Green jobs: you hear about them everywhere these days, including Governor Ted Kulongoski’s to do list. Last October he set out a green agenda for 2009 and now he’s hoping to attract federal stimulus money with “The Oregon Way,” promoting renewable energy, conservation, carbon reduction and sustainable development. But what exactly are green jobs, and what role will they have in making — or breaking — the future prosperity of the region?
Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the Obama Administration’s Middle Class Task Force that has a special focus on green jobs, has an answer:
“[J]obs associated with environmental improvement and improving the lives of the American people. Scientists working on an advanced, renewable alternative to CO2-producing fossil fuels is engaged in a green job, as is a laborer winterizing or weatherizing a home, or a lineman or a linewoman building out the smart grid — they’re all green jobs.”
During Portland Mayor Sam Adam’s State of the City speech on Friday he put forth a green plan for economic development. He said:
Portland is already often ranked as America’s greenest city. We have been the living laboratory for clean technology and sustainable policy and practices. Sometimes we make the world’s top ten most sustainable cities. Now, we will set the goal for Portland to be the most sustainable city in the world. And in doing so we will make Portland the hub for the global green economy.
How real is the green dream? What jobs will the green economy really produce? How do you we know that this region — even this country — is the place where they will be created? (How do we beat China, in other words.) What role do you hope to play in a green collar future?
- Tim McCabe: Director of the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department and former economic policy advisor for Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski
- Jim Walls: Executive director of the Lake County Resources Initiative
- Paul Elson: Vice president and director of investor relations for NCS Power in Vancouver
- Robert Bass: Assistant professor and program director of the Renewable Energy Engineering program at Oregon Institute of Technology