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Where are all the green jobs?

Where are all the green jobs?(By Clay Dillow via via San Francisco Chronicle)During the 2008 campaign season, voters heard a lot about green jobs that

were going to help reverse slipping employment numbers while reducing

American dependence on foreign oil. America, it was said, would lead the

world in creating a green economy that would triply silence threats to our

economy, security, and environment. So where are all these green jobs?

They're coming, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told the Associated Press

Monday, but don't hold your breath.Employment in the green economy is limited to just one-half of 1% of all

U.S. jobs, and while that number was climbing last summer, the economic

downturn put a damper on many green initiatives. The freezing of credit

markets and a plunge in fossil fuel prices undermined the funding for many

planned green energy projects while at the same time robbing them of their

urgency. Meanwhile, after talk of the U.S. leading the world toward a green

economy, China has taken a decisive lead in creating "green collar" jobs,

accounting for nearly a third of global solar cell production in 2008 and

passing the U.S. in installed wind capacity in the first half of this year

(China installed 4.5 Gw to the United States' 4 Gw). In installed solar,

Spain and Germany both outpaced the United States by wide margins, though

the U.S. still leads Europe in wind power demand.But as the larger economy goes, so go the green jobs, and things are

starting to look up for both. Unemployment numbers ceased their slide (at

least briefly) in July, and venture capital investments in alternative

energy rose 73% in the last three months compared to the first three months

of the year. "Once you start seeing more investments made in our economy

recovering, as we stabilize and we get people back to work, then I think

there'll be more interest in expanding," Solis said of the push for green

jobs. But as the economy finds its feet, is America's green renaissance

upon us?While the age of emission free motoring and renewable electrical power may

be in its infancy, it's going to take a long time to mature. Many wind and

solar companies have cut back on employees as the economic climate has

eaten away at bottom lines, and a disconnect between state and federal

officials regarding the best way to spur green job development creates

bureaucratic obstacles to getting stimulus cash into the right hands.But the funding is coming. Last week Obama announced $2.4 billion in grants

to be distributed to various companies developing electric vehicles and

more efficient battery technologies. Energy Secretary Steven Chu last week

said $3 billion in renewable energy grants will boost green employment, and

that while it's taking some time to review grant proposals, more federal

dollars for green jobs are in queue.What will these green jobs look like? Most will be in energy, at least

initially, as America tries to divorce itself from fossil

fuels--particularly foreign oil--but energy isn't all turbines and

photovoltaics. Energy efficient building will go a long way toward curbing

energy consumption to levels that allow renewable resources to sufficiently

power the grid. Meanwhile, upgrading that grid via new infrastructure,

resource management software, and energy-smart urban planning will sync the

way we live up with the way we generate energy.For the very latest green jobs from across the US and globally then please

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