"Today we face the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. There is no better moment to move forward aggressively on energy efficiency and creating new sustainable energy and creating jobs in the process. The potential for job growth in this area is bigger than almost anything else I can think of."
-Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee
According to the federal government's National Renewable Energy Lab, the lack of a trained workforce is the single largest non-technical barrier to moving forward with greater energy efficiency and renewable energy in the country.
Since joining the Senate, Sanders has coauthored two major green collar jobs programs: the green jobs training program and the Energy and Environmental Block Grant program. Both were signed into law as part of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Sanders is the chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The green jobs training legislation authorized funding to train workers in green collar jobs that involve the design, manufacture, installation, operation, and maintenance of clean, efficient energy technologies. The Energy and Environmental Block Grant program authorized funding directly to states, cities, towns, and counties to invest in technologies and approaches that improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and decrease overall energy use.
You can watch the senator discuss green jobs and the climate change crisis here. To stay up to date on the issue, scroll down for the latest developments.
From the Press
Vermont and seven other states will share nearly $4 million in economic stimulus funding announced today under a green jobs program that was authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “If we get our act together as a nation and start addressing the major environmental problems of our time – global warming and our dependence on fossil fuels – we can create millions of good paying jobs,” said Sanders, chairman of the Senate’s Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee. “In other words,” he added, “good environmental policy is good economic policy.”Read More »
By Senator Bernie Sanders
This country faces the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. From 2000 to 2008, over 8 million Americans slipped out of the middle class and into poverty, more than 7 million Americans lost their health insurance, over 3 million lost their pensions, millions more lost their homes and savings, and median household income declined by over $2,100.
Then, as a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, that very bad situation became much worse with the financial collapse of last year. The current official unemployment rate of 9.8 percent hides what is in fact an even more dismal economy. Today, if you add to the official unemployment rate those Americans who have given up looking for work, those who want to work full time but are working part time, some 17 percent of working-age Americans, 27 million people, are either unemployed or underemployed. That’s catastrophic!Read More »
U.S. clean energy legislation could help create 850,000 manufacturing jobs around the country, a report from a group representing business and environmental interests said on Wednesday. The study conducted the Blue Green Alliance found that policies such as a renewable electricity mandate would provide steady demand for clean energy and put Americans to work building the components needed to make wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies.Read More »
Energy efficiency, sustainable power, cleaning up the planet: They are all part of the realm that has become known as "clean tech," and it is enjoying real job growth at a time when the overall employment picture remains grim. According to an October 2009 report by Clean Edge, a West Coast research group, clean tech has benefited greatly from infusions of federal government stimulus money, state activity, venture capital investment and moves by traditional industrial corporations and utilities to improve their efficiency, cut pollution and bolster renewable energy.Read More »
WASHINGTON — The topic of the day was climate change, but Sen. Bernie Sanders turned for a moment to lessons learned in war. Standing alone on a stage before a green backdrop, the Vermont independent recalled how rapidly the U.S. economy had switched from civilian to military production after President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan in December 1941. “We were able to go on the offensive, not only in the east against Japan but in Western Europe,” Sanders said, speaking at a recent climate-change conference here. “A year and a half later, the war had essentially been won.” As Sanders spoke, he waved his hands and pointed at the audience. His voice boomed in his signature staccato style above the clinking of plates and glasses. He had a modern-day message, and he wanted people to hear it: “People tell me ... that we are not capable of transforming our economy and transforming our energy system and creating the jobs that will stimulate this economy,” he said. “I would strongly disagree.”Read More »
Vermont will receive $69 million to develop a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The nationwide program is designed to increase efficiency, promote renewable energy sources, and save consumers money. “This is an opportunity for Vermont once again to lead the nation in energy efficiency and in developing a greener economy. These investments help move our state and our nation toward energy independence and will create many good-paying jobs,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee. Sanders asked about the grant at a Senate environment committee hearing on climate change legislation.Read More »
Many experts believe that, in the words of a new study by green-industry research firm Clean Edge, "we are just at the beginning of the 'clean tech' job creation era" and that renewable energy, environmentally-friendly building and manufacturing, and all aspects of energy efficiency will offer "the greatest opportunity for wealth and job creation since the advent of computers and the Internet." Already, the economy is generating about 1.3 million new "green collar" jobs per year, says outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. By 2030, the number of U.S. jobs directly or indirectly related to energy efficiency and conservation will reach 40 million, according to the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society.Read More »
Sen. Bernie Sanders told a climate change conference that “the science is clear” on global warming and that “it is clear we need to act.” Sanders, a member of both the Senate’s energy and environmental committees, and chairman of the green jobs subcommittee, took on scare tactic used to attack climate change legislation. He said, “while strong global warming legislation, which to my mind has to emphasize energy efficiency and a bold move to such sustainable energies as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, and others, will cause some economic dislocation, I do not agree with the pessimists who see this energy transition as doom and gloom. Quite the contrary, at a time when we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year importing oil from foreign countries around the world, I see extraordinary potential in terms of job creation and the movement toward energy independence when we invest that money at home.” VIDEORead More »
Texas cares little for environmental niceties. Its governor, Rick Perry, bashes the Environmental Protection Agency at every opportunity, and recently branded the climate bill that passed the House of Representatives a “legislative monstrosity.” Yet the oil-and-gas state has nonetheless emerged as the nation’s top producer of a commodity prized by environmentalists: wind power. Eager developers are covering its desolate western mesas with giant turbines. The world’s largest wind farm began operations in Texas this month, and the state now has close to three times as much wind capacity as Iowa, the second-ranked state.Read More »
Four southern Vermont counties will receive nearly $700,000 in economic stimulus money to promote energy efficiency. Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders, who heads the Senate Environment Committee's Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, authored legislation that established the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. "The block grant program recognizes the importance of local efforts to create good-paying jobs in developing sustainable energy and promoting energy efficiency," Sanders said. "What I particularly like about this approach is that it relies on local initiatives and grassroots participation."Read More »