America has its fair share of controversial issues. But certainly, climate change would have to rank near the top of the list of mostly hotly debated topics. As policymakers wrestle with how best to address the issue, workers have a much more immediate concern: is climate change creating new jobs -- or killing them? Where are the opportunities -- and the risks?
In honor of Earth Day (which falls on Monday, April 22), AOL Jobs' "Lunchtime Live Series" invited a range of experts to discuss these issues on the show Friday. The guests were Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Chris Steinkamp, of the liberal, non-profit Protect Our Winters and William Yeatman, associate director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, a pro-business, libertarian advocacy group.
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Environmentalists. like Learner, see some job opportunities. "Solutions to climate change are creating jobs that are good for economic growth and are good for the environment," Learner said during the chat. As an example, he pointed to wind-power industry in his home state, Illinois, which already has 400 wind and solar power supply businesses already up and running. "They're hiring everyone from sales people to people who do marketing, to people do engineering to people who do design," he said.
In discussing professions that will become more valuable as the green sector grows, Learner highlighted one: "There's a shortage of wind technicians."
But some industries are being hit hard by climate change. Steinkamp said the winter sports industry -- which employers 500,000 people -- is struggling as weather patterns change. Winter sports-related businesses are still grappling with how to stay alive. "Are they going to fight climate change? Are they going to build up their sustainability departments? Or are they going to look at other business models?"
Watch the highlights reel below or the full video here. And share your comments below about what you think the impact of climate change will be on the future of jobs.
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