I think the best way to create green jobs is the same as the best way to create jobs in general: stimulate economic growth. Let’s face it, renewable energy and sustainable living and business practices are not going to become a large sector of our economy because they’re the right thing to do. They’re going to become prominent because people will figure out how to make money from them. Many companies are already doing that: green building is a booming industry right now, with more LEED-certified projects going forward all the time, and start-ups dabbling in everything from solar collectors to kinetic energy from sidewalk footpads are positioning themselves to try to cash in on the boom if they happen to come up with an idea for renewable energy that will catch on and become profitable. These are the sectors where green jobs are being created. How to stimulate this? Tax incentives from government; lowering entry barriers to new companies wanting to enter the market; direct incentives and funding for research and development in green technology.
Here is an idea that I like. It’s totally my personal opinion, but I think President Obama should work to pass a bill in Congress that would establish a prize–most likely in the form of future funding and legal protection of technology rights–for the best idea of renewable energy developed by a private company within a stated time frame, say, 5 years. Perhaps provide funding or tax incentives for businesses that engage in R&D on green ideas. The winner who puts a plan for a workable solar cell or a wind turbine capable of being mass-produced at a low price on the President’s desk gets to cash in on the gains from the invention, guaranteed. This would stimulate a lot of research and a lot of green jobs, as well as move us a step closer to true energy independence.
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