Clean energy jobs may just be the answer to the nation’s economic woes as well as the world’s environmental woes. Environmentalists are in agreement that a push towards clean energy is necessary to slowing (or stopping) the negative effects of climate change, but a clean energy economy may be the answer to our nation’s financial crisis.
A recent energy report shows that a moderate investment in the industry would create tens of thousands of jobs in Georgia, alone. A $4.6 billion investment in clean energy could create an additional 59,000 jobs in the state with a $2.8 billion investment leading to more than 31,000 jobs in Atlanta.
The report, Green Prosperity: How Clean-Energy Policies Can Fight Poverty and Raise Living Standards in the United States (PDF), was the result of a partnership between the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Green for All.
“According to “Green Prosperity”, investment in clean energy will produce a new total of 31,658 jobs, in Atlanta, Ga., of which over 17,054 jobs would be for workers with high school degrees or less. This investment will also significantly contribute to improvements in energy efficiency in buildings and homes, lowering overall energy costs for consumers and especially benefiting lower-income households.” Source: SustainableAtlanta.org
PERI also released fact sheets on several metropolitan and congressional districts across the country. The fact sheets reveal the economic impact that clean energy investments will have on these areas. One of the fact sheets included is for the Detroit, Michigan area. Due to the meltdown in the domestic auto industry, citizens of Detroit are facing record-high unemployment rates.
A $2.3 billion clean energy investment in Detroit would create 11,000 new “high school or less” jobs. This would provide individuals in the city a path out of poverty in one of the hot new clean energy jobs.
The investment would lead to nearly 24,000 total new jobs, a 5.5 percent increase in earnings for low-income workers, a 4 percent reduction in living costs due to energy-efficient retrofits, and improved public transportation options.
For those that may question the multibillion dollar investment needed to see these results, it is important to note that clean energy jobs are already on the rise. According to a recent report published by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the clean energy industry experienced a 9.1 percent job growth between 1998 and 2007. This is significantly greater than the 3.7 percent overall job growth seen during the same time period. The industry’s growth can undoubtedly support the funding.