Who could have predicted that while other manufacturing jobs declined, jobs in green industries increased in California, the state with some of the toughest environmental laws? Gos, what a shocker, eh?

In a study released Wednesday, Palo Alto-based nonprofit Next 10 and Collaborative Economics Inc. of Mountain View found that manufacturing jobs in the state’s green sector grew by 19 percent between 1995 and 2008.

The increase came at the same time that overall manufacturing jobs in California tumbled 9 percent.

Furthermore, who could have known that venture capitalists, seeing California’s “friendly” climate for green technologies would invest billions of dollars into growing that part of California’s manufacturing sector?

In the first half of 2010, the state’s clean tech firms attracted more than $2.9 billion in venture capital money.

That represented a 250 percent increase from the year-earlier period and more than 40 percent of the global venture capital investments in green industries last year.

California also was the top state for green technology patents with more than 450 patent registrations from 2007 to 2009 for solar energy, wind energy and advanced battery technology.

Who could have predicted that climate change legislation would be good for California’s economy? Well, actually California’s legislature and the “Governator” Arnold Schwartzenegger did exactly that when they passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

“Some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. Not only large, well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals.

“Using market-based incentives, we will reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. That’s a 25 percent reduction. And by 2050, we will reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels. We simply must do everything in our power to slow down global warming before it’s too late.”

And their predictions have come true. Yet this is the same law that the Koch brothers (a/k/a Koch Industries) and two of the largest polluters in the state of California, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp., have contributed millions of dollars to fund a referendum campaign to overturn, for their own selfish, short term interests.

These are the same types of laws Republicans in Congress have rejected time and time again. Laws that help promote investment, grow the burgeoning field of “green” industries, promote innovation and CREATE JOBS. And yes I put that last critical phrase “create jobs” in all caps and I;m not ashamed that I did.

Democrats should be out on the stump everyday trumpeting the fact that Republicans have stymied job growth in this country by rejecting climate and energy legislation proposed by Democrats. Legislation much like the law in California that is attracting venture capital money hand over fist. In a world of declining fossil fuels pose environmental risks not just because they contribute to global warming but because the methods used to extract them are dangerous and threaten clean drinking water (e.g. hydrofracking, destroy entire regions of our country (e.g., Mountaintop removal for coal in Appalachia) and the environmental and economic interests of those who live along our nation’s coastal area (e.g., BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. Thus, newer technologically advanced green and sustainable sources of energy are vital.

However, what is the Republican Energy and Environmental policy but to promote “Drill, Baby Drill” and encourage the relaxation of not the outright elimination of environmental regulations and laws? Republicans, Tea Partiers and Establishment politicians alike both prefer that their patrons “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” destroy our children’s future, by destroyiing their economic prospects and polluting the environment, all in exchange for helping the dirtiest industries on earth achieve massive short term profits. Industries whose products damage the health of millions of people right here in the United States:

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have found postmenopausal women living in U.S. cities and exposed to average levels of fine particulate matter pollution, or PM 2.5, were drastically more at risk for getting cardiovascular disease and dying from its complications.

The study, which will appear Feb. 1 [2007] in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the largest study of its kind and the first to evaluate the effects of air pollution on new cases of cardiovascular disease in healthy subjects. It’s also the first to examine local air-pollution levels within a city — by taking data from several air-quality monitors in different neighborhoods of one city — rather than comparing rates between cities, which is considered a less accurate measure.

Industries that were the primary justification for the wars in the Middle East, as George W. Bush himself acknowledged when he was President:

President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday [August 30, 2005] with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country’s vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Meanwhile, cleaner energy alternatives and technologies are being actively pursued in China, South Korea

China is leading a push by Asia-Pacific nations into green technology, which could be their ticket to sustained growth and reduced reliance on Western markets, the United Nations said Thursday. […]

China invested 34.6 billion dollars in clean energy in 2009, up more than 50 percent on the previous year — making it the world’s biggest investor in energy-efficient technology, it said.

South Korea plans to inject 84 billion dollars in environmentally friendly industries over the next five years, the report said.

. . . and Europe where American companies like GE are investing their monies which is creating jobs for Europeans:

GE (NYSE: GE) announced plans to invest approximately EUR 340 million to develop or expand its wind turbine manufacturing, engineering and service facilities in four European countries–the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Germany–signaling GE’s desire to grab a share of Europe’s growing offshore wind sector. […]

Imagine what $100 Billion in federal or state government investment and incentives for green industries could do for the US economy and job growth? If China can invest $36 Billion a year and South Korea $84 Billion over the next five years, why can’t the US Government match or exceed that amount to make our country a world leader in the coming economic wave of green technologies? Even in a relatively conservative state like North Carolina, firms are seeing the benefits of switching to green alternatives like solar power to supply their energy needs:

Already, solar power has become the state’s leading source of renewable energy as companies large and small line up to take advantage of lucrative state and federal incentives that virtually guarantee a profit.

Businesses as diverse as Glaxo Smith Kline, the Mayfair Plaza Shopping Center in Cary and OFM, a furniture import company in Holly Springs, have built solar plants on rooftops and in empty fields.

In addition to being a good environmental move, building such solar farms is a sound business strategy, allowing the companies to bask in a “green” aura even as they reap financial rewards.

The declining cost of solar technology even made the price of what SAS calls Solar Farm 2 less than the original project even as it generates 20 percent more electricity. The company invested $5.5 million in the expansion, according to documents filed with the state Utilities Commission.

Yet all the Republicans offer is a continuation of helping the old, dirty, inefficient, dangerous and deadly fossil fuels industry and increasing our dependence on foreign sources of oil from the Middle East. Is that what America really wants? I don’t think so. The Republican party and its candidates are literally proxies for the worst sort of industry, one that exploits people and the environment and is dying to boot as peak oil is reached.

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 8 — The world could face more of a liquid fuels than crude oil shortage as national economies recover, experts agreed at an Oct. 7 Capitol Hill forum. Global liquid fuels production hit a plateau in mid-2004 where it has generally stayed despite the strongest economic recession in decades, said Robert L. Hirsch, a senior advisor at Management Information Services Inc.

Several nations’ gross domestic products could plunge as a result, he warned at the event cohosted by the Environmental & Energy Study Institute and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas. “The countries that would be hurt the most would be the ones relying most heavily on imports,” said Hirsch, who wrote a report on possible peak oil impacts for the US Department of Energy. […]

There are plenty of fossil fuel resources worldwide, but few policymakers recognize that such estimates do not reflect what can actually be produced economically and without major environmental impacts, he continued. “When fields are run very efficiently, 50-60% of their oil can be recovered. That’s not always possible,” he said. “The entire Bakken shale is producing at a rate comparable to one not-so-good well in the Gulf of Mexico. It requires significantly more wells, with all their casing and cement, with production that declines quickly.”

Peak oil is as much an issue of cost as supplies, according to Arthur E. Berman, director of Labyrinth Consulting Services Inc. in Sugar Land, Tex. “In order to get wedges of additional supply, oil will need to cost more,” he said. “More wells will need to be drilled at increasingly higher costs to recover steadily smaller amounts.”

Dear Democrats who are brave enough, take this study from and these facts about investment in California green manufacturing companies and run with it. Show your constituents every chance you get that the future for our economy and job growth in America lies with developing the innovation and technologies and manufacturing base for cleaner and sustainable alternative energy, and not with “the Republicans outdated “Drill, Baby, Drill” policies.

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