Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Future of Greentech

Now, greening our world is about more than, well, being green. It's about a thriving economy; it's about 2 or more million new jobs in greentech. There are challenges, to be sure. Those who lose jobs in obsolete fields won't necessarily be the ones getting the new jobs. The new greentech jobs may not all be the highest quality. Fortunately, these aren't issues that need to stand in the way of this multibillion-dollar growth industry. These are concerns to be monitored and addressed with foresight and forward thinking.

There are serious issues at stake and as ILO Director-General Juan Somavia says, "As the report makes clear, building a low-carbon economy is not only about technology or finances, it's about peoples and societies. It's about a cultural change to a greater environmental consciousness and opportunities for decent work." Read more at Environment News Service's website.

Even more exciting is a recently released report discussed at the Center for American Progress. The findings give one a great deal of hope, and, motivation to be involved in whatever way one can to bring about this greentech revolution.

Here is an excerpt:
The $100 billion fiscal expansion that we examined in this study provides the infrastructure to jumpstart a comprehensive clean energy transformation for our nation, such as the strategy described in CAP’s 2007 report, “Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low-Carbon Economy.” This paper shows the impact of a swift initial investment in climate solutions that would direct funding toward six energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies:

* Retrofitting buildings to increase energy efficiency
* Expanding mass transit and freight rail
* Constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems
* Wind power
* Solar power
* Advanced biofuels

This green recovery and infrastructure investment program would:

* Create 2 million new jobs nationwide over two years
* Create nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within the oil industry and 300,000 more jobs than a similar amount of spending directed toward household consumption.
* Create roughly triple the number of good jobs—paying at least $16 dollars an hour—as spending the same amount of money within the oil industry.
* Reduce the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent from 5.7 percent (calculated within the framework of U.S. labor market conditions in July 2008).
* Bolster employment especially in construction and manufacturing. Construction employment has fallen from 8 million to 7.2 million over the past two years due to the housing bubble collapse. The Green Recovery program can, at the least, bring back these lost 800,000 construction jobs.
* Provide opportunities to rebuild career ladders through training and workforce development that if properly implemented can provide pathways out of poverty to those who need jobs most. (Because green investment not only creates more good jobs with higher wages, but more jobs overall, distributed broadly across the economy, this program can bring more people into good jobs over time.)
* Help lower oil prices. Moderating domestic energy demand will have greater price effects than modest new domestic supply increases.
* Begin the reconstruction of local communities and public infrastructure all across America, setting us on a course for a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy that increases our energy independence and helps fight global warming. Currently, about 22 percent of total household expenditures go to imports. With a green infrastructure investment program, only about 9 percent of purchases flow to imports since so much of the investment is rooted in communities and the built environment, keeping more of the resources within the domestic economy.

For the full article visit the Center for American Progress's website.

What can YOU do? Send us YOUR story. What choice did you make today to live a more sustainable life? Send your first name, last initial, general locale, and what the greentech was.

Always remember: doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

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