Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Offshore oil, green economy, and jobs

Last week at the Emerging Issues Forum, the Governor talked about the creative will of the people to survive through difficult times, and reiterated her push for 'jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs.' One of the initiatives she mentioned was getting the off-shore exploration for oil as well the pilot wind power farm to be set in the sound.

I have a question about this: what kind of jobs will oil exploration in NC create? what kind of jobs will that industry sustain here? Is this simply an effort to keep us continuing on with the status quo of energy use in industries and workplaces and homes? I won't even ask about the cost - both in straight financial terms and in secondary environmental degradation. I'd like to know the details on the number and type of jobs to be created through this endeavor. Anyone who can direct me to research and projections on this, I appreciate it.

I simultaneously ask my geologist friends to objectively state the case for how much oil may be off the North Carolina coast. I cannot imagine there's much more than what would fuel the equipment to find it, making it a wash at best. If I'm wrong, please direct me to research that shows otherwise.

Meanwhile, I ask what kind of jobs can be created by redirecting those resources towards developing more carbon-neutral technology such as solar panels and home-based wind turbines. I know there are criticisms that solar technology is too expensive, so I challenge here that now is the time to find out if there are less expensive means to harness the energy of the sun - that sound like job creation to me. When you add gardening and a greater self-reliance on local goods and services (not even to mention passive technologies, like constructing a simple solar food-dryer - which I would challenge could be built into supplemental heating units for homes), this is a whole package for how families can stretch their budget out: what I like to call economic fortitude as opposed to economic development. It's kind of like technology working backwards.

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