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One of the weapons the right uses to try to block better policies on energy and the environment is the specter of job loss: regulations or clean energy or the boogeyman of the day will close businesses and put people out of work. In fact, clean energy and environmental regulations could create jobs. But Republicans exploit a legitimate fear on the part of workers, because while jobs could and should be created by improved environmental policies, there would be inevitable reshuffling, jobs shifted around from one industry to another. The people who know their jobs would be on the line have a reasonable fear that they wouldn't immediately get new jobs, or that the new, clean energy jobs wouldn't be as good as the ones they lost.

"Reasonable fear" doesn't mean "reason not to act," though. For the health of the environment, of people, of the economy, we have to take action to address climate change and more. How, though, do we do that in a way that addresses the legitimate concerns of working people? That's both a political and a policy problem—workers have to be convinced, and the policy has to follow through and ensure that the shift to a clean energy economy is not taken as an opportunity to drive down wages and working conditions for the average worker.

This effort, of course, will take place over the well-funded resistance of the 1 percent, seeking to divide us—to make workers desperate for jobs at any cost and to convince them that climate change is less of a threat to their lives than the people who seek to avert its damage; to make environmentalists see workers, not polluting corporations, as their opponent in this battle.

That's the needle AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had to thread this week in his address to the UN investor summit on climate risk. Trumka made clear the urgency he and others in the labor movement see in addressing climate change, and doing so comprehensively rather than relying on small fixes:

And to those who say climate risk is a far off problem, I can tell you that I have hunted the same woods in Western Pennsylvania my entire life and climate change is happening now—I see it in the summer droughts that kill the trees, the warm winter nights when flowers bloom in January, the snows that fall less frequently and melt more quickly.

Even so, some will ask, why should investors or working people focus on climate risk when we have so many economic problems across the world?  The labor movement has a clear answer: Addressing climate risk is not a distraction from solving our economic problems. My friends, addressing climate risk means retooling our world—it means that every factory and  power plant, every home and office, every rail line and highway, every vehicle, locomotive and plane, every school and hospital, must be modernized, upgraded, renovated or replaced with something cleaner, more efficient,  less wasteful.

But to do that, he argued, workers have to be included in the dialogue about what to do and how to do it:

Too often, we have failed to consider who bears the cost of change and ensure that change is managed fairly and respectfully. And when we do that, no matter how important the reasons might seem, we sacrifice the chance to build the power to move forward. The only way for our democracy to act is for those who care about climate change to engage with the people whose livelihoods are tied up with carbon emissions. All of us—investors, companies, workers, environmental activists, governments—need to be part of this dialogue. Any other approach to addressing climate risk is not just fundamentally unfair, it simply won't work in our democracy.

Remember that Trumka was a coal miner, and then the president of the United Mine Workers. The question of what happens to people who work with coal is a very direct and personal one for him. And while developing technologies that use less energy and investing in solar and wind and other forms of cleaner energy will create jobs in the long term:

So why, in an economy without an effective safety net, would the good men and women of my hometown and a thousand places like it surrender their whole lives and sit by while others try to force them to bear the cost of change.

The truth is that in many places – and not just places where coal is mined – there is fear that the "green economy" will turn into another version of the radical inequality that now haunts our society—another economy that works for the 1% and not for the 99%. [...]

So how can all Americans sit down together and develop trust?  I think it begins with a commitment—a challenging and difficult commitment—that we are going to measure our approach not by how well it fits the needs of the well-positioned.  We must ask ourselves, "How well does this pathway serve the least, the hardest to reach, the most likely to be left behind?"  Places like West Virginia and the Ohio Valley must come first, not last.

How can this happen?  Let's think about the new EPA emissions rules for power plants. All of the unions of the AFL-CIO want to see coal fired power plants retrofitted immediately to cut back on mercury and sulfur emissions—those retrofits create good jobs, save lives. We oppose anyone who would take away the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to keep our air and water clean. But power plant and mine workers want to know that if their employers commit to doing the retrofits, they will get the time to complete them. Surely through dialogue common ground can be found between workers who want the retrofit jobs and clean air and public health advocates.

