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Building the Green-Collar Economy

By Eric A. Powell
Discover Magazine

The lure of renewable energy sources is that they help fight climate 
change. Four experts argue that the transition to a clean economy could also jump-start economic growth and put a new generation to work. 

Last April in Washington, D.C., with support from the National Science Foundation, DISCOVER and NBC News/Learn hosted a town hall exploring the economics of green energy and green jobs. The event was a partnership with the Weather Channel, the George Washington University, Planet Forward, and

Conducted just a few miles from the Capitol building, where climate legislation such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act remains stalled, our town hall featured four panelists with diverse experience in low-carbon energy. Ken Zweibel is director of the George Washington University Solar Institute, a research facility focused on economic and policy issues related to solar technology. Timothy Juliani, director of corporate engagement at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, heads up that nonprofit’s Business Environmental Leadership Council. Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the CEO of Green For All, a nonprofit that focuses on increasing job opportunities in green industries. Chris Busch is policy and program director for the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community groups working to spur investment in clean energy.

Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News, moderated the event, which was held the same day the Japanese government raised the Fukushima reactor disaster to 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, fanning doubts about the future of nuclear power—currently the leading zero-carbon energy source.

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