The "Jobs" Factor in Global Warming

by Aman Singh Das | February 11, 2010

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Do you believe that all the recent talk about climate change and green jobs is really not about jobs? Well, Washington Post's Opinion Writer Stephen Stromberg believes its about global warming and not about jobs. And that it mustn't be labeled as job-related, even if that label is responsible for all and any attention it is getting.

Northeast Snow Storm 2010

In his editorial today, titled "Should curbing emissions really be about green jobs?" Stromberg emphasizes that reducing emissions, i.e., encouraging renewable energy won't necessarily increase green jobs as most of the infrastructure will continue to be imported from outside the U.S. And that's mainly because renewables and alternative energy are much more cost-efficient to produce outside America, because of their relatively higher popularity internationally. He cites a study conducted by American University, initially reported by ABC News, that summarizes: "[Of the] $2 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [that] has been spent on wind power for the creation of new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year, 80 percent has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines."

According to Stromberg, twisting clean energy legislation in the garb of creating jobs is wrong and irresponsible. He even adds, "The more realistic--and politically fraught--way to view the AU study is that all of this talk of how global warming efforts are all about, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once put it, "jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs" is irresponsible. No one can really know the net-employment effects of, say, cap-and-trade legislation with much certainty. Maybe financing wind farms wasn't the best way to stimulate the economy." While the Post writer might have a point, I think he is missing the bigger "effectiveness" picture. Without labeling this as a jobs creator, it wouldn't have even seen the daylight in the House. Simplistic logic of curbing global warming because global warming is a real danger won't cut it for most people who would rather have a job today than worry about the foot-and-a-half of snow at their doorstep since yesterday. And the industry is, and will continue to, create green jobs as has been demonstrated by California, for example. We just have to give the industry time. And while that goes against our economy's current needs, like any nascent project, this industry will gradually take hold and grow.

Filed Under: CSR

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