Clean green jobs for community and profit

Tell me who doesn’t want clean jobs for energy independence and profit?

“Environmental sustainability… can lead to more and better jobs, poverty reduction and social inclusion,”

The above quote is Juan Somavia in an article Stephen Leahy wrote for Common Dreams 1 June 2012, For an Ailing Planet, the Cure Already Exists,

Germany’s renewable energy sector now employs more people than its vaunted automobile industry.

No wonder, when German solar power produces more than 20 nuclear plants. How many jobs? According to Welcome to Germany 13 April 2012, Renewable Energies Already Provide More Than 380,000 Jobs in Germany, which cites a report from the German government,

The boom in renewable energies continues to create new jobs in Germany. According to a recently published study commissioned by the Federal Environment Ministry, the development and production of renewable energy technologies and the supply of electricity, heat and fuel from renewable sources provided around 382,000 jobs in 2011.

This is an increase of around 4 percent compared to the previous year and more than double the 2004 figure.

“Current employment figures show that the transformation of our energy system is creating entirely new opportunities on the job market,” said German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen.

“It is the major project for the future for German industry. This opens up technological and economic opportunities in terms of Germany’s competitiveness as an exporter and location to do business.”

Wouldn’t we like some of that here in sunny south Georgia, a thousand miles south of Germany?

Back to the Stephen Leahy article:

Globally, the renewable energy sector now employs close to five million workers, more than doubling the number of jobs from 2006-2010, according to a study released Thursday by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The transformation to a greener economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of millions of workers out of poverty, concluded the study, “Working towards sustainable development”.

Everyone will benefit. Everyone can benefit starting right now.

Dutch energy consulting firm Ecofys published a technical study in 2010 called “The Energy Report” that demonstrates how the world could reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Greenpeace has a plan called “Energy [R]evolution”. Even the International Energy Agency has one: it’s called the “450 Scenario”.

And John Blackburn, Ph.D., showed us how to power North Carolina with sun, wind, and hydro, plus less natural gas than NC uses now.

And Mark Z. Jacobson has worked out how we can power the entire U.S. with wind, water, and sun.

California is busy deploying solar. Texas, including formerly solar-opposing Austin Energy, is busily deploying solar. Even formerly coal-pushing Cobb EMC is deploying solar now.

So why isn’t Georgia, with all its sunshine, leading the southeast in solar?

Only 10 to 15 industries are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of CO2 emissions in the industrialized countries, the report discovered. And those industries employ just eight to 12 percent of the workforce. Even with policies forcing major reductions in emissions, only a fraction would lose their jobs.

And I bet many of them would find jobs in deploying solar or wind or a smart grid. You know what really destroys jobs? Nuclear has destroyed many jobs at Tokyo Electric Power and E.on in Germany.

You know what’s really standing in the way of deploying solar and wind in Georgia? Plant Vogtle, and the Georgia Power and Southern Company executives who are pushing that boondoggle. They get their massive raises even as they raise your power bills and taxes to fund their bet-the-farm nuclear risk. They’re keeping the state and the region behind by manufacturing nuclear buggy whips while actively holding us back from the fastest-growing industry in the world: solar power.

How about we help Georgia Power and the Southern Company change their direction? For example, you can pay your CWIP charge in a separate check and write on it what you really want. Like Dr. Sidney Smith you can help enable a commodity market in solar power where you could get financing to put up solar panels at your house or business, or build them yourself and sell the power to somebody in Atlanta or points north.

It’s election season. Ask every candidate for public office: do you support clean energy for Georgia, for jobs, for energy independence, and for profit?

I’ve taken the liberty of quoting the Common Dreams article, which I think was written backwards, with its main point buried in its last sentence. Let’s start with the real advantages that are ready to deploy right now, omitting most of the scare tactics. We have the tools already available right now to fix the climate, and to fix it in such a way that we make a world with more jobs, more community, less poverty, and oh, by the way, cleaner and cooler.

Like the old cartoon says:

“What if we create a better world for nothing?”

Tell me: who doesn’t want energy independence, jobs, and clean air and water for us and our children?