How Many Jobs are Truly Created in a “Green Economy?”

Politicians often tout the benefits of going green from both anenvironmental and economic standpoint. After all, going green helps the economy by expanding the energy sector to one reliant primarily onfossil fuels to one that includes alternative and renewable sourceswhich tend to be cleaner for the environment. Yet, there are varyingnumbers about how many jobs are truly created in a "Green Economy." Determining how many jobs are created is difficult because definingwhat is green and what is not is open to all kinds of interpretation.

The Center for American Progress seems to suggest that the green economy can create a lot of jobs through infrastructure rebuilding. For example, The Center for American Progress reports that "This green recovery and infrastructure investment program would: Create 2 million new jobs in the nation over two years, Bolster employment within 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 can, at the least, bring back these lost 800,000construction jobs."  When framed in terms of manufacturing andinfrastructure, perhaps the green economy can create 2 million jobs. So, for example, installing things like wind mills and solar panels onhomes definitely has huge upside and can create the 2 million jobs cited by The Center for American Progress.

However, when calculating how many jobs are truly created in a greeneconomy, the count can include activities that are not truly green interms of not emitting carbon dioxide.  For example, some biofuel andbiomass production may come in the form of using fossil fuel inputs such as chemically derived fertilizers and pesticides.  Yet, biofuels andbiomass that involves such things as using fossil fuel inputs would becounted as part of the green economy in the same manner as theinstallation of solar panels and windmills that are part of the newgreen manufacturing and infrastructure program cited by The Center forAmerican Progress.  So, two million jobs may be created, but it comeswith caveats as to how we define the term "green."

Nevertheless, restoration of the manufacturing sector here in the definitely a plus and can be part of the green economy. Even if500,000 jobs are truly created in a green economy, that is progressespecially given the prolonged recession the U.S. is currentlyexperiencing.  There is no question that there are green jobs available, but the question is how many are truly "green."  The Center forAmerican Progress makes a compelling argument about how there are greenmanufacturing jobs and creating those types of jobs in this recession is certainly a must to improve the overall economic outlook and to helpthe environment.

Original Article on Justmeans


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