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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No ‘green jobs’ boom is the fault of a ‘vast right wing conspiracy’?

If at first you can't sell "green jobs," try, try again

By: Philip Klein | Senior editorial writer Follow Him @Philipaklein | 06/28/11 1:29 PM

Slate's Dave Weigel reports from the Aspen Ideas Festival, where the new head of the group Green for All is still trying to perpetuate the idea of "green jobs" as our economic savoir:

Its new president, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, spread the gospel to a room of captivated festival-goers. Midway through her talk, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson walked in the room and took a seat.

"Get to know her!" said Ellis-Lamkins. "She's the most fierce member of the cabinet. She's on Capitol Hill more often than some members of Congress."

In Ellis-Lamkins's telling, the case for green jobs was as obvious as ever. The stimulus had "created a million jobs in two years." States were buying in to these ideas; even Mississippi was buying in.

"You need folks who have a debate about whether global warming is real," she said, "but they won't deny that they need jobs in their state."

That, of course, is the PR strategy of the "green jobs" movement, to frame environmentalism as spurring economic progress as opposed to creating an obstacle to it. In reality, the $5 billion spent on the movement as part of the economic stimulus package hasn't produced much in the way of measurable results.

As the Politco reported earlier this month:

Nearly three years into Obama's presidency, the White House can't point to much solid evidence that significant numbers of Americans are scoring the green jobs the president has been touting.

Monthly Labor Department employment reports say nothing about the new clean energy workforce, while an effort to document how many Americans actually make a living in the "green collar" field may not be done by November 2012.

Ellis-Lamkins, meanwhile, thinks it's the vast right-wing conspiracy that's given green jobs a bad name:

"There's been an organized attack on green jobs," she said. "It's been from the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, some anchors on Fox News, Americans for Prosperity. It's not like it's some secret conspiracy we can't talk about. Most of the groups that fund the work against us right now are funded by oil companies. There's not one study yet to date that hasn't been funded by oil companies."

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