AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor Robert Pollin will discuss results of his recent study on the outlook for green jobs and working toward a low-carbon economy at the Clean Energy Connections Conference and Opportunity Fair next month in Springfield. The event is on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.
Pollin says his report on six short-term economic factors previews “what our economy and employment trends might look like as we move toward less dependence on petroleum-based fuels over the next 25 years.” Until recently, businesses believed that “going green” or making environmentally conscious investments would hurt the economy, he notes. But views on this have shifted radically over the past year, with widespread anticipation of new job opportunities coming from green investments in Massachusetts and around the country.
Pollin, who believes there is realistic cause for optimism, will identify sectors where new jobs and growth might be expected. Among the advantages of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil are lower energy costs and cutting the trade deficit, both of which would help to stabilize the overall economy, he points out.
Conference organizer Loren Walker of UMass Amherst notes that possible clean-energy-driven economic growth is so compelling because it’s an opportunity to create local jobs while reducing environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels. Today some 14,000 people in Massachusetts have clean energy jobs, a number predicted to reach 75,000 in 10 years, according to a study by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Renewable Energy Trust, says Walker, who also manages the campus’s Advanced Energy Research Initiative.
The keynote speaker will be Bracken Hendricks, a founder of the national non-profit, Apollo Alliance, and co-author of the 2007 book, Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy. Hendricks and Pollin collaborated on a national “Green Recovery” study produced by the Center for American Progress, which determined that a $100 billion national investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create at least two million jobs nationwide and more than 42,000 jobs in Massachusetts alone.
Other featured speakers are State Sen. Benjamin Downing, State Rep. Daniel Bosley, Phil Giudice, a commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and Chris Kilfoyle, president of Berkshire Photovoltaics Corp. Clean Energy Connections is intended to be a forum for the individuals and organizations accelerating the growth of the clean energy economy in Massachusetts and those seeking clean-energy career information. Pre-registration is required. For more information see www.umass.edu/green or call 413/545-2706.