Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Jobs
A Response to the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal
Eight years of neglect, deregulation, and rampant speculation have left our economy a shambles. The world’s scientists have at the same time concluded with certainty that we have less than a decade to fundamentally change the way we produce and consume energy, or we will face a global environmental catastrophe with devastating social, economic, and national security consequences. These mounting crises share a common solution: investing in a sustainable clean energy economy today.
This fall the Center for American Progress released an analysis of the benefits of a “Green Recovery” plan that proposes a $100 billion low-carbon economic infusion to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, transportation, and electricity infrastructure, and rapid deployment of clean renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar, and advanced biofuels. Working with economists at the University of Massachusetts, we found that investment in a “Green Recovery” strategy creates more jobs than either a traditional economic stimulus or a continued investment in oil.
This report has been criticized and mischaracterized by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. These critiques have missed the fundamental point of a green recovery program. They falsely conflate direct investments in clean energy with higher energy prices, and further confuse the issue by failing to recognize that green investments not only create more jobs in the short term but better net job growth over time.
A recovery package that invests in clean energy and efficiency solutions will quickly cut energy bills for consumers and American businesses. And, expanded energy choices and dramatically improved efficiency will further reduce demand and stabilize energy prices over time.
A green recovery creates more and better jobs than a traditional stimulus or a similar continued investment in dirty energy—both in the short and long term. This is because dollar for dollar, green investments spend more on hiring people and less on machines, supplies, and consuming energy. Green infrastructure investments also rely more on domestic labor and retain spending within our economy, rather than exporting capital and jobs overseas.
Investment in a low-carbon economy will prime the pump for private-sector innovation, lower the costs of addressing the climate crisis, and position America to compete in the fast-growing global market for clean technology. Fortunately, President-elect Barack Obama and an increasing number of our nation’s leaders in both business and government recognize that investing in clean energy is a sure path to rebuild the economy, stimulate innovation, avoid the costs of inaction, and create good jobs, now and in the future.
For more on this topic, please see:
- Green Investments and Jobs: A Response to the Heritage Foundation by Robert Pollin
- The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Conservatism: Heritage Even Opposes Energy Efficiency by Joe Romm
- Green Recovery: A New Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy
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