This is a question the environmental movement has to grapple with. There are good jobs to be created in conservation, in clean energy, in doing things the right way for the planet. But that has to be a priority, not a talking point. As opposed as I am to Keystone XL, as much as I think it's short-sighted and destructive, it's distressing to hear opponents of the project dismiss thousands of construction jobs as merely temporary—basically all construction jobs are temporary. The unions that support the project because it will provide jobs for their members must engage seriously with research indicating that Keystone will provide far fewer jobs (PDF) than TransCanada is claiming. But building a LEED building is a temporary construction job. Retrofitting a home is a temporary construction job.

That environmentally bad jobs aren't all they're cracked up to be isn't a helpful thing to say to unemployed construction workers unless you have concrete policies that are going to create better ones, or at least a strong commitment to fight for them, and a reason for the people who stand to lose "gray" jobs to believe that they will get a fair share of the green jobs created. Such jobs are possible. As we all know, it's not even hard to identify how it could be done—there are members of the Steelworkers working on wind turbines; investments in public transit would create construction jobs as well as longer-term jobs driving trains and buses; on and on, the possibilities for good green jobs exist. But when you advocate for good environmental policy, the political bargain to get it done can't involve shorting the workers involved. The costs cut to get that last vote in Congress can't be the cost of workers' health insurance and retirement. You can't squeeze more building retrofits out of a block of funding by halving the pay rate of those (again, temporary) jobs.

There have been strong efforts on the part of both movements, environmental and labor, to address this. Environmental organizations and unions have joined in the BlueGreen Alliance to address exactly this; some environmental organizations supported the Employee Free Choice Act; unions and environmental groups have joined on campaigns to clean up port trucking; Trumka's speech lists a number of investments that unions and their pension funds have made in job-creating green projects. These alliances are promising, but they must be built into the DNA of both movements. Not just leaders but the majority of rank and file activists have to believe in the partnership and its intertwined goals, no matter how hard the 1 percent tries to divide us.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 08:55 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Clean energy does create jobs (not "could") (12+ / 0-)
    Increased fuel economy standards already led to the creation of more than 155,000 U.S. jobs

    Great post - just picking on this language beause I see "could" as a kind of vanilla journalistic equivocation, like "scientists say ...".  When it's true, let's say it is so!

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:03:05 AM PST

  •  ..."there would be.... (7+ / 0-)

    .... inevitable reshuffling, jobs shifted around from one industry to another."

    Bain (and their ilk) destroy jobs. Personally, shifting around existing jobs from industry to industry sounds like an improvement to me.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:05:00 AM PST

  •  Right on, Laura. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, translatorpro

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:10:56 AM PST

  •  'Green energy', + Job Growth not - Job Growth (7+ / 0-)

    What is needed is more public investment, as it would benefit the whole country, because the private sector investments in are not happening as they are supposed to by that sectors own promises related to the capitalism ideology they, and government, initiated back some three decades ago. Even though that supposed capitalism would greatly benefit the private sector, especially in a cleaner and cheaper infrastructure, much more then roads and bridges, and energy needs as well as health and safety of their employee's and much more.

    'Green energy' is the best route to profitable public investment

    01.12.12 - The Obama administration's investments in the green energy economy have already produced a great number of jobs in a sector with significant potential for additional growth. It would be a serious mistake to undercut the initiative just as it's contributing to the recovery.

    While estimates vary on exactly how many jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created, several experts have put the number at 2 million or more. Separate studies by Daniel J. Wilson of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, economists James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote of Dartmouth College and the Congressional Budget Office also conclude that government spending on infrastructure, goods and services produces one of the highest jobs-per-dollar ratios of all spending alternatives.

    Included in this category of government spending is support of green energy programs such as weatherization, smart grids and the Department of Energy's loans for innovative technologies.

