Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Climate & Energy

Economic action to stop global warming

October 2009

Two New Reports from
Green America and Clean Edge

Turning off the lightWe’ve all heard the myths: addressing climate change will hurt our economy; it will kill jobs; it’s too expensive. Green America is excited to be releasing two new reports today in partnership with our allies at Clean Edge. These high-impact reports provide crucial information for dispelling those myths.

These are just the latest in a series of our groundbreaking reports demonstrating that a clean energy future is the only future we can afford. In recent years, we've published several reports with Clean Edge on solar power that helped pave the way for the rapid rise of solar installations in the US. Our newest collaborations build on that work, reporting on trends in the clean-tech job market and on five exciting public-finance models to spur clean-tech growth and job creation [PDF].

The Clean Tech Job Trends report will surprise you with positive economic news in the face of the latest grim statistics. For example, did you know that formerly shuttered manufacturing facilities are being re-opened as clean-tech facilities? The report highlights five encouraging examples, such as a Maytag factory in Iowa that closed in 2007 and reopened in 2008 to build wind turbine blades. There's also the story about a Pennsylvania window manufacturer that closed in 2008 and reopened as an ultra-energy-efficient window manufacturer in 2009. With clean tech, we can go from the rust belt to the green belt, revitalizing communities as we effectively address climate change.

Clean Tech Job Trends shows how clean-tech is key to rebuilding our economy. It includes research showing how per-dollar investments in clean-tech arenas like energy efficiency (building retrofits and the “smart grid,” for example) create jobs at a far greater rate than investments in old fossil-fuel technology like coal (by a factor of 8:1 and 5:1 respectively, according to the report).

How can you join the clean-tech revolution?

The report includes extensive resources for you: a list of the top ten clean-tech employers, the top 15 US metro areas for clean-tech jobs, the top colleges and universities with clean-tech programs, plus tools to keep you plugged in to the latest news (blogs, conferences, career fairs, networking organizations, and more).

To create the jobs we need, and to address climate change at the necessary scale and speed, we need new funding models to accelerate the shift to renewable energy. The Five Emerging U.S. Public Finance Models: Clean-Tech Economic Growth and Job Creation: report [PDF] explains five exciting financing models for the renewable-energy shift that we’ll be working to place in the hands of policy-makers. The report demonstrates that after years of government support for dirty energy, we have the opportunity for government to support clean energy solutions that will pay financial and environmental dividends for years to come.

We at Green America are particularly enthusiastic about the Clean Energy Victory bonds idea , which replicates the successful WWII “war bond” strategy. Anyone with a savings account could invest a small sum in a safe government-backed security, earning between 3 to 5 percent annually on an investment that supports job growth, a healthier environment, and national security.

That’s just one idea out of five that we’ll be working hard to get in place at the local, state, and federal level. An example of a local-level idea is the use of city-administered loan funds, whereby homeowners borrow the funds necessary for a solar array or an energy-efficiency upgrade, and then repay the loan – often at below-market rates – through their property tax or utility bill. The report links to a how-to guide to get this started in your local area.

Check out the report [PDF] to learn more about the bonds and the city-loan funds and our other strategies.