It's the economy, stupid, again
It's the economy, stupid. This was a sign hung in Bill Clinton's campaign headquarters to keep everybody "on message" in 1992. James Carville put it there. Campaigns haven't changed much in the last 16 years, and we now find the current presidential campaign debate finally turning toward economic issues. Candidates speak of green collar jobs and the new green energy economy to jump start our sagging economy and pull us out of recession.
By 2007, Clinton was quoted as saying "Stopping climate change represents a staggering economic opportunity. Now the task before us is to prove to the world that a response to global warming is not a hardship. It's the biggest opportunity for economic and social mobilization since World War II."
I certainly believe this to be true, and we need to start taking advantage of this staggering opportunity sooner rather than later.
Challenging the deniers
I have been working on energy and climate change issues for a number of years. I find people on a daily basis who are global warming doubters or outright deniers. These people like to debate me on existence of climate change.
I have come to believe that climate change is real, it largely is from man-made causes, that it is deadly serious and that we need to do something about the crisis immediately, but the debate over the science of climate change is best left to scientists.
If the proposed solutions to the climate change crisis are good for state, national and world economies, as well as the environment, they should be pursued with vigor regardless of the underlying cause of the problem.
As Congress debates legislation to confront the current energy and economic crisis, a new report released by The Political Economy Research Institute shows that the U.S. can create 2 million jobs nationwide by investing in clean energy technologies that will strengthen the economy and fight global warming.
"Green Recovery -- A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy" analyzes the potential for a two-year $100 billion green investment program --which would be comparable to the size of the April 2008 federal stimulus package dedicated to consumer rebates -- to be an engine for job creation in Iowa and nationwide.
The program could be paid for with proceeds from auctions of carbon permits under a global warming cap-and-trade program. A global warming cap-and-trade program will drive private investments into clean energy and raise public revenue through carbon permit auctions.
A cap will enable America to reduce global warming pollution to the levels science indicates are needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming. By investing in the green economy, we can create good jobs, increase our energy independence and help to reduce the dangerous effects of global warming.
Other green benefits
In addition to creating 2 million jobs nationwide over two years, a $100 billion initial investment in our clean energy future would:
• Create nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within the oil industry and 300,000 more jobs than a similar amount of spending directed toward household consumption via an economic stimulus refund to taxpayers.
• Create roughly triple the number of good jobs -- paying at least $16 dollars an hour -- as spending the same amount of money within the oil industry.
• Bolster employment especially in construction and manufacturing. Construction employment has fallen from 8 million to 7.2 million over the past two years because of the housing bubble collapse. The Green Recovery program can, at the least, bring back these lost 800,000 construction jobs. For the complete report findings, go to www.peri.umass.edu/green_recovery.
At this critical time, we need real solutions for the issues that face all Americans, and by investing in the green economy, we can start the transition to a low-carbon economy. This also will prevent Carville from calling us "stupid" and make Clinton's prophecy come true.