    A study conducted in 2011 by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute confirmed the jobs benefits of green energy policies. It found that the stimulus created or saved 997,000 green jobs - including jobs in the energy sector - through the end of 2010. One can view some of these jobs online via the website, although these are only the "direct" jobs reported by project contractors and do not include "induced" jobs, such as those devoted to the production of the steel needed to make wind turbines.

    Even more of these jobs can be viewed at the Department of Energy's Loan Program Office website  read more>>>

    CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

    by jimstaro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:21:08 AM PST

  •  Interestingly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, OpherGopher

    The green economy requires tons of mining to obtain the special metals needed for thin film solar, silver and copper in Si PV, generators in wind turbines and especially batteries.

  •  Green Sustainable Construction (6+ / 0-)
    Local Assistance Available for Sustainable Construction

    January 11, 2012 - In today's world of increasing populations and diminishing resources, more people are considering creative options when constructing homes or other buildings in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce their impact on the environment.

    Rich Franz-Ünder says it's an effort that's leading to success in many areas, although guidance, education and finances are pivotal as a way to make the experience more feasible and enjoyable.

    "With our program we provide information, training and actually certification to prove that someone has built a green building," he says.

    "Green buildings are better buildings and better buildings are going to cost more. But with a green building you're spending money on things that are going to save you money. So you've reduced your energy cost, you've reduced your water cost, you've also made a healthier building so your health care costs are going to go down." read more>>>

    CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

    by jimstaro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:22:54 AM PST

  •  Biogas-Powered Fuel Cells (6+ / 0-)
    Fuel cell microgrids to get spark from renewable biogas

    January 10, 2012 - An energy project in Austria will use biogas-powered fuel cells at homes and businesses to pump power into the grid.

    ClearEdge Power today announced a deal with Austrian energy company Gussing Renewable Energy to supply 50 megawatts worth of fuel cells over the next five years for installation in Austria. The deal will be worth $500 million over that time, making it one of the biggest contracts for stationary fuel cells.

    In the first phase, ClearEdge Power's large refrigerator-size fuel cells, which each can generate five kilowatts of electric power and heat from gas, will be installed to power groups of residences and commercial buildings. Some will be designed as microgrids, where the fuel cells will be a distributed energy source for a network of buildings, according to the representative.

    Most fuel cells convert natural gas to electricity and heat. At the Gussing project, about 25 percent of its fuel cells will initially run on biogas, or methane derived from biomass such as trash, yard clippings, or food. Gussing Renewable Energy's, which develops low-carbon energy projects, plans to use biogas entirely by 2020, according to ClearEdge Power. read more>>>

    CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

    by jimstaro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:25:18 AM PST

  •  More people are starting to see (4+ / 0-)

    that being green and creating jobs need not be mutually exclusive.

    Just heard you on Brad Bannon's radio program in Boston, Laura.  Good show!

    We seek to rise WITH the working class, not OUT of it.

    by brae70 on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:27:57 AM PST

  •  The Alternative Energy and Green market is, and (12+ / 0-)

    always has been the next big Dot Com economic engine in this country.  You have to ask yourself, why hasn't it happened?  Why do we not have the lion's share of market in this country of solar panels, and wind turbines, and other forms of large, to medium and small alternative forms of power generation?  Just think of all of the allied businesses that could be created by this new economic explosion.

    Jobs, a better environment, energy security, less unemployment, a renewed tax base, and the list goes on and on.  So many people, so few jobs..... So much need for an Energy efficient,, and a cleaner environment America.

    Where is the outrage?

    Tipped and Rec'd for just a common sense factual
    diary, and to Trumka who is a rising star to watch and listen to on the horizon.

    Thank you.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution, inevitable." - President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)

    by LamontCranston on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:28:43 AM PST

    •  Because the DotCom was about consumers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It was about websites, shopping, programming, advertising. Green expansion is almost completely about infrastructure, energy, etc...stuff people don't get excited about and is individually quite expensive for consumers (new windows, solar panels, etc).

