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Blog Category: Green Economy

Jobs of the Future Today

Logo for WET Center

Guest blog post by John Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing to create the jobs of the future today. 

In Fresno, California, for example, EDA provided $1.9 million to help the Central Valley Business Incubator, Inc. (CVBI) build the Claude Laval Water and Energy Technology (WET) Incubator located on the campus of Cal State Fresno.  This vital incubator provides start-ups access to active research within the university’s labs and state of the art facilities to advance cutting edge research in the use of water to support the agricultural sector while helping grow small businesses.

Since opening their doors four years ago in 2007, WET has helped create and sustain over 15 start-ups that are developing water and energy technology innovations. They are generating real returns, creating hundreds of new jobs for Central Californians and spurring $17 million in private sector investment to help fuel the nation’s economy. One of WET’s graduates recently sold its business for $30 million.

Startups and entrepreneurs like these bring an unparalleled wealth of transformative innovations to market, especially over the past three decades — think of everything from the airplane to the automobile to Amazon.com.  These small businesses are tackling the nation’s challenges in clean energy, medicine, national security, and other fields. They will build the leading industries and jobs of the 21st century.

Earth Day Stats from the U.S. Department of Commerce

Wind turbines on a wind farm (DIS photo)

In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau has pulled together a sampling of green data on green initiatives being taken to protect the environment.

According to the American Community Survey (5-year estimates):

  • 0.5% of Americans bike to and from work. More men bike to work than women (0.7% vs. 0.3%).
  • 10.5% of U.S. residents carpool to work. Men are more likely to carpool than women (11% vs. 10%).
  • 5% of U.S. residents take public transportation to work. Women are more likely to take public transportation (5.4% vs. 4.6%).
  • About 36,000 households in the United States rely on solar energy to heat their homes.

In 2009, according to data from the American Community Survey, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area led in the nation in the percentage of workers who used public transportation at 30.5%, followed by the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area, at 14.6%.

The Census Bureau’s 2011 Statistical Abstract is an excellent source for additional green stats, including on solar and renewable energy (PDF), emissions from power generation, air quality, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species, and emissions of greenhouse gases by type and source (PDF).

Stepping Up Trade Between the U.S. and India Will Mean More Jobs in America and a Better Quality of Life for People in India

Secretary Locke is signing the Energy Cooperation Program MOU with Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The ECP is a partnership that brings together U.S. and Indian companies and both two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

[Upon return from Asia, Secretary Locke wrote this blog post about the importance of the upcoming trade mission to India in February.]

President Obama and members of his Cabinet, including myself, have completed a trip to India to take the relationship between our two countries to a new level. We were there because we see real opportunities -- both for American workers and businesses and the people of India. U.S. firms can work with Indian companies to help meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government. And we can do that by increasing trade between our nations, selling more of America’s world-class goods and services to businesses and consumers in India.

Two-way trade between our nations last year was $38 billion, and exports to India have quadrupled in the last seven years. I expect this upward trend to continue. But we have to do more to connect U.S. companies with Indian consumers and partner firms. To that end, President Obama and I announced a high-tech trade mission to India in early February, making stops in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Companies interested in participating can visit www.trade.gov/IndiaMission2011 for more information.

As Secretary Chu noted during his trip to India last year, due to the increasing demand for energy by India’s emerging middle class, India could become a major export destination for solar panels and wind turbine components manufactured in the United States. That’s why I’m proud we announced the launch of the Energy Cooperation Program. This partnership brings together U.S. and Indian companies and our two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

Stepping up trade and collaboration between the U.S. and India will mean more jobs in America and a better quality of life for people throughout this fast-growing democracy at the heart of the Obama administration’s renewed engagement in Asia.

Secretary Locke Celebrates Earth Day at Recovery Act Restoration Project in New Jersey

Photo of globe.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today celebrated Earth Day at an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) restoration project that is putting people back to work transforming a local dump into 35 acres of wetland and creating a new public trail in Lincoln Park. “The jobs that are being created here in New Jersey are a critical and growing part of the green economy,” Locke said. “Not only are coastal restoration projects like this one directly employing people, they are preserving the coastlines that are absolutely essential to America's economy.” (Release) (Remarks)

New Commerce Department Reports Lay Foundation for Measuring Green Economy, Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Photo of ESA Under Secretary Rebecca Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration today released two new reports: one that defines and measures the size and scope of the green economy and another that looks at the ways in which the American economy's greenhouse gas emissions have changed over the past decade. Together, they provide valuable analytic tools needed to understand the emerging green economy, quantify greenhouse gas emissions and help inform future policy decisions. (More)(Green Report)(CO2 Report)