Unemployment figures show need for green stimulus, green jobs

Unemployment figures show need for green stimulus, green jobs



Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0748

Unemployment Claims Worst in 25 Years; Clean Infrastructure Investments to Create Green Jobs Needed Now

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Department of Labor reported today total jobless rolls have climbed to the highest level in 25 years: 3,845,000 Americans continued to collect unemployment benefits in the most recent week for which data is available.

Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said the news underscores the need for rapid investments in clean energy infrastructure that can create green-collar jobs.

“Our country is confronting an economic crisis, an energy crisis, and a climate crisis and there’s a common solution to all three. Investing in clean energy and increased efficiency will strengthen the economy, create good jobs, and rebuild the middle class.” Blackwelder said. “We can create millions of jobs by investing in railways and public transportation, weatherizing homes and retrofitting buildings, creating a smart energy grid, and deploying clean technologies such as wind and solar power. Voters sent a message on Tuesday: they want a clean-energy economy. Now it’s time for our congressional leadership to deliver.”

More information about the potential for clean technology investments to create jobs:

Proposal for a “Green Recovery,” The Center for American Progress: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/green_recovery.html

Green for All’s proposal to create a “Green Collar Economy”: http://www.greenforall.org/?gfa_splash=1

The Apollo Alliance’s “New Apollo Program” to create clean energy and good jobs around the nation: http://apolloalliance.org/apollo-14/

The Wonk Room calls for a green-collar stimulus: http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2008/10/12/global-boiling-bailout/

President-Elect Obama campaigned on green infrastructure investments and green jobs:

In an October 22 interview with Time magazine’s Joe Klein, Obama clearly stated, “[Building a new energy economy] is going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office,” saying, “there is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy.”

A week later, Obama aired his thirty-minute October 29 TV special, “American Voices, American Stories.” In it, he highlighted Seattle-based energy efficiency specialists, McKinstry Company as “a model for the nation,” and again pledged to “invest $15 billion a year in energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, and biofuels, creating five million clean energy jobs over the next decade — jobs that pay well and can never be outsourced.”

In versions of his “closing argument” speech delivered across swing states in the final week of the election, Obama called for the creation of “an economy that rewards work and creates prosperity from the bottom up,” exhorting America to “invest in… renewable energy for our future.”

Finally, in his victory speech, he reiterated this theme, saying, “There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created!”

(Obama quotes courtesy of the Breakthrough Institute’s blog: http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2008/11/presidentelect_obamas_new_ener_1.shtml)


Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.