This Week in Clean Economy: West Coast ‘Green’ Jobs Data Shows Promise

This Week in Clean Economy: West Coast ‘Green’ Jobs Data Shows Promise
New report finds that California, Oregon, Washington and B.C. could triple the number of clean economy jobs to 1.5 million, with synchronized policies.

by Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News

A group of West Coast leaders has made its first attempt to quantify how many jobs have been spurred by the clean economy, a sector that includes engineers who design solar, wind and efficiency technologies and the electricians who install them?as well as train conductors, recycling collectors and organic farmers.

On Tuesday, the Pacific Coast Collaborative unveiled the results of a study it commissioned that found the region supports 508,000 clean economy jobs, or about three percent of the regional workforce. The group includes government leaders from California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The report is an effort to show private industries and public sectors that clean economy investments and policies are paying off.

Federal and state support of the clean economy has come under unrelenting scrutiny in the wake of the failure of Solyndra, the taxpayer-backed solar firm that went bankrupt and fired 1,100 workers. This week, Republicans in Congress started to demand data on the number of jobs that can be credited to federal green incentives as they consider whether to renew the policies.

Read More

Science Educators Troubled by Heartland’s Climate Curriculum and Author’s Credentials
Science education experts say the group’s proposed curriculum, designed by a long-time climate skeptic, will foster confusion, not learning.

by Katherine Bagley, InsideClimate News

The revelation last month that the Heartland Institute, a libertarian group based in Chicago, is trying to teach climate skepticism in schools has sparked a flurry of criticism and debate over the entry of global warming doubt into the classroom.

But how easy is it, really, for a group with an ideological mission to influence science curricula?

While it’s hard to judge how Heartland will fare, climate denial materials have already begun to creep into public schools, said O. Roger Anderson, chair of the math and science department at Teachers College of Columbia University, in an interview, and that’s what concerns him.

Heartland aims to spend $200,000 over an estimated two years to sow doubts about the consensus on human-induced climate change in K-12 classrooms. The group hired David Wojick, who has authored dozens of articles, editorials and reports that promote skepticism about global warming, to develop the curriculum.

Read More

New Keystone XL Route Could Still Threaten Ogallala Aquifer
Map used to define Nebraska Sandhills doesn’t include nearby areas also vulnerable to contamination, InsideClimate News has learned.

by Lisa Song, InsideClimate News

“A relatively modest jog around the Sandhills”?that’s how one TransCanada executive describes the Keystone XL oil pipeline’s new route through Nebraska, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.

But while the path will avoid the Nebraska Sandhills?a region of grass-covered sand dunes that overlies the critically important Ogallala aquifer?it could still pass through areas above the Ogallala, where the water supply is vulnerable to the impacts of an oil spill.

Story includes PDF of a depth-to-water map of eastern Nebraska

Read More

Legal Fund Helping Climate Scientists Draw Line in the Sand
‘We’re not actively trying to pick a fight or become part of the debate but to provide a badly needed service,’ says defense fund co-director.

by Elizabeth Grossman, InsideClimate News

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, which was officially formed less than two months ago, is already working with five scientists who are defending themselves against lawsuits initiated by groups that doubt and deny the preponderance of climate science.

One of the scientists is Michael Mann, the internationally respected climate scientist who has been ensnared in two highly publicized legal battles seeking release of emails and other documents during his tenure at the University of Virginia. One of those cases was dismissed earlier this month by the Virginia Supreme Court.

“Our goal,” Joshua Wolfe, one of the founders of the Fund, is to “make sure scientists can do their science … to let the science community do its job and not get caught up in legal efforts.”

Read More

Canadian Government Targeting Opponents of New Oil Sands Pipeline
Environmental groups in Canada say they are now operating within a culture of fear aimed at silencing legitimate democratic dissent.

by Lisa Song, InsideClimate News

As U.S. environmental groups renew their battle against the resurrected Keystone XL oil pipeline, their counterparts in Canada are facing a deeper problem?a government campaign to limit their influence over Canada’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

“Every nonprofit I talk to in Canada is worried about the next shoe dropping,” said Todd Paglia, executive director of the charity ForestEthics. The government “is looking for ways to stifle dissent, and it’s having a pretty serious impact on us.”

Read More

A Primer on the U.S. Clean Energy Economy: What It Is, Why It Matters
Attempts to quantify the size, scope and benefits of the fledgling U.S. clean economy are in their earliest stages. What do we know so far?

by Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News

Is steering large sums of federal money into America’s clean energy economy worth the risk? The question is now at the forefront of national debate, and the answer often divides along party lines.

But what does the economic data show? Have clean energy tax incentives and policies sparked meaningful employment gains and private investment?

The answer appears to be yes. But attempts to quantify the size, scope and benefits of the fledgling U.S. clean economy are still in their earliest stages. Even the definition of what constitutes the clean economy, or what qualifies as a clean or green job, are not fully settled. Supporters say accumulating a body of statistical evidence could help push the national debate past partisan politics.

Here’s a primer on what we know about America’s clean economy so far?what it is, how it rose to prominence over the past decade and who’s taking the lead as Congress dawdles on a national clean energy agenda.

Read More