      Without disagreeing that we need more green infrastructure investment, I think it's pretty clear why there's no "outrage".

      Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:36:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The example of using the Dot Com was to equate it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to a major economic time.  Alternative energy and green products would serve to fuel consumerism, and innovative job creation in research, manufacturing, to application.  

        Costs could and would come down from competition, and the public could all take advantage of than action.  The excitement comes from the opportunities that are to be viewed as gains and advancements in the quality of people’s lives, and not ignored as you portray.  

        I am sure you agree that this country could use a shot in the arm of something "good" to get excited about, and right about now, the prospect of an economic turn around with the benefits that would accompany them would be good not only for the pocketbook and budgets of many, but for the mental disposition of many as well who are felling a bit disenfranchised from their society, and depressed as well with no optimism in their hearts for their future.  

        There is more to this than meets the eye other than just the simple, and negative Dot Com comparison as you interpreted in my post, but I sincerely appreciate your feedback as it allowed me to rethink my post as to how it could have been read.

        "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution, inevitable." - President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)

        by LamontCranston on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:23:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course we agree on its worth (3+ / 0-)

          and frankly I much more appreciate spirited debates over implementation methods, rather than not even being on the same page about a concept's inherent worth.

          I don't think green energy items will ever catch on as a consumer thing like the dotcom products, which is why we need leaders that will guide us through some short-term pain in order to get the long-term gain.

          Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:49:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Totally agree, and all the retrofitting that would (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN, translatorpro

      spring from a greenboom would provide jobs for many of the unemployed who already have such skills, the construction folks.  

      We've lost our ability to be forward thinking in anything but the weapons and gaming areas.  Reactionary positions seem to hold everywhere else.

    •  Next???? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9, translatorpro

      We started it some forty years ago and the complacent spoiled population allowed it to get blocked, the meme's of then and the now meme's of climate change denials, right about the same time we started shipping our trades oversea's!

      It's not 'next', those who got the needed trades in as well as the educated as technologies everywhere started advancing, the tech bubble, now have been advancing with the now experienced trades and the innovations brought, they once envied us now they're doing what we should have back then as well as since!!

      CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

      by jimstaro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:40:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One big reason why it hasn't happened at the... (8+ / 0-)

      ...level it should have was the Reagan administration's concerted effort to undermine any move to renewable energy. This was aided by a plunge in oil prices in the early '80s that, with fluctuations, continued into the late '90s. Cheap oil, disdain for solar, wind and other emerging technologies and the energy industry's propaganda efforts (both overt and covert) helped keep renewables in the dark. Advances were made, particularly in wind energy tech, but for years the leaders of that were not American but rather Danish, aided by Denmark's extremely far-sighted long-term energy plan initiated in 1983 and updated frequently since. America's energy plan? Nothing comprehensive passed since 1979.

      Laura has done a tremendous job here of publicly focusing on an important divide that needs to be addressed repeatedly because it's a divide that is exacerbated by the powers-that-be, who thrive on our division. In the 1980s, we saw this division in stark relief in a battle over timbering in old-growth forests in Oregon and Washington and the destruction of the habitat of the spotted owl. This was a battle between eco-advocates and loggers, including small sawmill operators. But it drew in a lot of big-company money to lobby against protection of the spotted owl and protection of old growth. Georgia-Pacific was among the biggest. The crux: loss of jobs. But it wasn't as if GP and other major actors really cared about workers.

      The industry said these protections amount to over-reach and persuaded many men and women dependent on the logging industry that they should not be stopped by environmental concerns over a stupid owl from having a decent livelihood that for some had been the family's way of life for two or three generations. My ex-wife's cousins — former loggers and construction workers tied to industry — still rail against environmental "nuts" if you give them an opening.

      Research done later has shown that few jobs were lost because of reduced cuts in old growth, but more as a result of automation, the shrinking base of old-growth forests and other factors unrelated to protection of the owl habitat. But the conventional wisdom still has it that the spotted owl killed logging in Oregon and Washington.

