CA, US green-job campaign promises fall far short

CA, US green-job campaign promises fall far short

green-kool-aidIn 2008, Barack Obama ran for president on the promise that he would get the economy out of the Great Recession with a recovery plan built on green jobs. He promised 5 million such jobs would be created across the U.S., and with the passage of the $880 billion stimulus plan by Congress in early 2009, he in theory had the ability to make it happen.

In 2010, Jerry Brown ran for governor of California on the promise that he would help the state’s struggling economy with a recovery plan built on green jobs. He promised 500,000 such jobs would be created in California and that the state would work in sync with the Obama administration and private investors on green projects and initiatives.

In 2014, Obama and Brown never bring up these promises because they haven’t come close to being met.

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a plan to carefully track the growth in green jobs. Very tellingly, however, it has never updated its initial information that estimated there were 2.15 million green jobs in the U.S. as of 2009. That number was itself highly suspect; 1.6 million of those jobs were for construction and professional/business services under a definition that defined a job as a “green” job even if it only involved “green” projects or services a small percentage of the time.

The actual hard numbers since then are grim. The Energy Collective website — which cheers all things “green”– reported in May that in the first quarter of 2014, only 5,600 clean energy and transportation jobs were created in the entire U.S. Numbers were better in 2013, but they still reflected the McKinsey think thank’s prediction of a decade ago that green jobs would never be more than a “niche” in overall jobs, not a pillar.

This is confirmed once again by a source that’s a cheerleader for green jobs: the Solar Foundation. Its “Solar Jobs Census” reports 142,698 such jobs nationally as of November 2013 — and this after solar energy’s best year ever, thanks to a drop in the cost of solar panels and some increases in efficiency. California had 47,223 such jobs in 2013.

So national figures for green-job growth have not even reached what Jerry Brown predicted for California alone, making his 2010 campaign promise an absolute crock.

I look forward to this being pointed out someday by the Sacramento media.


Tags assigned to this article:
Barack Obamagreen jobsJerry Brownfailed promises

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