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An Inconvienent Truth About Green-collar Jobs

Today kicks off the 2009 Green Jobs Conference in Washington, DC, hosted by the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of labor groups such as SEIU and the United Steel Workers and environmental organizations like NRDC and the Sierra Club. The agenda includes speeches from a handful of Democrat Senators, an “Advocacy Day” march to the Capitol and a green jobs workshop.

Barack Obama’s administration has pledged to create five million green jobs. Yet while politicians promise green jobs and many people are in fact looking to participate in a new, green economy, the market is not currently creating significant green employment opportunities, as Richard Deeran’s article in the Exception Magazine explains. 

Furthermore, a new study “High Road or Low Road? Job Quality in the New Green Economy,” was released just yesterday that may rain on the Green Jobs Conference’s parade, as reported by It turns out that many existing jobs in the green-tech sector barely pay more than the federal poverty wage line.  And this is not some hack-job by a conservative think-tank. The study was commissioned by the Sierra Club and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, among others.

Expect a more nuanced debate over whether the government should subsidize the creation of green jobs in the coming months.  The era of politicians handing out empty green job pledges is over.


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