      As Laura points out, building bridges between environmental advocates and workers is a crucial factor in our efforts to spread the green throughout our economy. The Blue-Green Alliance is a good example of this, but when it comes to issues like Keystone XL, it will take significant work on both sides to keep from being divided by the bosses-of-us-all for their own benefit.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:56:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very nice! (addressed to both Trumka and (6+ / 0-)


    There is enough retrofitting to be done throughout the United States to keep the construction industry employed for a long, long temporary time.

    I firmly believe that if the green movement will promise green jobs, it needs to keep that promise, and keep the jobs in the United States. We've probably lost the solar panel manufacturing industry to China, but the wind manufacturing industry will stay in America for a couple of reasons (expensive to transport, Midwest manufacturers skilled in sheet metal work).

    My day job is dealing w/ contractors - people who make a living from those "temporary" jobs. Union laborers have houses, good teeth, and hope for the future; nonunion laborers have apartments, no health care, and anger toward the recession.

    The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:30:51 AM PST

  •  Truth about green jobs (0+ / 0-)

    "The US Energy Information Administration estimates that the total cost of solar PV energy by 2016 will be about $211 per megawatt-hour, compared to $63 for an advanced, combined-cycle power plant fueled by natural gas.

    Advocates for green energy argue that continued investment in innovative technologies should drive down solar energy prices and allow PV to reach grid-parity costs. But this reasoning ignores the other half of the problem: The average wind power plant in the US only runs at about one-third of its rated capacity, while solar PV plants run at about 25 percent of their nameplate capacity. Because there’s little scope to store power on the grid, variable output from solar and wind facilities can only replace a modest amount of conventional, baseload power.

    Given these inherent disadvantages, alternative energy wouldn’t attract significant investment without large subsidies. The EU has been a leader in “feed-in tariffs,” a system that guarantees companies a high tariff for their renewable power. These subsidies encourage firms to build solar and wind capacity without regard to demand.

    Germany and Denmark are often lauded for their efforts to encourage wind and solar power. But these energy sources cost consumers dearly. Retail customers in Germany and Denmark—the nations with the largest installed bases of alternative energy—also pay the highest electricity rates in the EU. Moreover, to offset the variability of solar and wind power sources, Germany and Denmark must trade electricity with their neighbors

    Weak economic growth and high unemployment across much of the developed world make it difficult to pass along high alternative energy subsidies to consumers, prompting Germany and other nations to cut feed-in tariffs. Governments in countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy that once directly subsidized alternative energy have more pressing needs. The era of supercharged subsidy-driven growth has ended.

    In an era of high energy prices, many companies can save money by reducing their power consumption. That makes efficiency viable even without subsidies."

    Read more:

    •  Is expecting a reduction in consumption realistic? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Until there are rolling brownouts and blackouts I don't see it happening, commercially, industrially or residentially.  Of course, some local budgets are forcing municipalities and towns to turn their street lights off, but where are the larger efforts at conservation?  Where's the patriotism that Teddy Roosevelt attached to developing these habits?  
      History will look kindly on Jimmy "Dial Down" Carter even though the wingers ridicule him.

      •  He was so far ahead in his thinking that it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        scared the Reagan Administration so as to take down the solar panels that were in place on the roof of the White House.  Not they provided that much to the energy consumption of the facility, it served to symbolically demonstrate the direction that this country was to be going under the new administration and to the heralding of Big Oil and big business and their influence of public policy for the many years ahead, compared to where we as country had been.

        "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution, inevitable." - President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)

        by LamontCranston on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:35:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'll start being concerned about baseload... (7+ / 0-)

      ...power shortages when every state in the union is doing what Iowa is doing: producing 20 percent of its power from wind energy. Nationwide, we are nowhere near that level. EIA predicts we could be there in 2025 if we had the right policies. That would includes incentives (subsidies).

