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U.S. prof sees green-jobs boom here

U.S. prof sees green-jobs boom here(By Tyler Hamilton via TheStar.com)Economist who helped inspire Obama

strategy says Ontario policy may create 90,000 well-paid positions.Investments expected to flow from new green-energy legislation in Ontario

have the potential to create and sustain 90,000 good-paying jobs over the

next 10 years, according to a report from the U.S. economics professor who

helped inspire the Obama administration's green-jobsstrategy.Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at

the University of Massachusetts, found that most of the jobs would pay more

than $20 an hour and would include a broad range of positions, from

construction managers and electricians to energy auditors and sales and

marketing staff.Pollin cautioned that green jobs are not a cure-all for Ontario's

employment woes, particularly as they relate to losses in the automotive

and forestry sectors.But he said the province is "pushing in the right direction" and will gain

even more benefits in the long run."That 90,000 figure is a very solid number," he said. "Basically, what's

going on with the green employment issue is you're shifting to a more

labour-intensive economy and you're shifting to a higher local content

economy, so there's a stabilizing effect there. You're not going to lose

those jobs five months from now."Of those jobs, he calculated that 38,400 would be directly related to green

industries and about 31,100 would be indirect jobs.The remaining 20,900 would be "induced jobs" – that is, jobs that result

from the spending of those who occupy direct and indirect positions.Pollin estimated the green-energy investments that would take place in

Ontario over the next 10 years would total $47.1 billion, spread between

eight areas: conservation and energy efficiency, hydroelectric, onshore

wind, offshore wind, bioenergy, waste-energy recycling, solar power, and

smart-grid development."In Massachusetts, we're talking it up all the time but not doing

anything," he said. "By contrast, this measure in Ontario is far more

serious than anything people talk about here. Just the fact of having an

aggressive policy and explicitly linking it to employment creation is

excellent."Ken Neumann, national director for the United Steelworkers in Canada, said

the perceived benefit of pursuing a green-jobs strategy in Ontario is

reinforced by the report. "These are good, decent jobs. You can sustain

your family with them," he said.The United Steelworkers is a member of Blue Green Canada, a partnership

with Environmental Defence.Though an unholy alliance, given the history between unions and

environmentalists, the two organizations have a common interest in

promoting the growth of green-collar jobs.Blue Green Canada, WWF-Canada and the Green Energy Act Alliance hired

Pollin based on his earlier research on green-job potential in the United

States.Since becoming U.S. president, Barack Obama has incorporated many of

Pollin's ideas into his own strategy around the green economy.But the green-jobs push is not without controversy.In March, a study by Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the King

Juan Carlos University in Madrid, concluded that every new job created as a

result of green-energy spending in Spain, which is often hailed as a model

for green economics, led to the disappearance of at least 2.2 jobs in other

industries.Calzada's findings spread quickly through conservative Internet blogs and

were seized on by Republicans looking to discredit the Obama

administration's green-spending initiatives.Environmentalists were just as quick to point out that Calzada is a staunch

libertarian who has accepted funding from oil giant Exxon and has links to

the Heartland Institute, which disputes that humans are causing climate

change.For green jobs in North America and globally please click here