January 25, 2007

Apollo Alliance pursues 'green-collar' jobs

One of the great benefits of deploying emerging renewable energy technologies are the "green-collar" jobs that they will create. A leader in advancing the cause of new employment is the Apollo Alliance led by Jerome Ringo.

I met Mr. Ringo at the ACORE Biomass Coordinating Council meeting last April. He is passionate in his pursuit of green industry jobs for the upwardly mobile middle class.

Here is a story about the environmental community and the Apollo Alliance both embracing the same goals in pursuit of a greener nation.

Unions see greenbacks in 'green' future
Organized labor is joining forces with environmentalists to push for an eco-friendly economy.
By Moises Velasquez-Manoff | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Union leaders are betting that a green economy will not only address the issue of climate change, it will also provide a bonanza of well-paying manufacturing jobs – the kinds of jobs that have largely vanished from the United States in recent decades.

"From labor unions' point of view, these are the kinds of jobs their unions are most prepared for," says Jeff Rickert, vice president of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of the major environmental and labor organizations.

According to studies by the Apollo Alliance, which has outlined a 10-point plan for energy independence and jumpstarting the renewables sector, dollars invested in clean energy create more jobs than those invested in traditional energy sources. Renewable energy is simply more labor intensive. An investment of $30 billion per year for 10 years would create 3.3 million jobs and boost the gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion, according to its analysis. The federal government would recoup the initial investment in increased tax revenues within the same 10-year period.

The most optimistic point out that, because decentralization is inherent to renewable energy, an equitable distribution of wealth is built into the new energy paradigm.

Environmentalists looked down their noses at organized labor as "goons" more interested in protecting polluting industries than protecting the environment. Organized labor, meanwhile, viewed the environmental movement as elitist and more preoccupied with saving trees than in saving livelihoods. The Bush administration has helped change those attitudes.

"They have run roughshod over the environmentalists, who thought they were so powerful," Professor Getman says, "and they have done everything possible to diminish the power of unions."

Mr. Rifkin envisions not only more jobs but also a more equitable distribution of wealth due to the decentralization of energy production. He foresees a land dotted with community- or individually-owned generators and hydrogen fuel cells to store energy, all connected by a "smart grid," an Internet-like network managing the ebb and flow of electricity.

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