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Blue and Green: So Happy Together
J. Mijin Cha on January 26, 2007 - 3:47pm
By doing his very best to destroy each group, Pres. Bush has succeeded in making allies of groups that were historically at odds with each other. Organized labor and environmentalist have joined together to work towards a "green future". Union leaders are realizing that a green economy not only addresses the issue of climate change but will also provide a great new source of well-paying manufacturing jobs, the kind that have been rapidly disappearing from the U.S. in recent years. An increase in wind turbines and solar panels means more factories. More stringent efficiency standards leads to an increased need for inspectors and experts in sealing and insulating. Jeff Rickert, vice president of the Apollo Alliance says, "from labor unions' point of view, these are the kinds of jobs their unions are more prepared for." Indeed, having worked in steel mills and paper plants, many laborers already posses the appropriate skill set. Plus, it creates jobs at homes, rather than shipping the money to overseas oil fields. The Apollo Alliance has outlined a 10-point plan for energy independence and renewable energy development that highlights the ability of labor groups and environmental groups to work together. According to the Alliance, dollars invested in clean energy development create more jobs than dollars invested in traditional energy sources. One reason is because renewable energy is more labor intensive. An investment of $30 billion per year for 10 years would result in 3.3 million jobs and boost the domestic gross product by $1.4 trillion. Any initial investment by the federal government would be recouped through increased tax revenues within the same 10- year period. Beyond renewable energy development, because the cleanest energy is no energy used at all, there will be an immediate growth in the area of energy efficiency- training people to inspect, insulate and seal buildings to decrease wasted energy. Increased energy efficiency with increased job creation: it's about time these two came together.