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IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
11/25/2008
10:45 PM
Kevin Ferguson
Kevin Ferguson
Commentary
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Green Jobs In This Economy?

The momentum for green jobs seems to be building. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty just introduced his Green Jobs Investment Initiative for the 2009 legislative session. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell is banking on a nearly $12 million investment into alternative clean energy projects to create at least 1,200 jobs. And California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, recent host of an international summit on the issue, has repeatedly thrown his political weight behind clean-technology businesses. But there a

The momentum for green jobs seems to be building. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty just introduced his Green Jobs Investment Initiative for the 2009 legislative session. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell is banking on a nearly $12 million investment into alternative clean energy projects to create at least 1,200 jobs. And California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, recent host of an international summit on the issue, has repeatedly thrown his political weight behind clean-technology businesses. But there are some less sanguine faces in the crowd, too.Among them, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, quoted by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal, just ahead of next week's climate summit in Poland: "Yes, things have changed," says de Boer, in Rosenthal's article. "European industry is saying we can't deal with financial crisis and reduce emissions at the same time. Heads of government have other things on their minds."

Grist.org staffer David Roberts, writing for the November/December issue of Mother Jones, also gives pause. While he backs UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn that the creation of green jobs wouldn't cannibalize existing jobs, he dismisses the notion that green jobs can't be outsourced. "There's nothing magical about a solar panel that makes it less likely to gravitate toward cheap labor -- in fact, China already produces one-third of the world's solar cells," writes Roberts.

Whoever is manufacturing them, there should be sufficient demand, judging from a recent report by Panel Intelligence. It says that 80% of corporate sustainability executives surveyed from across North America plan to maintain or increase levels of sustainability-related spending in 2009, despite the current economic condition.

Other Panel Intelligence findings:

• Sustainability and clean technology spending -- as a percentage of corporate revenue -- is expected to increase 73% through 2010. • Some 82% of respondents rated energy efficiency as the most important area of focus and investment currently. • Corporate spending on sustainable waste management initiatives is expected to grow by 20% in 2009, the highest percentage increase of any subcategory. • Cost savings, revenue generation, and brand strength are the most important drivers of environmental and clean technology initiatives. • Nearly 55% of respondents observe no financial criteria (i.e. ROI, payback period) when evaluating sustainability projects for their respective organizations. • A majority of respondents believe capital remains available for sustainability projects.

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