A Million Green Jobs Eyed By West Coast Leaders

West Coast leaders from Canada to California have their eyes on a lofty goal. They want to create a million new jobs over the next decade in the clean technology and clean energy sectors. The Pacific Coast Collaborative, a group that works to tackle issues the region faces, said at a meeting in Vancouver [PDF] that it created the job strategy after commissioning a report that found the clean energy industry was ripe for job creation.

The report, West Coast Clean Economy: Opportunities for Investment & Accelerated Job Creation, found that the $47-billion clean economy sector could triple in size by 2020, if the right policies are put into place. The group has created a strategy called the 2012 West Coast Action Plan on Jobs to help ensure those policies are put in place and its job creation goals are met.

NOAA Pacific

image via Port of Newport

The job plan outlines a series of measurable commitments by each jurisdiction that includes everything from retrofitting state-owned buildings, to buying fleets of energy-efficient vehicles, to creating energy standards to incentivize private sector leadership and advanced manufacturing. Each of the four jurisdictions—British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California—has pledged to implement strategies to move the public building stock toward net-zero energy building performance. The group’s first step in that goal is committing to achieve at least a 20 percent improvement in energy use by 2020.

“We have come together here in Vancouver to reject the myth that jobs and the environment are in conflict,”  Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said in a statement. “More than 500,000 Pacific Coast residents are cashing clean economy paychecks right now. And job creation rates in the clean economy are well above those for other shrinking sectors of the economy, pay better, and have been more resilient to the recent economic downturn.”

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.

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