Saturday, April 12, 2008

Are Green Jobs The New Environmental Justice?

Recent conferences sponsored by traditional environmental groups and minority-led groups in Pittsburgh and Memphis have touted the coming of green jobs as a result of building solar and wind projects to mitigate global warming. Hopefully this will happen, but history says it will be an uphill climb. Unions joined with a couple of mainstream green groups in sponsoring one of the conferences, but none of the environmental groups are union. There is talk of mainstream green groups and environmental justice groups cooperating to create green jobs, but not even a handful of African Americans work as policy professionals at traditional environmental groups. One would think that would be a logical place to start in creating green jobs for low-income people and members of minority groups, particularly since their combined budgets total $6 billion annually.

Congress just passed The Green Jobs Act of 2007 this past December, but the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) had similar goals back in the 1970s. The presidential candidates are also chatting up 'green jobs' as the mechanism for solving the twin problems of low-income/minority job needs and global warming. In addition, renewable energy tax incentives were renewed by the Senate last week and now move to the House for consideration. Renewables will need all the help it can get because solar and wind currently generate much less than 1% of our nation's electricity needs. So hopefully the big corporations and the little entrepreneurs will get together and pump up renewables in the name of jobs creation and climate change mitigation. The economy is also heading south right now so any job creation will be a good thing. However, these should be real jobs that are produced for real people and not just inspirational rhetoric in the name of environmental justice, climate change and mainstream environmental group fundraising.


Anonymous said...

"... but none of the environmental groups are union.

In fact, the Sierra Club's nationl staff and field staff are both organized.

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the union?

Anonymous said...
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