August 13th, 2009
01:28 PM ET

Make every job a green job

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/TECH/science/08/08/green.investing/art.solar.afp.jpg]

Andrew L. Shapiro
Special to CNN

In a recent CNN commentary entitled "Green jobs: hope or hype?" Samuel Sherraden argues that green job creation will be insufficient to bring America out of recession. But Sherraden narrowly defines green as a "sector," and fails to see its potential as a strategy for the revitalization of the entire economy.

When the public debate is focused around the precise number of green jobs created in, say, a solar panel factory, we miss the opportunity as a country to think more broadly about greening the economy - and building a foundation for real growth and competitiveness.

The aspiration to create "green jobs" should really be seen as shorthand for two public priorities - immediate job creation and long-term transformation of the economy for sustainability and prosperity - and both goals can be addressed simultaneously. However, in judging our progress, a simple tally of jobs in "green sectors" is only a partial indicator of the impact and thus can be misleading.

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Filed under: Energy • Environmental issues • Job Market
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Going green is critical and we need to push for the green jobs to began being created and filled now rather than later. If we do not do what it takes to alleviate climate change we may find ourselves in 2100 without a livable planet. Research this last year has amply demonstrated that the rate of climate change and the melting of the glaciers is occurring than first expected. It will be sooner rather than later that we have to face the problems of declining supplies of fresh water for human consumption and crops and the declining food production rates from drought, little water, and too much demand.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  2. Diane - IL

    I hope we do use more and more renewable energy sources.

    @Fed Up, I've been thinking the same thing. Some flights seemed unnecessary and could have been better planned so the President isn't going back and forth across the country. Additionally, during the winter the Oval Office was reported to be kept at a very warm temperature. I think all government buildings should be kept at lower temps during the winter, slightly higher in the summer, like during the Carter administration. The money saved could then be used on... hmm... something like health care.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  3. Debbie

    Fed Up, I agree.
    I was hoping they would post my first comment.
    I thought this article was a joke, seriously.
    I couldn't believe anyone would write something like this.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  4. Kleigh

    Dear Fed up,

    They cancelled the jets.

    August 13, 2009 at 5:54 pm |

    I hope this economy can produce more "Green Jobs" for everyone. Right now the job market is rather soft for the east coast region. Unless a person is willing to relocate, its hurry up and wait.

    August 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  6. Mark

    The last thing I wanted to say is that the oil industry has a lot of money and I mean a lot of money. They are embedded with the US congress and everyone is on their payroll. Trust me, why is Arnold Swarzenn...a governor without pay. For the good of the people....Please!!!!!!!!!!! Like everyone else in fact everyone that has been governor of California has had their pockets lined. I don't know that for sure but I will say it like this. Do you actually believe your 100 trillion dollars in debt because they wanted to help us. Without these asses we would have been just fine. Trouble is brewing throughtout the world. Oil will be well over the 100 dollar a barrel mark within 7 months from now. This will put us into a repeat of what we just went through. People can' t afford to heat their homes or drive their cars. Prices for electricity and everything else will continually rise. The only thing that won't rise is your's and mines pay. Obama sold the farm. Everyone needs a good kick in the ass. Moms with 3 children staying in a minivan and looking for places to eat. This is what you call the American dream...I think not. I encourage everyone if you strongly believe then tell your congress that trade issue's are what you want to see protected. Trade with China and India must be opened and we must close our borders to cheap Chinese imports. They have sweat shops and they use their citizens like farm animals. We will never be able to compete with this. So the only answer is to close the door to their goods. Then you will see our plant's reopening at a staggering rate and our economy would flourish within a few years!!! This comment is not based on heresay. It's based on factual numbers that are easily available on the internet. By the way these numbers are kept very secret and they never talk about them. Why NOT??????????????? Fight back America,,,,,we are all loosing our country.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  7. JC- Los Angeles

    Like any technology, people will embrace green technology but no one will want to pay for it; it's as simple as that.

    Outside of Wall Street, who will pump and dump green technology stocks before they go bust, no one will see any benefits to their investment in this much hyped technology.

    While the presentation and business plans associated with green technology may look ground breaking, they are merely dot coms of a different hue.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  8. Mark

    Going green is directly related to jobs and damn good ones. If anyone would take there time and actually educate themselves, Germany has gone green in the Western region that use to be communist before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This region was fully revitalized because Germany made the effort to use this as a model to go green. They did. Now they have created thousand's of green colar jobs. Look up Dr Herman Scheer. He is not only the World's leading scientist and longest running elected official. He also started the whole idea and has shown the World that green energy can easily supply the world with all it's needs. Windturbiine's and solar technology have come a long way in the past twenty years. Some of the best solar nodules are made right here in Ontario. Missisauga to be exact. They have the best technology to harness the energy from the sun.

    The German government helped their company by providing it with funding to double it's size. It has not only done that but now it has plans to grow five time's that amount. Why wouldn't Germany go to China. Because Germany know's that Chinese products are do disposable

    If we really want to know why we are where we are today then look at the horrible trade deficit American's have with China. They have taken all our manufacturing jobs and in there beliefs not only will they shut down all the large plants in USA, the locks on the door will say MADE IN CHINA. Then the US government goes to them to borrows a trillion dollars. I ask all Americans to stand up against this and talk about this in forums. Enough with the health care BS. We need jobs now!!!! and if we keep sending them abroad we have no future. Look around your homes. If it doesn't say made in China or India . They are enjoying growth rates at staggering paces. Trade must be balanced and China has to become accountable for all the copyright issue's. They take our technology and remake the same product especially software programs and everything else one can think of. If we want our country back then it has to start with trade balances.

    I am not racist in any way. I love people from all backgrounds. But if you really look at what's going on then you will realize that China has bought our country at a nominal price. Just the other day I read an article about Harvard Graduates going to China to work. My God people....please see it as it is. If not we will be a third world country in our life time.

    August 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  9. Joe G. (Illinois)

    America failed in the auto industry.. Something of which it had a head start ever since the beginning of the century.. Other industries have long since been lost and not even worth mentioning.. And yet Obama revs up the hopes and dreams of Americans who need survive with such “Green Jobs.” A picture of some panel in the desert or somewhere. What drug induced illusions would make anyone truly believe that America can produce and hold on to such jobs giving the outcome all the rest? No wonder many Americans love their long awaited fantasy hero!

    August 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Matthew Dimmett

    "If going green was so critical they wouldn’t be flying all over the place on their tax payer provided jets!"

    Um... how else are they going to get from one place to another? I'm pretty sure air travel for politicians is a drop in the bucket for tax payers. Would you rather them walk? Perhaps the president should drive 20+ hours cross country.

    I'm so sick of people complaining about taxes. I make 45K a year and pay 30% to Uncle Sam, that doesn't mean I'm not fed up about taxes. I don't see what's wrong with our government trying to advance progress is an industry that's going to be the future. I'd rather them at least try it then wait for the private sector. At the rate energy companies are going we'll be using coal and oil until the entire planet is stripped to the bone.

    August 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  11. Fed Up

    All this go green is nothing but an excuse to raise more taxes and waste more of our money. If going green was so critical they wouldn't be flying all over the place on their tax payer provided jets!

    August 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |