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‘Green Jobs Czar’ Van Jones Resigns

The White House announced the resignation of  top environmental adviser, Van Jones, who had talked smack about Republicans and signed a petition supporting the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Van Jones issued a statement decrying “lies and distortions” and a “smear campaign” that he claimed was waged against him by conservatives even though Jones was forced to apologize in recent days for some past statements, including a speech posted on YouTube in which he called Republicans “assholes.” (Editor’s note: *snicker.)

“On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones wrote in his resignation letter. “But I came here to fight for others, not for myself,” Jones added. “I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past.”

Nicknamed the “Green Jobs’ Czar,” Van Jones is the founder of Green For All, an organization that promotes green-collar jobs for the disadvantaged. He also authored the 2008 New York Times best-seller, The Green Collar Economy.

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Good News for Green Jobs

If you’re looking to get a green job, there’s good news. Organizers of a world business summit on climate change said today that 2 million new jobs would be created in the U.S. alone if it increased its reliance on cleaner sources of energy. At the global business summit, which took place in Copenhagen, corporate leaders discussed how to help politicians negotiate a new global climate treaty for 2012. They announced that if the U.S. alone cut its electricity use by just half of 1 percent a year by utilizing wind energy and other renewable sources, over two million jobs could be created.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU Commission President, told the CEOs of major international corporations that a million new green jobs could also be produced in European Union countries.

“Change also brings big economic opportunities,” he said.

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Green Jobs for Youths with California Green Corps

With California in dire straights, the Govornator believes the children are the future, announcing on Monday that he is using stimulus money to fund the California Green Corps, a new California program that will train young adults between 16 and 24 years old to work in green-tech industry.

“The Green Corps will help underprivileged young people learn job skills while we create a well-trained workforce for clean technology and the green economy,” Governor Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger is allocating $10 million in stimulus funding as well as $10 million in public-private partnerships for California Green Corps, a program that plans to place at least 1,000 at-risk youth into green jobs over the next 20 months.

Under the program, all Green Corps participants will receive a stipend after completing job training focused on green jobs, continue their education, and contribute to their communities through community service.

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Michelle Obama Goes Green with Youth Build on St. Patrick’s Day

Michelle Obama visited over 100 students and graduates from YouthBuild USA programs, a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development, who showed Obama their green building techniques.

The Youth Build USA program is undergoing an increasing emphasis on green building techniques. More than 120 Youth Build staff have received training in “green construction”. The program targets that, by no later than 2013, at least 75 percent of Youth Build homes will be “green homes.”

The Huffington Post reports, “First Lady Michelle Obama will join the effort, bringing visibility to the expanding program and, we hope, to its shift toward a ‘greener’ approach in line with the Green Jobs focus. And, Members of Congress (such as Senator John Kerry and Representative John Lewis) will also join the effort.”

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U.N. report: 10 Million Jobs From Forestry

A report being released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization this week will urge countries to invest in green jobs. It claims that at least 10 million jobs could be created in the sustainable forest management industry.

Not only would this help curb growing levels of unemployment on a global scale but would also help curb the reduction of forest in countries that are not currently replanting the trees they are harvesting.

The report is aimed primarily at “ regions with substantial rural unemployment and degraded land areas,” according to C.T.S. Nair, the chief economist in the U.N. Forestry Department and one of the key contributors to the report.
The goal of sustainable forestry is to stop the destruction of forests through strategic management while ensuring that their exploitation does not impede any potential natural benefits or the local environment.

With next week being World Forest Week, the report will be analyzed at the U.N. Committee on Forestry in Rome.

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Obama Names Van Jones Green Job Advisor

We at Sustainability Ninja are pleased to hear that the Obama administration has added a Green Jobs Advisor position to their roster of government officials. Van Jones, founder of Green For All, an organization that promotes green-collar jobs for the disadvantaged, was offered the gig by President Obama yesterday.

Jones, who has authored the 2008 New York Times best-seller, The Green Collar Economy, is also the co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change.

Green For All writes that Jones’ duties will include, “helping to shape and implement job-generating climate policy; working to ensure equal protection and equal opportunity in the administration’s climate and energy proposals; and publicly advocating the administration’s environmental and energy agenda.”

Congrats, Mr. Jones! We look forward to watching your upcoming panel at the meeting of the Middle Class Task Force in Philadephia.

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Joe Biden Pushes Green Jobs in Philadelphia

Vice President Joe Biden is in Philadelphia today to relay how the creation of green jobs is the bridge to middle class economic recovery. Biden is at the University of Pennsylvania’s William B. Irvine Auditorium and has provided the Philadelphia Inquirer with an op-ed of his key talking points.

Biden writes, “According to the Council of Economic Advisers, green jobs pay 10 to 20 percent more than other jobs. They also are more likely to be union jobs. Building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels, weatherizing homes and office buildings, and renovating schools are just a few of the ways to create high-quality green jobs that strengthen the foundation of this country.

More green jobs can also mean more money in consumers’ pocketbooks at the end of the month. They can reduce your electric and heating bills, leaving you more disposable income for other things.

Right here in Philadelphia, for example, there are 400,000 rowhouses that could be weatherized and made more energy-efficient. Just doing that would lower household energy consumption by 20 to 40 percent, saving families hundreds of dollars a year.

Fortunately, as we will stress in our meeting here today, Mayor Nutter, Gov. Rendell, and other state and city officials across the nation are ready to help us build a greener economy. Philadelphia, for example, is working with its unions, universities, and community colleges to impart green skills to workers from all walks of life. The city is also proposing a new public authority to support large-scale green investment, especially in weatherization, building retrofits, and infrastructure.

We’re excited to be in Philadelphia promoting an idea that has so many benefits. We’re starting to make the investments needed to leave a cleaner world to our children while also creating good jobs right now. When you’re creating green jobs, you’re doing well by doing good.”

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