Alternative Energy, Green Jobs, and Economic Stimulus

Building our future energy economy starts now“It’s the economy, stupid”

Ah yes, we remember the early nineties fondly and the phrase that in recent weeks has been resurrected in the wake of high energy prices and the mortgage loan debacle. Suddenly the economy doesn’t seem quite so stable to the average American and both the White House and Congress agree that an economic “stimulus” package is needed to help stem the downturn.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope writes in, in part, that green jobs and alternative energy is getting increased attention in terms of how the “green sector” can create jobs and foster a sustainable and economically viable alternative energy future.

This isn’t new to this blog or its readers, but the idea is seeping into mainstream consciousness and it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored or squandered.

Bringing Green Home

Interest in alternative energy and sustainable development, especially at the local and grassroots level, is on the rise, as reflected in a recent Zoogby poll taken for the U.S. Conference of Mayors:  
56% of respondents think that local efforts to “go green” will create jobs and help local economies, while nearly half say they are willing to pay higher taxes to fund environmentally focused projects in their communities. This is a perfect example of an opportunity to act on the phrase coined by Rene Dubos in 1972 (and seen on bumper stickers ever since): Think Globally, Act Locally.

This thinking and attitude needs to start filtering up.

It is unfortunate that the economic stimulus package that passed the House of Representative today does not include in it an extension of tax incentives for alternative energy development. Many are calling for it and there is a chance that the Senate will consider including an extension as part of the package, though it is unclear whether the proposal will gain any traction.

A recent article in Green Energy News talks of “green energy to the rescue” citing the record growth in 2007 of all forms of renewable energy, but also warns of sales and new projects already fading due to uncertainty surrounding an extension of the tax incentive. As a commenter on my post last week about the 45% growth in wind energy in 2007 correctly stated, in essence, it’s still just a drop in the bucket.

Now is an opportunity to start filling that bucket in earnest and one way to do that is to insure that growth and development in alternative energy continues with the help of a long term extension by Congress of the alternative energy tax incentive.

Sure, I’m happy to take my $600 check from the government and help “stimulate the economy”, but I think I’d just as soon have the government use that money to help build our next energy economy.




Tom is the founder, editor, and publisher of and the TDS Environmental Media Network. He has been a contributor for Triple Pundit since 2007. Tom has also written for Slate, Earth911, the Pepsico Foundation, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, and many other sustainability-focused publications. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists

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