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What green jobs?

What green jobs?Washington is spending $60 billion to create the careers of the future, but

not a single green job yet exists. Obama's 'green czar' explains.(By Daniel Stone via Newsweek)President Obama devoted nearly $60 billion of his stimulus package to

building a new green-based economy rich in renewable energy and strategies

to cut carbon. But despite the price tag, not one green job yet exists. It

comes down to a problem of etymology. No one can yet agree on what a green

job actually is. The working definition paints a broad stroke: a job that's

good for the economy while simultaneously healing the earth. But that

leaves lots open to interpretation—natural gas is technically a cleaner

fuel than crude oil, but it's still unsustainable—making it difficult, if

not impossible, to measure whether eco-based jobs are being created and

whether, as the administration has claimed, they're the saviors of a

sagging economy.In large part, the very idea behind a green job ensures there will never be

a full definition, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics agreed in April to

start measuring data on them. (Critics, in response, quickly suspected that

the BLS, an agency supposed to measure objective data, could soon help

carry water for an administration eager to show the stimulus is working.)

Several environmental advocates polled by NEWSWEEK defined green jobs the

way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously defined obscenity: I'll

know it when I see it.The man beginning to field questions on whether Obama's green-jobs strategy

is working is Van Jones, who started an environmental nonprofit called

Green for All before joining the administration in March. Now, a senior

adviser for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Jones is

tasked with leading the administration's crusade for a green-based economy.

On the road in Indiana, Jones spoke to NEWSWEEK's Daniel Stone.Excerpts:Why are we still without an objective definition of a green job?Well, we still don't have a unified definition, and that's not unusual in a

democracy. It takes a while for all the states and the federal government

to come to some agreement. But the Department of Labor is working on it

very diligently. Fundamentally, it's getting there, but we haven't crossed

the finish line yet.A huge chunk of the stimulus went toward renewable energy and creating

these green jobs. Can you point to any returns?One of the great things is that we get to see these success stories as they

begin to happen. Right now I'm in Indiana, and there's a conference for

weatherization workers. Usually there are about 700 people at it; today

there are 3,200 people and a good chunk of them are newly trained

weatherization workers, going out and cutting energy bills. I'm looking at

a lot of people who are fired up and ready to go. You're also starting to

see employers making different decisions because of the stimulus package.

You have companies like Siemens, [which] announced a couple months ago that

it's going to be building a turbine plant, hiring hundreds of workers just

because they recognize the [government's] commitment to clean energy.At this point is the only feedback anecdotal?Yes, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence because the concrete numbers

aren't ready. But we can point to places like Kansas City, Mo., where

weatherization dollars are being used in creative ways to help retrofit a

neighborhood and influence mass transit. Once the stimulus starts working,

you see the shift among entrepreneurs and private industry. We're excited

to see the level of interest that we're seeing. We know there's tremendous

private-sector interest. The last part of the economy to freeze was the

green part. There was still growth in the solar and wind industries up

until the last quarter of last year. And it looks like the first sector to

unthaw will be the green parts.The package was sold on reviving the economy. But there seems to be a

numbers proble