Things moving fast

Rr_headshot Things are moving fast. Just a few weeks ago the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) set a goal for getting all new construction in California to be climate neutral by 2030.  Whether by accident or by design, this parallels the Architecture 2030 initiative led by American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council, Pacific Gas & Electric and numerous others.  The city of Santa Barbara had just passed an ordinance to implement Architecture 2030, the first public ordinance implementing the 2030 goals, almost simultaneously the CPUC decided to stake it’s claim on similar ground.

But it’s not only the push factors.  The Clinton Climate Initiative of course has been facilitating changing the marketplace through its collective purchase pools and financing packages.  First for cities and now for universities.  Another set of signposts is in the rapidly multiplying financing options for solar systems.  Major financial firms like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, independent players like SunEdison and MMA Renewable Ventures, and now municipalities like Berkeley, California, have gotten into the game.  All have created financing mechanism to eliminate the up-front costs of solar, the major barrier to widespread adoption.  Collectively it strongly suggests that the market for green building and household solar is going to explode – first in California but then nationally given that over 700 cities have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and states are moving quickly to emulate California.

The momentum is translating to market changes across a range of industries.  The huge growth in renewables and energy efficiency has begun generating media attention and the future looks bright.  This month the American Solar Energy Society released a study showing that jobs in the renewable energy & energy efficiency sector employed over 8 million Americans and generated nearly $970 billion in revenue, more than the combined sales of the three largest U.S. corporations Wal-Mart, Exxon-Mobil, and General Motors the same year ($905 billion). By 2030, under an aggressive deployment forecast scenario, there could be more than 40 million Americans employed in these industries—about one in every four working Americans.  The Environmental and Energy Study Institute released a fact sheet aggregating the startling data on domestic and international jobs growth from a host of studies including the one from ASES.

The remarkable momentum has led to new non-profit and for-profit ventures in the green jobs space.  Green for All is advocating for a national commitment to job training, employment and entrepreneurial initiative in the emerging green economy for people from disadvantaged communities.  And then of course is Monster.com with whom ecoAmerica and Environmental Defense collaborated to launch GreenCareers.  The green economy is moving.

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