Every December I like to look ahead and think about what the new year may have in store and this year my thoughts are centered on the economy. Now I’m not an economist nor do I have a magical crystal ball, I just have an interest in the job market and specifically green jobs. While I typically try to look at the positive side of a situation, I’m concerned about green job growth in 2012.
My biggest concern about green jobs is that, overall, the job market is stale. If the job market is struggling, it isn’t going to be easy to convince lawmakers, investors and other decision-makers that a clean energy economy is worthy of their time and financial support.
As we all know, there will be a presidential election next year. This means that it's time for some good old-fashioned mud-slinging, and green jobs have already been the target of such negative talk. Current Republican candidate Rick Perry of Texas pointed to the failure of Solyndra as an example of how a green economy is bad for the nation. Granted he called Solyndra a country and not a company, but most people understood the intent of his statement — a green economy is a waste of taxpayer’s money.
The do-nothing Congress is also going to cause problems with green jobs growth in 2012. Congress can’t even come to an agreement on a tax cut extension, at a time when the economy is on such shaky ground that any increase in taxes could fling the nation back into a recession. The partisan political game being played in Washington is not conducive to job growth, especially not green job growth.
Another concern is with the production tax credit (PTC), which not only helps the wind industry operate on a daily basis, it also fosters job growth in the sector. Wind industry growth adds good, solid middle-class green jobs for tens of thousands of American workers. If the PTC expires at the end of 2012, then the job growth will not only be halted, but many of those currently employed in the sector will face job losses as well.
I can honestly say that I hope I’m wrong. I hope that the political mud-flinging stays away from green jobs. I hope that the do-nothing Congress turns into a do-something Congress, and I hope that the wind energy industry isn’t crippled as 2012 turns into 2013.
What about you? How do you think green jobs will fare in 2012?