarios for the national renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE and EE) job market.
– At its base scenario, with no changes in policy at the State and Federal level, green job forecast is 16 million jobs and $1966 billion dollars in revenue annually by 2030.
– Assuming moderate policy improvements at Federal and State levels, forecast is 19 million jobs and $2248 billion in revenue by 2030.
-The advanced scenario represents the upper limit of what’s possible technologically and economically feasible. RE and EE industries would generate 37 million jobs and $4294 billion in annual revenue by the year 2030.
“There’s a new sense of optimism in the green economy,” said Brad Collins, ASES’ Executive Director. “But while the US could see millions of new jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency development, this will only happen with the necessary leadership, research and development, and public policy at State and Federal levels.”
According to the Society’s report, renewable energy and energy efficiency industries can create jobs that won’t be outsourced to foreign countries. All states will be eager to hire two categories of workers: highly skilled technical workers and college educated professional workers. Electricians, engineers, scientists and construction managers all have equal opportunity.
Let’s hope our policy makers see the light, the light shining on opportunity in renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs.
Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment. Once there, click on the Green Forum for more articles by feature writer Louisa May.
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