Green stimulus package needed

Can the green industry help reverse the current unemployment rise in the US?

According to the NY Times last week, the Department of Labor reported the month of September as the worst unemployment record in five years, with 760,000 jobs lost in the past nine consecutive months.

This does not even include the effects of the recent Wall Street collapse.

This recent report from the Department of Energy might ease some of the pain if commercialization of fuel cells in transportation, stationary and portable power sectors will come to fruition.

According to the DOE, around 675,000 jobs could open over the next 25 years if Congress could aggressively implement President Bush’s 2003 Hydrogen Fuel Initiative worth $1.2bn (seems paltry compared to the $700bn bailout, doesn’t it?)

Unfortunately, the first fuel cell vehicles are expected to come out on the market by 2010-2012 so there are still a few more years to wait before these job openings will start trickling in.Another report published last month by the University of Massachusetts Amherst’ Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) theorized that investing in a $100bn 2-year green economic recovery package would create 300,000 more jobs paying at least $16/hour; reduce the unemployment rate to 4.4% from 5.7% (this is a July figure); and maybe recover at least some of the 800,000 construction jobs that was lost in the past two years because of the housing bubble burst.

Here’s where the theoretical $100bn tax money would go to:

  • $50 billion for tax credits for private businesses and homeowners to finance both commercial and residential building retrofits, as well as investments in renewable energy systems.
  • $46 billion in direct government spending that would support public building retrofits, the expansion of mass transit, freight rail and smart electrical grid systems, and new investments in renewable energy.
  • $4 billion for federal loan guarantees that would underwrite private credit that is extended to finance building retrofits and investments in renewable energy

Maybe the US Congress should take a chunk of that $700bn bailout and put it in this green economic recovery package instead…

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