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What would it take to create a thriving green economy?

By Todd Reubold

Over the past couple of years, the United States has weathered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian pipeline debates and the challenges of recession. Through it all, the promise of the green economy seems to be just sitting there like a golden opportunity to cure our ills. To get some answers, Momentum turned to Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive officer of Green for All.

You recently wrote about green jobs being “politically touchy.” How do we move the green economy discussion beyond environmentalism or partisan politics?

The reason some people want to kill green jobs bills is because of the coalition of people who support it. If you’re looking at politics, if you can bring together the environmental movement, the labor movement, people of color, people who are struggling to make it now, then that’s a pretty powerful coalition.

I was testifying in Congress and a Republican member said, “I don’t believe in global warming, but I want those jobs.” And the reality is, regardless of your politics, you want those jobs. So, in place like Mississippi and Louisiana, both places with Republican governors, they’re creating incentives for renewable energy. They’re working to attract the jobs, but they don’t want the political coalition that goes along with them.

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