Dear Senators: The Fight Against Global Warming is the Fight of a Generation

When I walk into our New York office every morning, I know I work with people devoted to the environment. In my colleague’s offices, there are pictures of all of their favorite mountains, rivers and oceans. In mine, I have a statute of a polar bear by my desk.

For the rest of the country, there’s been some confusion as to what transitioning to a green economy – one built on clean, efficient energy – will mean for them. Who will be involved? Who will become green collar?
A report out yesterday Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Amherst Massachusetts answers this question. By looking at green industries like building retrofitting, mass transit and fuel-efficient automobiles, the report shows that the skills required by a green economy will benefit millions of U.S. workers already employed across a range of occupations, states and income levels. We’re talking about carpenters, electricians, machinists and truck drivers. Industries like solar and wind are only one slice of this story. Much of the transition will happen in occupations already familiar to Americans.

This means that solving global warming won’t benefit only the technically advanced. Instead, it means more jobs, and more job security, for more Americans. As the economy slumps, this kind of economic stimulus is precisely what the American economy needs.

It’s important to remember that as you’re reading this, the fate of the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Bill – one of the most important climate bills ever proposed – is being debated on the floor of the United States Senate. I would urge our Senators to keep in mind what this report teaches us: that fighting global warming is the work of a generation.

And that the fight requires all of us. It requires action by the individual, by businesses, by government, cities and states. The good news is that we’ve seen a surge in support in recent years. I only hope our Senators will join us – and soon.