RELEASE: Building Up Clean Energy Economy Leadership in the United States

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined leaders from the Center for American Progress, the BlueGreen Alliance, and the Institute for America’s Future to release a new report that offers a bold strategy to lead a 21st-century green industrial transformation. The report, titled “The Green Industrial Revolution and the United States: In the Clean Energy Race, Is the United States a Leader or a Luddite?” proposes maximizing the national strength of U.S. manufacturing by employing a region-focused strategy for clean energy manufacturing.

“We can’t replace a dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign-made clean energy components,” said Sen. Brown. “Today’s report shows how investing in the competitiveness of America’s clean energy industry can create jobs, lower costs for consumers, and boost exports.”

According to a 2012 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the United States led all nations in biofuel technologies and energy efficiency, while also accounting for 29 percent of the world’s research and development that year. Now, key tax and spending programs are facing cutbacks or termination at the federal level.

“The green industrial revolution has already begun,” said Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future and a member of the BlueGreen Alliance Advisory Board. “It will inescapably be a leading source of jobs, innovation, and dynamism in the next decades. The countries that forge the lead here will reap the benefits in good jobs, expanding markets, and global leadership against the threats already being posed by catastrophic climate changes. This report outlines a strategy that builds on America’s strengths—combining a regional approach with proactive national policies that provides a sensible way forward.”

The report examines the increasing efforts of China and other economic powers to capture clean economy jobs, highlighting the long-term, top-down approach being taken.

“We’ve seen great clean energy successes here at the national level in the United States—including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—but our real strength will come from bottom-up regional action,” said Kate Gordon, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, board member of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Apollo Alliance Project, and co-author of the report. “Energy is an inherently regional issue, and a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. It’s time for Washington to step up and promote regional clean energy strategies as part of an overall national commitment to take action on climate change.”

Recognizing the importance of regional differences in moving to cleaner energy to address climate change and to ensure that the energy supply in the United States is diversified, the report argues for using economic development principles and funding through the U.S. Department of Commerce—utilizing their existing infrastructure—to achieve those goals.

“Backward-looking ideologues have pitted good jobs against the environment for far too long. Even some of their erstwhile allies in the energy sector are waking up to the reality that we need a different set of policies to address the undeniable reality of climate change,” said Derek Pugh, co-author of the report and senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future. “This report adds to the case for a green industrial revolution in which we rebuild our decaying infrastructure, capture new markets and narrow our trade deficit, and provide skilled jobs at good wages for millions of unemployed and underemployed people.”

The infrastructure for manufacturing already exists in the United States, and the country should take advantage of this regional infrastructure to lead the charge toward a green industrial revolution.

Read the report: The Green Industrial Revolution and the United States: In the Clean Energy Race, Is the United States a Leader or a Luddite? by Kate Gordon, Robert Borosage, and Derek Pugh

To speak with an expert on this topic, contact Anne Shoup at ashoup@americanprogress.org, Erin Bzymek at erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, or Isaiah Poole at ipoole@ourfuture.org.

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