I'm going to be posting a series of notes on the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference that opens today in Washington, D.C.
The conference could not be more timely given the pace at which Congress is working on the stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration. Also, today's New York Times has a thought-provoking article on tough economic times in the renewables industry.
A friend of mine likes to say that trouble is opportunity in work clothes. As NRDC and others have pointed out, we have an opportunity right now to make a huge investment in a future that is not dependent on oil or coal for energy. Everyone can win if we do this right - workers, industry, consumers, taxpayers.
At a press conference yesterday, Senate Finance Committee member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Energy and Commerce Committee member Jay Inslee, D-Wash., urged congressional leaders to make the creation of high-quality green jobs a top priority of the economic recovery and reinvestment stimulus package. The need to pay attention to the kind of green jobs we create is highlighted in a report commissioned by labor unions, the Sierra Club and Change to Win that looked at existing jobs in solar and wind equipment construction as well as recycling and green building construction. The conclusion: while many companies treat their workers well, some provide an unsafe working environment and wages that fall below the national averages.
How to get this job done right is the topic of the conference. I'll be posting about the discussions here, including today's keynote from NRDC's Peter Lehner.