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Integrating Sustainability and Economic Development

17 Apr

Promoting environmental sustainability and pursuing economic development strategies have typically been considered two separate and (often) competing goals. But times are changing, and a growing body of evidence supports the notion that sustainability typically delivers more enduring and broad-based economic returns. Cities across the continent are beginning to wed environmental sustainability to economic development, looking at investments in a sustainable economy as one tool to build broad-based prosperity. Continue reading

Living Up to the Potential of Clean Transportation

17 Apr

Transportation accounts for a sizable share of our carbon output. In 2006 almost a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from the movement of goods and people. As we continue to tackle the task of curbing emissions from this unwieldy and varied sector of the economy, local governments and policymakers are devising techniques to integrate clean transportation investment into larger sustainability and economic development goals. Everyone seems to agree that we need to invest in improved (and more sustainable) transportation infrastructure, but a coherent transportation investment strategy that serves as a driver for economic development still seems to allude us. Continue reading

Are Climate Action Plans Worthwhile?

17 Apr

Although it’s clear that we need to curb global greenhouse gas emissions, there’s little consensus on how we go about reaching long-term emissions targets. In fact, we don’t even agree on what those targets should be, whether it’s economically feasible to implement broad emissions reduction strategies, or if it’s already too late to take meaningful action. In the absence of a coherent global or national strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the battle to curb emissions in the U.S. is being waged at the local level. Continue reading

LADWP’s Pre-Craft Utility Program

16 Apr
Image from PEO, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/8461634441/sizes/h/in/photostream/

Image from PEO, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/8461634441/sizes/h/in/photostream/

California has long been a national leader in energy efficiency and clean energy, investing upwards of $6 billion a year across both sectors. Many of these investment dollars are held by public and private utility companies. This substantial investment in energy also presents a unique opportunity for utility companies to be drivers of economic development, leveraging their investments to create and transform jobs in the construction and utility sectors. Continue reading

Brooklyn Navy Yard

19 Mar

Revitalizing the manufacturing sector in the U.S. is an important economic development strategy to create well-paying middle class jobs.  Cities throughout the United States are piloting ways to advance this goal.  New York City is developing this strategy through the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300 acre, city-owned industrial park along the Brooklyn waterfront.  At its peak, the Brooklyn Navy Yard produced warships for the U.S. Navy. Today, it houses 330 businesses in film, media, design, and cleantech sectors, and employs about 5,800 people. Continue reading

Lifting the Expiration Date on the Future of Renewable Energy

18 Feb

For the most part, the nation has embraced a move to more renewable sources of energy. There are state mandates to increase the consumption of renewable energy, temporary tax credits and incentives, and local subsidies for renewable power generation. But as environmentalists, policy wonks, and decision-makers begin to rack up cheerleaders for renewable energy, we need to ensure that our policies promote the sustained growth of renewable energy industries while contributing to the economic health of our communities. So far, the story of renewable energy in the U.S. has been one of fits and starts. It’s time to look at how we can provide predictable incentives for sustainable energy production. Continue reading

For the Love of Manufacturing

18 Feb

The role of manufacturing in the global economy is changing. For years, technology has supplanted less-skilled work that used to be performed by humans. So-called “smart machines” are threatening to eradicate scads of high-skilled, middle class, and professional jobs that once seemed safe. At the national level, there has been much debate about how best to harness these advances in technology and productivity while still retaining the manufacturing sector as a critical component to build (and sustain) the U.S. middle class. As we’re grappling with how best to deal with the realities of the manufacturing sector, let’s look at some interventions that show potential to connect trained workers with advanced manufacturing jobs. The ideas that are gaining the most traction bring the public and private sectors to the table to help design worker training programs that meet the specific needs of today’s employers. Continue reading