If you’ve never read any of my posts here at MNN then let me tell you that I’m a proponent of green jobs. I think green jobs are necessary. They will help push our nation towards a green economy, provide an opportunity for underserved populations to get involved in a solid career path, can help mitigate climate change, and can help reduce our nation’s dependence on oil. However, not everyone shares my views. Today I decided to hop over the virtual fence and see what those on the other side of the issue, the green job naysayers, are saying about green jobs.
What is a green job?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis questioning a recent request for feedback on the definition of green jobs. Although green job proponents agree that defining a green job is important, Grassley’s concern is that this push for a standard green jobs definition is coming after millions of dollars in Recovery Act funding has been given to green jobs training programs.
According to an article in the Quad-City Times, Grassley wants to know if the government will receive refunds from agencies that benefited from ARRA-related green jobs funding but that don’t actually meet the future definition of green jobs.
Here’s my take on the matter: the Department of Labor is looking for specific information to track, just as they do with employment in all other sectors. Green jobs naysayers are just using this as another talking point, “How can you fund green jobs without defining them? We’re wasting money!” The ARRA has funded energy efficiency, weatherization, solar panel installation and other training programs that are obviously directly related to clean energy. There really is no question that these jobs are green jobs, regardless of an official government definition of the term “green jobs.”
Still looking at Spain’s green economy
Although it has been a long time since I’ve talked about Spain, it is still an issue that green job naysayers use to help prove their point. Spain’s attempts at a green economy have failed, ergo America’s attempts at a green economy will fail.
This is the argument being used by one citizen that felt compelled to write to The Sun-Chronicle’s opinion page. Anna DeMarinis of North Attleboro, Mass., wants Americans to support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Ark.) Senate resolution against the Environmental Protection Agency’s “green agenda” and uses Spain’s green economy as a rallying call.
“Spaniards are expressing their worry over the enormous debt that has been generated by the investment in "clean energies." Each green job created cost Spain more than 2 traditional jobs. The math doesn't lie; green jobs kill real jobs. Obama's focus on a 'green economy' could risk our economic recovery.”
Here’s my take on the matter: if I earned a dollar for every time I heard or read someone quoting the “green jobs cost 2.1 real jobs” stat, I’d be able to build my own wind farm. For those who want to learn more about the Spanish green jobs study that was used as the basis for this argument, I encourage you to read these posts: Spanish green jobs study debunked and Spanish green jobs study is back.
No green jobs naysayer post would be complete without talking about Van Jones, the one-time green jobs advisor for the White House. Before Jones came to the White House, he was a green jobs advocate and he is still a solid advocate today. However, he is also a big rallying point for green jobs opponents.
Recently Jones spoke at the University of California at San Diego. While the vast majority of students embraced his message, some members of the College Republican Club were less than pleased with his appearance. Here is an excerpt from a post by Megan Rodriguez, executive director of California College Republicans, about the event:
“Prepared with signs smuggled in under our clothing, myself and other college Republican activists mustered up the courage to stand up in the crowded room of over 600 indoctrinated individuals and reveal the reality of a green economy — burdensome government regulation, displaced workers, and higher costs on families and small businesses.” Source: TheFlashReport
Here’s my take on the matter: Van Jones was around before the White House “scandal” and he’s still around today. He is passionate about green jobs and his message isn’t indoctrinating students instead it is firing them up and getting them excited about a healthier economy and a healthier Earth for future generations.
I’m tired of reading the same posts about both Van Jones and his evil indoctrination and the Spanish green jobs study over and over again. I really wish green job naysayers would move on to something new.
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