Clean Energy is the Boost We Need

Today President Obama convenes a White House summit with more than 100 of the nation's top business leaders, economists, academics and labor union officials to discuss ways to create new jobs for the nation's recession-weary workers.  

Clean energy jobs is one of the hottest topics at the summit. Yesterday the White convened a clean energy youth forum to discuss ways to bring new clean energy jobs to the nation's youth.

Many studies show that through investments in clean energy technologies, we can create good-paying jobs faster, reduce security threats posed by fossil fuels and cut harmful pollution that contributes to climate change.

Yesterday, the US Climate Action Partnership released an economic analysis that the U.S. economy will grow about 70 percent through 2030 as it adopts policies to lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the USCAP analysis projects that household purchasing power will be greater by $8,000, $17,000, and $35,000 in 2015, 2020, and 2030, respectively, compared to 2010. Yet another study showing strong economic growth under federal climate legislation.

Meanwhile, jobs in the clean, renewable and energy efficiency sectors have grown rapidly in recent years, and a report released in November by the business-labor coalition Blue Green Alliance shows investments in renewable energy technologies create three to six times as many jobs as investments in traditional fossil fuels.

Several recent independent studies have shown that investing in clean energy is one of the best ways to pump up the economy. An analysis released at the end of September by researchers at the University of California showed that federal stimulus money combined with comprehensive clean energy legislation would create up to 1.9 million new jobs, increase household income up to $1,175 and boost annual GDP by as much as $110 billion over the next decade.

A report earlier this year by Pew Charitable Trusts found that jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007.  There was a similar pattern at the state level, where job growth in the clean energy economy outperformed overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia during the same period. 

Business leaders around the country are embracing new clean energy legislation as a way to create jobs and lead the world in developing new renewable energy technologies. Here is what Ralph Izzo, CEO of the Public service Utility Group, wrote recently in the Washington Post:

"If we take steps to combat climate change now -- starting with cap-and-trade legislation -- we will come out ahead in many respects. We will become less dependent on foreign energy. We will create green jobs. And we will foster technological innovation that can be applied elsewhere."

And here's what Sarah Severn, director of the Horizons program at Nike, had to say about clean energy legislation in in Politico last October:

"All the studies we've looked at say this is going to help the [gross domestic product], it's going to help create new jobs, it's not going to be that costly. And particularly if we move towards a good, strong international agreement, the price of carbon could come down very, very sharply, very quickly."

As more and more business leaders and governments embrace clean energy technology, we can't afford to be left behind. American workers-and the economy-depend on it.

Check out this short video we made from the Clean Energy Jobs rally in Pittsburgh last September: