Is the Green Jobs Movement Kaput?

Source:  By Roger Valdez, Crosscut, September 16, 2011.  Roger comments on the recent rash of negative stories about job growth in the clean economy.  He is critical of the federal government’s efforts (“Attaching the Obama “magic” to green jobs was a terrible mistake”), but thinks “We simply didn’t go far enough.”

Faltering commitment and bad PR have given the green jobs movement a bad name. But the basic tenets of the plan – austerity and environmental preservation – could cut costs and add jobs across the country. Will U.S. politicians ever catch up with the realities of scarcity?

The idea of green jobs — that economic development can take place through the preservation and enhancement of our environment — seems to be completely dead. Locally, recent bad press for Seattle’s Community Power Works program and the failure of the hailed Solyndra solar venture have fueled skepticism, allegedly proving that green jobs programs just don’t work. But a closer look at the facts should lean to a different conclusion. After all, what part of saving energy costs is a bad thing? Unfortunately, the basic and rather conservative idea of creating jobs through energy efficiency has become the latest casualty of our ongoing political war over the role of government in our economy.

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Roger Valdez is a Seattle researcher and writer. He recently read through Seattle’s land use code and blogged about it.