Ask the majority of Americans what the greatest challenge facing our nation is, and most people will say the economy and jobs. We need good-paying jobs for everyone so we can continue to be a prosperous nation and that people can afford to lead the type of lives they dream of leading. According to a recent Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) report, clean energy is rapidly creating tens of thousands of jobs. In just the second quarter of 2013 alone, nearly 40,000 green jobs were added across the country. Notice how I said “across the country,” not just in democratic or republican states, not just in states that get baked by the Sun or buffeted by strong winds all day and all night. States all across the union are benefitting from the transition to the clean energy economy.
27 different states contributed to the job growth and over a quarter of the new jobs (10,400) were in the field of solar energy. Not content with that impact alone, solar projects accounted for 75% of the newly installed energy capacity. It can at times be difficult to decide what is a “green job,” so it is interesting that the report included jobs created in public transportation and infrastructure/smart grid projects, yet neglected those involved in the exploding field of green construction. This very field comprised 44% of all construction jobs in 2012 so it is not to be taken lightly.
It seems like every month there is more news about the impending doom of the coal industry and how President Obama is trying to eradicate it from the country, but all is not dark and gloomy. For all of the workers who have lost their jobs in fossil fuels, green job growth is presenting a stable and healthier alternative career path. The U.S. is on pace this year to add more than the 110,000 clean jobs added in 2012, so these workers have an opportunity to transition to a new industry for clean economy jobs.
Many critics often assail President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to limit carbon emissions from existing and future sources of pollution as job-killing and expensive burdens on an already slowly-growing economy. What these critics fail to mention is that the infrastructure changes necessary to offset the loss in energy production from power plant closure (as well as millions of pounds of carbon dioxide and other pollutants) will necessitate job creation in other fields. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, removing carbon emissions from power plants could create 210,000 new jobs.
We are a resilient country that gets back up even stronger after being knocked down and we will continue to show our ability to adapt, expand and thrive as we continue on in the new age of energy. Check out the rest of our articles this week and vote on the one that represents the issue most important to you. The winner of the sweepstakes will receive a BirkSun solar backpack.
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