<a href="http://gmagazine.com.au/blogs/leon#">The Business of Green</a>

The Business of Green

Money matters in the green world, by Leon Gettler.

Green jobs: real or over-hyped?

green jobs

Credit: iStockphoto

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Much of the debate about the emissions trading scheme has focused on the prospect of job losses. This is the big problem for the Government with the world settling in for a long recession, and Australia’s unemployment figures set to climb.

The Federal Opposition is on the offensive over the scheme saying the scheme will cost thousands of jobs.

Indeed, mining companies Xstrata and Alcoa have warned they will axe nearly 2000 jobs between them if the Government goes ahead with its scheme.

For its part, the Government says it has sufficient assistance measures in place to help regional areas of Australia take up its proposed emissions trading scheme and in any case.

But the big question is whether an emissions trading scheme will create new jobs. Renewable energy company Pacific Hydro says it will put on 1200 jobs if the scheme is .

But are the green jobs there? A new study from the United States by a group including Andrew Morriss of the University of Illinois and Roger Meiners of the University of Texas says the claims there will be thousands of green jobs are overhyped, that there is no standard definition of a green job and that these jobs will include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.

In any case, critics say the claims do not take into account the number of jobs that will be lost in the process.

And yet, there is the view that there are thousands of potential new jobs out there in areas like urban planning, fixing homes and buildings, upgrading public transport and environmental clean up.

Then there are jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water systems, biomaterials which include biodegradable packaging,

It's an issue that is yet to be resolved. And in this economic climate, we need to know the answers.

Do the changes have the potential to create thousands of green jobs? In what areas? And if not, do we have to bring in the changes regardless of the jobs because of the seriousness of the problem? What do you think?