New Report Outlines Rapid Green Economic Recovery Plan
As the nation continues to debate its energy future, a new report released yesterday shows that the U.S. can create two million jobs by investing in a rapid green economic recovery program, which will strengthen the economy, increase energy independence, and fight global warming. In California, investing in this green recovery program would bring more than 235,000 jobs and $12.7 billion in investments.
The “Green Recovery – A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy” report was prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, under commission by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and released by a coalition of labor and environmental groups including Environment California.
Solving our energy and environmental problems with an aggressive green recovery program will put more Californians and Americans to work at a time when many of us are hurting. Our energy and environmental problems are linked and Congress should address these problems with comprehensive solutions.
In addition to creating two million jobs nationwide over two years, this $100 billion green economic recovery package would:
• 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.
The recovery program aims to boost private and public investment in six energy-efficiency and renewable-energy strategies: retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency, expanding mass transit and freight rail, constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems, wind power, solar power, and next-generation biofuels.
The report shows that the vast majority of the two million jobs would be in the same areas of employment that people already work in today, in every region and state of the country. For example, constructing wind farms creates jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists and truck drivers, among many others. Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings through retrofitting requires roofers, insulators and building inspectors. Expanding mass transit systems employs civil engineers, electricians, and dispatchers.
“This green economic recovery program is part of a comprehensive low-carbon energy strategy and would be a down payment on a 10-year policy program recommended by the Center for American Progress, including the immediate adoption of a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as targeted standards and incentives to spur the transition to clean energy,” said Bracken Hendricks from Center for American Progress.
The green recovery program investments would fund:
• $50 billion for tax credits. This would assist private businesses and homeowners to finance both commercial and residential building retrofits, as well as investments in renewable-energy systems.
• $46 billion in direct government spending. This would support public building retrofits, the expansion of mass transit, freight rail and smart electrical-grid systems, and new investments in renewable energy.
• $4 billion for federal loan guarantees. This would underwrite private credit that is extended to finance building retrofits and investments in renewable energy.
For the complete report findings, click here.
Bernadette Del Chiaro is the Clean Energy Advocate for Environment California, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. For the last 30 years, Environment California combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for California’s environment. Environment California is a non-profit environmental organization and the California affiliate of Environment America.