Green Economy: Hope or Hype?

My colleague Mike Caputo today picked up on our Monday MinnEcon post on “Green Jobs” hype and is trying to get a conversation started on it.

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Please jump in. Mike runs a great space on MPR’s Minnesota Today page with lots of room for good, interactive discussion.

Mike makes a really good point that whooshed over my head until he mentioned it:

It’s not just public officials who see the hope in the “green economy.” Many business and thought leaders see potential too, such as Lois Quam, former executive at UnitedHealthGroup, and founder of Tysvar, a Minnesota-based business looking to spur on the green economy.

Quam says the U.S. and Minnesota are in the game, but policy and innovation need to keep apace, since global giants like China are moving to capitalize on the green jobs.

Quam is coming to MPR for its next Bright Ideas forum (it’s a free deal that happen on October 26 at 7 p.m., just reserve a seat or two).

Part of the challenge here is trying to figure out what qualifies as as green job. The Minneapolis Fed analysis I wrote about Monday makes it clear that definitions can be stretched to creative limits.

But maybe that’s OK. One of our readers noted that “green jobs” extend beyond solar panels and wind turbines — the folks who work the Port of Duluth importing the materials that build the turbines ought to be counted as benefiting from the Green Energy push, no?

Mike asks: What would you ask someone like Quam to convince you that the green economy has promise? What role should the public and private sectors in Minnesota play in the green economy?

Share some thoughts and talk it through in person next week.

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