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Can green jobs save us?
By: Jeanne Cummings
October 14, 2008 06:10 AM EST
This may be hard to believe, but John McCain and Barack Obama actually agree on something: An explosion of new green jobs is the way to get the U.S. economy back on track.
“We can move forward and clean up our climate and develop green technologies and alternate — alternative — energies for hybrid, for hydrogen, for battery-powered cars so that we can clean up our environment and, at the same time, get our economy going by creating millions of jobs,” the Republican senator from Arizona said in the presidential debate last week in Nashville, Tenn.
A few moments later, the Democratic senator from Illinois asserted that “if we create a new energy economy, we can create 5 million jobs, easily, here in the United States.
“It can be an engine that drives us into the future, the same way the computer was the engine for economic growth over the last couple of decades.”
The remarks seemed like lifelines tossed out to a nation drowning in red ink and panicked at the thought of opening 401(k) retirement statements.
But can either candidate’s plan really create a green sector strong enough to rescue us?
The political climate has certainly improved for such an initiative, and Congress has made some headway in the past two years.
Last year’s energy bill boosted the minimum gas mileage standards for automobiles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. It also mandated greater use of biofuels in gasoline blends and included incentives to encourage energy efficiency.
Extensions of several renewable fuel tax credits for businesses and consumers were included in the package of sweeteners added to the $700 billion economic rescue plan just signed into law.