      As for those subsidies, it should not be forgotten that the largest of those have not gone to renewables, but rather to "conventional" sources, as the chart below shows. As for $211 total cost for a solar megawatt-hour in five years, I'd be willing to bet $100 that it will be 50 percent lower than that. And that total cost for a natural-gas AC-C doesn't include the costs associated with contaminating drinking water, possible damage from earthquakes and, of course, the cost of putting more CO2 into the atmosphere.

      "Many conservatives have attacked the Obama administration's effort to invest in emerging clean energy technologies, including wind and solar electricity generation. Yet they defend longstanding tax breaks for the mature oil and gas (O&G), and nuclear industries. However, the federal government annually spends an average of thirteen times more money on the oil and gas industry compared to investments in renewable energy."
      —Richard Caperton, Director of Clean Energy Investment, Center for American Progress
      Solar is still very expensive. But steadily getting cheaper. There has been a 60 percent drop in the cost of PVs since 2008.

      As for the higher costs of electricity for the Danes and the Germans, right now that is true, but it won't be that way for long. Feed-in tariffs have been reduced because of a glut on the market for solar. That's because of this situation:

      The 15 mile-per-hour winds that buffeted northern Germany on July 24 caused the nation’s 21,600 windmills to generate so much power that utilities such as EON AG and RWE AG (RWE) had to pay consumers to take it off the grid.

      Rather than an anomaly, the event marked the 31st hour this year when power companies lost money on their electricity in the intraday market because of a torrent of supply from wind and solar parks. The phenomenon was unheard of five years ago.

      With Europe’s wind and solar farms set to triple by 2020, utilities investing in new coal and gas-fired power stations no longer face stable returns. As more renewables come on line, a gas plant owned by RWE or EON that may cost $1 billion to build will be stopped more often from running at full capacity. It may only pay for itself on days like Jan. 31, when clouds and still weather pushed an hour of power on the same-day market above 162 ($220) euros a megawatt-hour after dusk, in peak demand time.

      “You’re looking at a future where on a sunny day in Germany, you’ll have negative prices,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance chief solar analyst Jenny Chase said about power rates in wholesale trading. “And a lot of the other markets are heading the same way.”

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:50:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! nm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:55:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You might be interested in hearing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

        about Germany's thinking on baseload power supply in citisven's and my liveblog with the German Green Party energy guy next Sunday, Jan 22nd, at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The pro-nuclear power people who post here always bring it up as a reason "Germany will never succeed", so that's a question I asked them when I first contacted the Party to request more detailed information on the subject. I think Sven has mentioned it to you, and we have just fixed the date because there were some scheduling issues to resolve. In fact, anyone reading this and who is interested is invited to participate and submit questions - sooner preferably than later, so Georg has time to answer them and I can translate them back into English. Thanks!

        „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

        by translatorpro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 11:09:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A big part of Germany's energy policy (0+ / 0-)

      is to focus on energy efficiency, like retrofitting buildings, on a huge scale, in order to reduce consumption. There's a brochure you can download on this topic here (in the right-hand column):

      „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

      by translatorpro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 11:00:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  known RW troll n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 11:11:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disruptive technology... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, well, disruptive.

    The entire point of technology is to make things easier so you invest less effort for the same result. This dynamic necessarily means that over time, manual labor will tend to be obsoleted.

    Technology will always be implemented in a manner that attempts to create less jobs rather than more. In general, society is going to have to find a way to deal with this reality through some means or other, because technology will not stop.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:41:45 AM PST

    •  The point of technology (0+ / 0-)

      is to allow you to do things you couldn't otherwise do. Reduction of labor is only one option.  Many increases in technology led to more good jobs, not less. (Galbraith explains how this dynamic played out in post-war America in The New Industrial State.)  Technology will be implemented in a way that achieves the goals of those with power and is heavily influenced by government. That is, it is a political decision.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 03:38:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rick Perry is an idiot!! (4+ / 0-)

