A new white paper titled An Explanation of Green Jobs Policies, Theory, Measurement Approaches, and Job Growth Expectations was written by Iowa State University through a cooperative agreement with USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. The authors explore policy, theoretical foundations, and the approaches to measuring green jobs in the United States. The paper contains brief descriptions of national and state initiatives to quantify green jobs, as well as their potential for growth. The study finds there is little academic research that conceptualizes the green economy. Regional research to assist state and local policy development is needed, along with evaluations investigating offsetting job losses.
There are currently twin public policy focuses regarding green jobs. The first concerns imply value of the activity; namely, the ability to conserve energy and other natural resources as well as reduce pollution. The second focus is the job producing value. While most people agree that the environmentally beneficial goals of policy developments are essential, the job creation goals are foremost in most policymakers’ minds. Read more »
A new white paper titled Developing of a Purchasing Manager’s Index for Biobased Products was written by Iowa State University through a cooperative agreement with USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. The authors explore the development of a measurement for biobased products, which are defined as those composed either in whole or in significant part of renewable agricultural or forestry materials, including commercial and industrial products as well as feedstocks. They discuss various types of composite indicators, trends in the overall biobased products sector, and the feasibility of using purchasing managers’ expectations to discern performance.
Several methodological and administrative issues involved in moving from a pilot study to a full-scale biobased products purchasing managers’ survey are considered. Recommendations are offered to support development and implementation of a composite index that charts the strength of the biobased product sector. USDA-sponsored research provides a foundation for more detailed analysis of growth in biobased products industries. Read more »
USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist’s Climate Change Program Office has released the “U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Greenhouse Gas Inventory: 1990-2008” report. This report provides detailed estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration from the management of livestock, croplands, and forests, as well as from energy use in agriculture that will be useful to states and localities. In 2008, agricultural greenhouse gas sources accounted for about 6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
It was prepared collaboratively with contributions from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, USDA Climate Change Program Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and researchers at Colorado State University. Read more »
A new report, titled Renewable Power Opportunities for Rural Communities, is intended to serve as a summary and guide to assist rural utilities that may be considering investing in a renewable electricity generation project and for policymakers who may be considering how to encourage such investments.
This report identifies and discusses a wide array of renewable power opportunities (e.g., wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) available in rural America. The principal audience is expected to be local and state governments, rural leaders, rural-based utilities (cooperatives, municipals, and investor owned) and their leadership, and rural residents whose interests are focused on renewable power, distributed generation, and rural economic development. The report was prepared under the direction of USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses (OEPNU) and the Office of the Chief Economist. The report can be found on our website. Read more »
USDA Report highlights Increased Energy Efficiency for Corn-based Ethanol
Harry Baumes, Acting Director of USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, says a report that surveyed corn growers in 2005 and ethanol plants in 2008 indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency. Titled “2008 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry,” the report surveyed ethanol producers about ethanol yield (undenatured) per bushel of corn and energy used in ethanol plants. Read more »