July 28th, 2009
12:31 PM ET

Green jobs: hope or hype?

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/03/02/green.jobs.training/art.wind.turbine.gi.jpg" caption="The green job sector may not be big enough to jumpstart the employment."]

Samuel Sherraden
Special to 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.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Economy • Planet in Peril
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. RLWellman

    You can put windmills and solar panel all over the state of California and still not get the power of one nuclear plant. Let's not make Al Gore the next multi-billionaire, let's be smart and get the best power available.

    Everything is getting warmer? What is it, like 10,000 years and the temp of the Earth is supposed to increase a couple of degrees. This is from the same people who say we came from apes. Somebody you can really believe in!

    July 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  2. Johnny kite

    Green living isn't about jobs or money...it's about sustainability and quality of life. A guy who spends some evenings and Saturday's landscaping and gardening on his property will have a better life, better food, and more money, but this will have no positive effect on the economy.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  3. Deborah/Kansas City

    Our only good future is a Green Future. President Obama is putting all his effort into helping our Country act right and be good for everyone. Those nay sayers, who gripe and complain about any act, or any idea for improvement, will never be satisfied with whatever President Obama does, because they are for the status quo. The economy is improving, despite what some news people like to say, I know it is because I live it. My 401 has now recovered all the money that it lost and has a 10% profit for this year. I can not be the only one who sees how much better our economy is and our country is; and after only a few months of President Obama's leadership. The future is bright for Americans, who are not stuck in the past; and for those who really want change for the better.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  4. BJ

    My grandson wants to learn how to be a wind turbine technician, but the few places that teach it such as Airstream or Boot Camps do not have any financial assistance.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  5. dina

    The easiest way to create jobs here in the states is to stop outsourcing.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    When the economics of being green is cheaper than not, we'll go green. That's how capitalism works. The government can and should encourage this by making green power sources cheaper though tax credits and investment. They shouldn't attempt to make existing sources more expensive, as that hurts all of us.

    July 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  7. Arachnae

    They will destroy the natural beauty of the land.

    And global warming won't? You seen the landscape after a flash flood? a tornado or hurricane?

    July 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  8. john

    Just ask some fellows at MITwho where on Larry King once disputing the Gore lead global frenzy. I'm curious why so many of Oprahs oracles end up on Cnn. I sure hope Mr. Gore does'nt lose another close race.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  9. matt, Myrtle Beach

    Hype. Yet another attempt by obama to sell us on the glob warming farce. Republicans are not thw doomsdayers. Its the left that refuses to looks at facts to see that green jobs would be an unnecessary drain on us just like most other obama plans.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  10. lampe

    Melissa: Not everything in life comes down to if your a Republican or a Democrat. This comes down to how many jobs, will be lost, as opposed to how many new jobs will be created.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  11. Salvador Rostro Romero

    I think we should take the plunge. It's our planet and we need start to take better care of it. The Greeks destroyed themselves, as did the Romans, Mayans, Aztecs, etc. We are destroying ourselves and our home: planet earth.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  12. Jimmy

    Hype – More jobs will be lost than created and this will cost the tax payers a fortune. Everyone is so hot on the cap and tax baloney, but when it comes down to the wind energy, just wait...........that will be a big not in my back yard, those things are huge and ugly. They will destroy the natural beauty of the land.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  13. Melissa

    I am very tired of the doomsayers. I bet you are a Republican. Green jobs are a hope. The Green industry needs a push. Obama is trying to give it one. Its needed.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  14. JC- Los Angeles

    Green technology, like all other technologies that Wall Street pumps and dumps, will never prove profitable.

    Although everyone rightfully embraces technological advancements, unfortunately, no one ever wants to pay for them.

    Drive around any town and look for solar roofs; ask any car salesman how many hybrids he sold after gas prices declined.

    Aside from Al Gore who is making a killing off of non-profitable green technology hype, everyone else won't be seeing much green at all.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  15. Rudy R

    You are so right. I also think that the green energy movement is too expensive for the masses.

    July 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  16. Michael C. McHugh

    There are supposed to be all kinds of provisions for public investment in green jobs and technologies in the cap and trade bill, and even a "green bank". God only knows what it will look like when the Senate gets through with it, though! They will probably strip out all the best and sanest provisions, along with anything that might possible help Joe Average, then figure out a way to tax all of us some more in order to provide yet another huge windfall for big banks and corporations.

    That's what they're about to do with health care "reform". Well, everyone knows that the Senate was always a millionaire's club, but I hope Obama is smart enough not to let them have the last word on these things.

    July 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm |