Portland, Oregon, is also internationally renowned for its
commitment to sustainable development. The Portland metropolis has
an expansive public transit system and an urban growth boundary to
control development at the urban periphery. The city boasts a
green investment fund
to provide grants for residential and commercial building projects.
Now the city is striving, like Copenhagen, to reap the economic
rewards of sustainable development through business formation, firm
expansion, job growth and private investment. In February, Portland
released its first regional export plan to double exports over five
years by building on the region’s distinctive economic and physical
attributes. A critical pillar of this strategy involves increasing
the export orientation of firms in the burgeoning clean technology
sector to serve growing markets in Asia, Latin America and
Amy Liu spoke about globalization last week in Orlando,
about clean industries leading economic growth.
Even though she was talking linear growth,
her Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution
has some interesting points that mesh with the exponential growth like compound interest
Georgia can get on with in solar and wind power.
The national economic
recovery is slow, the middle class has been hard-hit,
and Florida is recovering faster, except on unemployment.
The U.S. population is rapidly getting older and by 2050
53.7% will be minorities, each of which have very different
educational achievements, and much of this is happening
in metro areas.
Among regions, the South has the largest number of clean economy jobs
though the West has the largest share relative to its population. Seven
of the 21 states with at least 50,000 clean economy jobs are in the
South. Among states, California has the highest number of clean jobs
but Alaska and Oregon have the most per worker.
A per-county map is included, on which you can see North Carolina
and Atlanta, but nothing in south Georgia.
Let’s put Lowndes County on the clean energy map!
The gigaom article recommends:
To help boost the clean energy economy even more, the Brookings report
suggests that Congress could pass a national clean energy standard, put
a price on carbon, use the government as a chief customer of cleantech
goods (Obama has been strong on this), find more ways to help proven
clean technologies pass the so-called Valley of Death, as well as
increase funding for basic science and early-stage high risk projects
(like the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program).
Sure, we’re not nearly as big as those places, or so local “leaders” remind me.
So let’s find some projects of our scale that we can do, and let’s do them!
A real leader might say, as
Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio did, that
renewable energy is
“…the nexus between sustainability and job creation. Every now
and then, perhaps once in a generation, there presents itself a moment,
an opportunity, for those cities that are willing to seize it, to truly
benefit the region for generations to come.”
That opportunity is right here in south Georgia, waiting for us to seize it.
The green technology and clean power industries are currently employing
more workers than their dirty fossil fuel peers. That’s according to a
report released from the
Brookings Institution, which has crunched the
numbers of jobs created in the U.S. by sectors like solar, wind, waste
water recycling, public transportation and energy efficiency retrofits.
Qualified because Brookings includes not only wastewater and mass transit
(good stuff, albeit a bit odd fit) but also biomass (ick).
However, even during the recession,
…newer clean economy establishments— especially those in young
energy-related segments such as wind energy, solar PV, and smart
grid—added jobs at a torrid pace, albeit from small bases.
Not just jobs, but good-paying jobs:
The clean economy offers more opportunities and better pay for low- and
middle-skilled workers than the national economy as a whole. Median
wages in the clean economy—meaning those in the middle of the
distribution—are 13 percent higher than median U.S. wages. Yet a
disproportionate percentage of jobs in the clean economy are staffed by
workers with relatively little formal education in moderately well-paying
“green collar” occupations.