    Last night he was on that Huckebee forum, and some one asked him a question about doing away with the EPA. Part of his answer was he would return enviornmental regulations to the states, because,"it is their air and their water".  Don't we all breathe the same "air" and depend on the same "water"? Also part of that answer was his first criteria for any enviornmental regulations would be "does it destroy jobs". So there you have it folks, these are the people the G.O.P. wants to be the keepers of our enviornment and resources/

  •  Green construction is a part of why I got hired. (7+ / 0-)

    the company that just hired me last month is a construction company with a few wind turbines under their belt, plus a track record of doing upgrades/refurbs of paper mills & gas power plants that are trying to eke out efficiency improvements.. if it weren't for all these jobs coming in, they'd have had far fewer reasons to hire more IT staff like myself.

  •  Go directly to the source (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, OldDragon, OpherGopher

    Skip Georgia Pacific and wipe your butt with a Koch brother.

    Big business wants to kill me and I'm slightly pissed.

    Effective activism requires Activists -- Effecting radical change demands Radicals

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 09:58:04 AM PST

  •  Thank you for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Eric Nelson
    As opposed as I am to Keystone XL, as much as I think it's short-sighted and destructive, it's distressing to hear opponents of the project dismiss thousands of construction jobs as merely temporary—basically all construction jobs are temporary.

     That's why I used to get so angry to hear wingnuts saying the stimulus did not create any "real" jobs because they were "temporary". Working on a mass transit or highway project, or school for a few months may mean the difference between running out of unemployment insurance or not, for someone. Or running out of health benefits. Or being able to pay a mortgage.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:14:08 AM PST

  •  Reasonable fear is a good thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Good post and right emphasis:

    Jobs -- good ones -- must be an essential part of the discussion.  They're too important to simply wave off with a cavalier "Of course there'll be green jobs" because --- there is no certainty that there won't be a net loss of good American jobs.  None at all.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:24:47 AM PST

  •  how about a solar/wind "pipeline" (0+ / 0-)

    along the proposed Keystone route? I realize that large-scale green energy projects are not always the best option, but the image itself could be a powerful (ahem) reminder that there are real alternatives.

    •  One of those are in the works... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...the "Green Power Express" high-voltage transmission line is an example. This would move 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy from remote wind farms and solar installations to major Midwest load centers. It would be a network of 345 kilovolt transmission lines making up am electric "superhighway," a major improvement of the nation's power infrastructure. We need more than one of these networks, of course.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:57:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How About Deporting Entire Industries? (0+ / 0-)

    Oh, that's the CORRECT way to reshuffle jobs because it makes millionaires into billionaires.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:31:36 AM PST

  •  Just as an example re the impact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    Germany's renewable energy policies has had on the employment numbers there:

    BMU Brochure
    Renewably employed

    Short and long-term impacts of the expansion of renewable energy on the German labour market

    The expansion of renewable energy in Germany continues to have a significant impact on economic growth and jobs. This was shown by a multi-year study commissioned by the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and carried out between 2008 and 2011 by a team of renowned research institutions, with the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS) as lead agency.

    The brochure "Renewably Employed" summarises the key findings of this study. The 2nd updated edition was published in July 2011. It is based on three academic reports by the research team, which were published in the first half of 2011. They can be accessed (in German only) on the Internet at:  Job effects of renewable energies.

    The reports indicate that renewable energy’s contribution to employment rose to about 370,000 jobs in 2010. This is more than twice as much as the 2004 figure (about 160,000 jobs). By 2030, gross employment generated by renewable energy in Germany could rise to over half a million jobs. Extensive model calculations show renewable energy’s impact on net employment in Germany in the same period to be positive in virtually all the scenarios analysed. On the basis of model calculations, the report also illustrates how employment generated by renewables is distributed across the individual German states, taking onshore wind energy as an example.

