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02/26/2013 04:04 PM     print story email story  

Cleantech And The Sequester News

While everyone in Congress acknowledges the steep job losses that will result from the "sequester", they mostly see them as coming from the Defense Department (DoD).

But what about Clean Technology?

President Obama granted our industry its greatest stimulus ever in the Recover Act. If those spending levels were in place today, the number of jobs created would replace those under siege in DoD from the sequester, says Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute.

Federal support for clean technology is set to fall from $47.3 billion in 2009 to $12.9 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars this year, he calculates. That's nearly two-thirds the size of the $54 billion cut to DoD under the sequester.

"Because each $1 of green investments supports 1.5 times as many jobs as each $1 in defense spending, the drawdown of clean technology spending translates into 436,000 fewer jobs - a drag on job growth almost equal to the roughly 448,000 fewer jobs from the proposed defense sequester," he says.

The biggest, most transformative energy bill in history, financing unprecedented government investments in a smarter grid, cleaner coal, energy efficiency in every imaginable form, "green-collar" job training, electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support them, advanced biofuels and the refineries to brew them, renewable power from the sun, the wind, and the heat below the earth, and factories to manufacture all that green stuff in the United States. ...Critics often argue that while the New Deal left behind iconic monuments-the Hoover Dam, Skyline Drive, Fort Knox-the stimulus will leave a mundane legacy of sewage plants, repaved potholes and state employees who would have been laid off without it. But it's creating its own icons: the world's largest wind and solar plants, the country's first cellulosic ethanol refineries, zero-energy border stations, a bullet train that will connect Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours... (Grunwald 2012)

The roughly $90 billion in green investments made under the Recovery Act created or saved roughly 1 million cleantech jobs in 2011 and most importantly, provided an essential downpayment on moving to a cleaner economy, notes Bivens.

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