Republican congressional gains may limit green sector job growth


\"\"A recent Reuters article, “Next Congress may slow green job growth,” indicated that “Republican gains in the next Congress will likely curtail spending on green construction projects, but the sector promises to be a source of job growth for an economy that sorely needs it.”

Green sector holds key to job growth

“Despite the harsh economy, companies are more committed than ever to green initiatives.” This is the central finding from the 2010 Green Building Survey from National Real Estate Investor and the U.S. Green Building Council.

The estimate is that green construction projects created 2.4 million American jobs between 2000 and 2008. A passion for protecting the environment is seen in the fact that 82% of responding executives say energy efficiency is important this year in selecting green buildings to buy or lease, compared with only 63% last year.

Another study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton projected green building projects will support or create 7.9 million jobs between 2009 and 2013 and will contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.

However, many people like BlueGreen Alliance’s executive director David Foster are concerned that if action isn’t taken immediately by Congress during the lame-duck period, the Republican congressional gains may limit job growth in the green sector next year.

Urgent need of critical policies to create green sector jobs

Stressing the urgency of critical policies to help America become more energy independent, the BlueGreen Alliance released a clean energy agenda entitled \”Seven Simple Steps: The Best Job-Creating Policies for What Remains of the 111th Congress,\” which outlines seven key policies to jumpstart the clean energy economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

Among the policies contained in the agenda are a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), Home Star and Building Star and extensions of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loans and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Foster remarked, “Working people across the country can\’t afford to wait, the U.S. economy can\’t afford to wait, and Congress can\’t afford to wait to embrace clean energy as a strategy for creating jobs.\” Given that China has generated a million green jobs in the past five years and that they have overtaken the United States in solar and wind energy, it’s apparent that Congress needs to make their move while there is still time.