Green Recovery Program could Reduce Unemployment

A report released in September stated that “a green economic recovery program is needed to bring our nation’s economy back to its full capacity.” The report called for $100 billion to be spent over a two-year period. Compiled by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and commissioned by the Center for American Progress (CAP), the report’s green recovery program would be the beginning of a 10 year policy program recommended by CAP in a 2007 report.
The $100 billion investment the report calls for is roughly the same level of investment as the April stimulus package that sent tax rebate checks to taxpayers, and would be paid for with the proceeds from a greenhouse cap and trade program. According to CAP’s 2007 report, ten percent of the revenue from its proposed cap and trade program would be allocated to businesses that operate in energy-intensive sectors, and half the remaining 90 percent would be allocated to low and moderate income people to help offset energy-related price increases. The remaining amount would be allocated for science and technology innovation.

The money would be spent on six infrastructure areas: retrofitting buildings, expansion of mass transit and freight rail, construction of “smart” electrical grid transmission systems, wind power, solar power, and next-generation biofuels.
According to the report, if the green recovery program were to be implemented in early 2009, unemployment would go down to 4.4 percent from 5.7 percent, if the unemployment rate stays at July 2008 levels. Employment opportunities range from traditional blue-collar jobs in the construction industry (roofers, welders, electricians) and truck drivers to jobs for accountants and research scientists.
Jobs would be created through direct effects, indirect effects, and induced effects. Jobs created from direct effects would be in construction (retrofitting buildings) or manufacturing (building wind turbines). Manufacturing and service jobs created that supply products for needed projects such as building retrofits would result from indirect effects. Retail and wholesale jobs created by the construction, manufacturing, and service workers when they spend their money on other products would come from induced effects.
The report projects that 935,200 direct jobs would be created, 586,000 indirect jobs, and 496,000 induced jobs, with a total of 1,999,200 jobs. California, the most populous state, would receive $12.7 billion of the $100 billion which would create 235,198, and reduce the state unemployment rate from 7.0 percent to 5.7 percent.
A CAP state fact sheet broke down exactly how the $12.7 billion allocated to California would be spent.
* $5.1 billion Energy efficient building retrofits
* $2.5 billion Mass transit and freight rail
* $1.3 billion Smart grid
* $3.8 billion Renewable energy and advanced biofuels
Obama calls for a $150 billion investment, McCain calls for a “market based system”
In Senator Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” he calls for $150 billion to be spent in ten years in order to “catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.” According to Obama’s website, part of his plan is to ensure that 10 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. A nation-wide cap and trade program would be created and implemented. An estimated five million jobs would be created over the ten year period.
Senator John McCain’s website states that he will “establish a market-based system to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mobilize innovative technologies, and strengthen the economy.” However, it does not mention investments in any of the six areas the CAP report sites. What it does mention, in detail, is McCain’s proposed cap and trade program. Under McCain’s cap and trade program, emissions permits will “eventually be auctioned” that would fund developing “advanced technologies,” including nuclear power.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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