    In case you can read German, the download link is here:
    To furnish some perspective: Germany's population is ca. 82 million (ranked 15th) and covers an area of 137,847 sq mi  (ranked 63rd). If they can do it, the US certainly can, I have no doubt about that.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:47:26 AM PST

  •  This is particularly important in light of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the human health and environmental (climate change) risks of coal mining:

    "...workers have to be convinced, and the policy has to follow through and ensure that the shift to a clean energy economy is not taken as an opportunity to drive down wages and working conditions for the average worker." (bolding mine)

    And Trumka is right that everyone needs to come together to fix this:

    All of us—investors, companies, workers, environmental activists, governments—need to be part of this dialogue. Any other approach to addressing climate risk is not just fundamentally unfair, it simply won't work in our democracy.

    What is troubling, though, is that we KNOW where the resistance is and it lies in people like Romney, Santorum, Gingrich (now, anyway), and the nattering nabobs of negativity that make up a great deal of the GOP and the near entirety of the red portion of congress.

    THIS is why elections are so important. We CANNOT move forward with TP and GOP and Libertarians standing in the path.

    More and better dems!

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 10:54:17 AM PST

  •  I am very grateful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, Eric Nelson

    for this diary, because I dwell on the topic of clean/dirty enegy for much of my waking hours. A Siegal posted a diary on Trumka's remarks a few days earlier, but sadly it didn't attract many rec's (besides mine).

    I am thankful for this accurate description of the importance of so-called temporary construction jobs.  There are currently about seven million construction workers and only about five million construction jobs.

    I agree that investments in green energy can generate millions of good jobs.  The loan guarantees for the utility-scale solar plants in the California desert are creating thousands of family-wage construction jobs for several years.  Too bad the loan guarantees are running out.

      I wish we could  cancel the  two billion or so in Dept. of energy loan guarantees that are going to carbon-fired boondoogles (Leucadia's coal/coke-to-gas proposals for Moss Pt Mississippi and Lake Charles, LA) and redirect that money to support new solar and wind.

    Leucadia is big like Berkshire Hathaway, let them pay for their own pet projects, and let taxpayer-backed loan guarantees support more wind and solar.

    Windmill farm construction employs tens of thousands of well-paid ironworkers, electricans, and equipment operators.  Too bad the windmill metal parts are mostly imported.  Too bad that wind farms in the Northwest lack power lines to sell energy to the Midwest and have to stop generating zero carbon electricity in the winter and spring.

    Excuse me, I have to go now.  I'll be gritting my teeth and  phone banking for my anti-XL Pipeline democratic congressional candidate.

  •  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, translatorpro

    Is someone that I would be proud to have as a brother, in a fire fight or a union drive.

    I have been, at one time or another (and you could have CNN look it up) a member of the machinist (IAMAW), steelworkers, and autoworkers unions. And I have never in my life seen anyone as dedicated to the cause of the working woman/man as Richard Trumka.

    "I don't need a script to tell the truth" Ed Schultz, Feb. 4 2010

    by BusyinCA on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 04:15:56 PM PST

  •  I always ask the "Jobs will be lost!" people if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    jobs were lost in the horse industry when the automobile came along.

    And the answer is "Yes."

    Horses were a huge part of the American scene until the advent of the auto.  Horse breeders, trainers, grain merchants, hay growers and dealers, harness makers,  those who manufactured carts, carriages, wagons, trolleys and sleighs, teamsters, carriage drivers, wagon makers, livery stable owners, barn builders, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, farriers....when the automobile came along, they lost their jobs, by the hundreds of thousands.

    But the wheelwrights learned to make wheels for cars. The carriage makers learned to make chassis and upholstery for cars. The teamsters learned to drive trucks, the livery stable owners found that their locations, along the roads in every small town, were perfect for gas stations and garages.

    A man who can put up an oil rig can learn to put up a windmill. Those who work in coal mines can be retrained to mine the minerals needed for solar panels.

    Jobs will be lost, hundreds of thousands of them, as we turn from black energy to green energy. Jobs will also be created, by the hundreds of thousands.

    That's an fact that needs to be pointed out.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Sun Jan 15, 2012 at 06:02:49 PM PST

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