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Are Green Jobs Deniers the New Climate Deniers?

Are green jobs deniers the new climate deniers?(By Matthew Wheeland via

GreenBiz)A new report from Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond wants to put the

"Yellow Light" on green jobs-- and it's just the latest in a series of

volleys trying to sow doubt about the benefits of moving to a green economy.Bond, who is also a ranking member of the Senate's Subcommittee on Green

Jobs and the New Economy, reviews green job proposals and projects and

finds that "many green jobs pay low wages, require expensive taxpayer

subsidies, and kill existing jobs to pay for new green jobs."Bond's concern focuses largely on the fact that green jobs will require

"taxpayer subsidies" to create, and that in the process of creating these

jobs we'll end up losing untold numbers of existing jobs.It's the same line we've heard repeatedly in the last few months. Last

month, I sat in on a press conference detailing the "myths" about green

jobs discovered by researchers from several universities. That report,

"Green Jobs Myths," had much the same worries as Bond's reports: we're in

the midst of rushing headlong into a project that may end up costing us

dearly.Because the universe of green jobs is enormous and hazily defined, let's

focus solely on jobs in renewable energy, which is largely where these

concerns have been raised. To be sure, there is at least a grain of truth

to this argument: in the process of switching to clean, domestic, renewable

energy, we are inevitably going to lose jobs at, say, coal-fired power

plants, coal mines, tar sands mining operations and so on.But I've yet to see any indication that the number of new jobs that will be

created to power the country by low-carbon sources is going to be fewer

than the number of people currently employed in the fossil fuel business.On top of that, concerns about the pay for these jobs seems both unfounded

and at least a bit misplaced. Even if these jobs do pay less than existing

jobs (also not a given), considering that the country is hemorrhaging jobs

of all types, is it better to have a job that pays slightly less than no

job at all?And finally, it comes down to the fact that we don't have a choice but to

make this switch happen and we will adjust with the consequences. Even if

green jobs and the green economy are not a panacea for all our problems,

the climate crisis is not going away -- when the economy is back to a

healthy state, the environment is still going to be suffering, and the

sooner and more boldly we act, the better off we'll all be.Which brings me to the whole point of this post: are green jobs deniers the

newest form of climate deniers? The researchers behind the "green jobs

myths" report were paid by the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank

with ties to the fossil fuels industry; Kit Bond has multiple donors from

the oil, gas and energy industries in his top 100 contributors list. So it

seems a valid question: what are these groups and politicians hoping to

achieve by stalling the green jobs movement?I'll close it up with a quote from Phil Angelides, the executive director

of the Apollo Alliance, one of the leading groups working on building a

green economy. In response to Bond's report, Angelides said, "Rather than

take Senator Bond's approach and sit idly by in the hope that the country's

energy and economic woes magically sort themselves out, we believe the time

is now for aggressive solutions that will put Americans back to work, break

our costly addiction to fossil fuels, and lay the foundation of a new,

robust economic infrastructure."For the latest green jobs globally please click here