Green Jobs

Promised Green Jobs Have Yet To Materialize

But tens of billions of dollars have been spent on them anyway

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In 2008 candidate Barack Obama promised to create 5 million green jobs. He laid out a plan to invest $150 billion over 10 years that would advance a clean-energy economy built around biofuels, hybrid cars, low-emission coal plants, and renewable sources such as solar and wind. How many has he actually created?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking green jobs two years ago, but it counts only how many existed as of the end of 2010. It doesn't keep a running total of newly created jobs, so there's no way to tell how many existed before Obama's election. The Brookings Institution also has a tally, but it too goes only through 2010, and of the nearly 2.7 million green jobs it identifies, most were bus drivers, sewage workers, and other types of work that don't fit the "green jobs of the future" that Obama imagined. The report does zero in on cleantech, which includes the wind, solar, fuel-cell, and smart-grid industries. In 2010, Brookings shows, there were 184,699 such jobs nationwide—up 2,642 since the president took office in 2009.