As clean energy and climate legislation works its way through Congress, new data shows that a $150 billion investment in clean energy could create a net increase of 1.7 million American jobs and significantly lower the national unemployment rate. According to the analysis, shifting to a clean-energy economy will help millions of low-income Americans by creating more accessible job opportunities — with the potential for advancement — and by lowering utility bills and transportation costs.

Two complementary reports – prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (PERI), Center for American Progress (CAP), Green For All, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – outline how investment in a clean-energy economy will produce significant economic and job creation benefits. These include the generation of roughly three times more jobs than would be generated by the same investment in the existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy: How the Economic Stimulus Program and New Legislation Can Boost U.S. Economic Growth and Employment
from PERI and CAP explains how the combination of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) could serve as the foundation for bringing total clean-energy investments in the United States to approximately $150 billion per year. This public spending and private investment would produce a net gain of 1.7 million new jobs.

“These reports make clear that investment in a clean-energy economy will create pathways to prosperity for millions of Americans, especially in low-income communities and communities of color,” said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All.  “Green-collar, career-path jobs that are accessible to Americans from a broad range of educational backgrounds are a win for our economy, a win for our environment, and a win for our workers.”

Green Prosperity: How Clean-Energy Policies Can Fight Poverty and Raise Living Standards in the United States from PERI, NRDC and Green For All shows that shifting from traditional fossil fuel to clean energy will improve the standard of living for millions of Americans across all skill and education levels, especially among lower-income families.

According to the “Green Prosperity” report, nearly half of the 1.7 million new jobs created by green investment will be accessible to workers with relatively low levels of formal education. Of these, nearly 75 percent will have high potential for advancement. This expansion could drive down the unemployment rate by more than one percentage point.

In addition to creating new economic opportunities, this investment will significantly contribute to improvements in energy efficiency in buildings and homes, lowering overall energy costs for consumers and especially benefiting lower-income households. These savings could be as high as 4 percent of household incomes for some families. Moving to clean energy would also improve public transportation, especially in urban areas, which could lead to an average reduction in living costs of 1 to 4 percent per family.

“Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy” breaks down the economic growth potential in all 50 states, while the “Green Prosperity” report focuses on job creation and the economic impact on lower-income families in 41 regions across 22 states.

“These studies draw on simple but robust modeling techniques to estimate the effects on U.S. employment and living standards of a $150 billion annual clean-energy investment program,” said Robert Pollin, Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts. “By synthesizing these data sources and modeling approaches in a new way, we are able to observe in detail how clean-energy investments can deliver substantial benefits to communities throughout the country, especially for lower-income working people and their families.”

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THE COMPLETE GREEN JOB GUIDE 2009: SECRETS FOR GETTING THE JOB YOUR WANT – Discover How To Unlock The Booming Green Economy For Your Job Search And Future Financial Security with the 10 Breakthrough Steps You Need To Know To Find And Land A Green Job Quickly.

CLEANTECHIES RESUME AND COVER LETTER WRITING SERVICE – Cleantechies help job seekers ease the transition from mainstream to CleanTech. Learn More!

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.