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Clean Energy: The Jobs Program America Needs … NOW! And, tomorrow!

November 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment

In the face of mounting unemployment numbers, with even the distorted low ‘official’ unemployment figure above 10 percent, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has determined that a (yet to be defined, drafted, considered in committees, passed by the House) jobs bill should be the top of the agenda.

In the face of the reality that those percentages, the huge numbers represent very real trauma for far too many people, I applaud Senator Reid’s desire to focus on job creation.

What I deplore is Senator Reid’s (and, seemingly, President Obama’s) walking away from climate legislation as core to actual jobs creation.

The American Clean Energy & Security (ACES) Act, passed by the House earlier this year, contains energy efficiency and other investment elements that would drive job creation. The Kerry-Boxer bill, passed out of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee is entitled the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act for a reason: provision after provision would drive employment opportunities for American’s throughout the country.

Let us be clear, neither ACES nor CEJAP represent the best paths forward to seize the economic opportunities from tackling climate mitigation challenges. Even with their substantial (and real) flaws, they would help drive job creation while helping to turn the American economy away from its fossil-foolish ways.

The “political” reality seems clear: there is little prospect for a meaningful climate bill in the near (next few months) future to be passed by the US Congress.

In the face of soaring (and searing) unemployment numbers, the Congress will turn to some form of a jobs program.

Senator Reid, Representative Pelosi, and President Obama have smart and sound job creation options staring them in the face. Let us seize the very real opportunities that  energy efficiency, clean energy, sustainable agriculture, and environmental remediation research and implementation have for sparking wide-spread, sizable, and sustainable employment. Let us, the US, move forward with a “jobs program” that doesn’t only put cash in wallets but helps foster a stronger and safer America via reducing our fossil-foolish addictions.

NOTE: There are many sizable opportunities out there. A meaningful green economy stimulus would include significantly increased funding for ‘greening America’s public schools’, a financing program for buying down mortgages based on building energy efficiency, electrification of America’s rail, and greatly expandied funding for energy research & development.

For example, financing Net Zero (& Lower Energy Demand) Building (see here) could be done on the basis of the Architecture 2030 developed The 2030 Challenge Stimulus Plan to create roughly nine million (yes, 9,000,000) jobs and several trillion dollars of building activity through a two-year, $192.47 billion program focused on using financial instruments to spark investment in energy efficiency in private buildings throughout the nation.  Buildings account for roughly 40 percent of America’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This program would put a serious dent into that figure while skyrocketing the United States in a global leadership position in building energy efficiency.

For some thoughts, see: WIN to the Sixth Power and Stimulate Me.

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Tags: climate change · Congress · democrats · Energy

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