Obama promised 5 million new green collar jobs, Duke shows us the way

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Obama promised 5 million new green collar jobs, Duke shows us the way

Durham (NC) – Researchers at Duke University have been looking into the economic plan proposed by Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. Obama proposed creating 5 million new jobs in the environmental industries. Duke University researchers have taken his lead and determined exactly what new “green collar” jobs might be feasible. All of them fall into the area of a lower-carbon economy.

Growing a low-carbon economy

The full report, entitled “Manufacturing Climate Solutions,” is available at Duke University’s website. In that report, lead author Gary Gereffi states, “Until now, there was no tangible evidence of what [Obama’s suggested] jobs are, how they are created and what it means for U.S. workers. We are providing that here. We don’t guess where the jobs are; we name them. Our report uses value chains to show that clean technology jobs are also real economy jobs.”

Duke University has taken an activist role and is now laying out future American economic policy per Obama’s stated guidelines. Specifically, the report says jobs in five carbon-reducing technologies show “potential for future green job creation.” These are:

1) LED lighting

2) High performance windows

3) Auxiliary power units for long-haul trucks (the power source which keeps frozen vegetables frozen while in transit)

4) Solar power

5) “Super Soil Systems,” which is a new technology for treating “hog wastes.”

Economic impact

The states which stand to gain the most by the policy include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. Authors of the report are also interested in the related “ripple effects” throughout the rest of the economy.

Bob Baugh, executive director of the AFL-CIO, even went so far as to say, “While some seek to pit the environment against economic growth, we see economic opportunity in the solutions to the climate crisis. But, to succeed it means making certain that, from production to construction, these green investments are made in the U.S. That is the best way to assure that their positive ripple effects are felt throughout the entire economy.”

Abraham Breehey, co-author of the report and director of legislative affairs for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, said, “This report shows that each climate solution creates significant positive ripple effects throughout the economy in the labor and materials needed to supply low carbon technologies and products. It demonstrates the real economic opportunity in the solutions to the climate crisis.”


This report was sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO), Industrial Union Council (AFL-CIO), International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.