Word Watch: Green Collar

Friday, May 16, 2008


The political candidates are starting to agree that "green collar jobs" are key to our economic and environmental future but they don't agree on the definition of a green collar job. Environmental leader Phil Angelides and reporter Russ Juskalian parse out what the term has come to mean.

Comments [4]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Any candidate who is selling short-term relief from high gas prices is the opposite of an environmentalist and is selling snake oil. The price and availability of oil is as out the hands of a President or Congress as it is laughable to imagine. Does no one remember the two oil embargos?

Abandoning such short-term thinking and seriously committing to the massive task of retooling our infrastructure and economy for a sustainable future will create a "green collar" boom, not bashing the oil companies for show while encouraging the thirst for their product.

May. 22 2008 02:52 AM
Hillary Warren from Columbus, Ohio

Why didn't anyone do the due diligence to look at the board of the Apollo Group? Sure, there are some dedicated environmentalists, but it is a marriage of convenience. Phil Angelides, a developer, contributed to the sprawl that is, literally, choking the Sacramento valley. Green collar? More like brown.

May. 20 2008 08:32 AM
Virginia Gentleman from Richmond, Virginia

Private sector incentives trump government regulation of the private sector every time. Having said this, I confess that when I heard this piece I thought for a moment I was listening to another NPR Program: Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. The interview has more the tone of a parody.

May. 20 2008 04:51 AM
Matt Mier from California

Over the past 20 years, "pro-business" groups, supported by industries that pollute or degrade the environment, have successfully equated environmental protections as job-killers. Environmentalists have only recently been able to successfully reject this association. The talk of "green jobs" is an affirmative argument that protecting the environment will not put people out of work, but put them into a new line of work. (Hopefully, a more technologically advanced, better paying line of work.)

To me, "green jobs" does not necessarily refer to any particular category of job, but to any economic activity that will result from creating incentives for the economy to operate in a more environmentally friendly manner. When someone argues that a law capping carbon emissions will hurt power-plant employees and air conditioning manufactures, environmentalists can point to "green jobs" related to alternative energy or the design, manufacture, and installation of new, energy efficient air conditioners.

Debate over the creation or loss of a particular number of jobs (e.g., Barak Obama's 5 million green jobs) is often misplaced. Most economists believe that the overall employment rate is not impacted by environmental regulation, but that the incentives created by the government will influence the kind of jobs people hold and may impact the distribution of wealth or the rate of economic growth.

May. 17 2008 04:05 PM

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