Global Economic Strategy Should Focus on Clean Energy Jobs

As the G-20 Summit begins in Pittsburgh, the Blue Green Alliance Executive Director David Foster said that focusing our efforts on creating clean energy jobs is the most effective way to get the economy moving again.

September 24, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 24, 2009) As the G-20 Summit begins in Pittsburgh, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director David Foster:

“As world leaders gather in Pittsburgh, a city at the heart of manufacturing in the United States, it is more important than ever to emphasize the need to build a clean energy economy in this country that will both revitalize the U.S. economy and reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

“As the U.S. and countries around the world continue to grapple with recession, focusing our efforts on creating clean energy jobs is the most effective way to get the economy moving again. While some critics of climate change legislation claim that it will cost jobs, the Blue Green Alliance and its labor and environmental partners believe that clean energy legislation will create the millions of jobs that are desperately needed to solve our country’s unemployment crisis. This is especially true in our hard-hit manufacturing and construction sectors.

“Clean energy legislation will ramp up America’s underutilized factory capacity to make the parts for wind turbines and solar panels and will put America’s unemployed construction workers back on the job retrofitting our skyscrapers and homes for energy efficiency.

“At the same time, it is important that we take a common-sense approach to the challenges posed to energy-intensive, trade-sensitive industries. While these industries represent a narrow sector of the economy, they are key to strategies that will lower emissions and create economic growth.

“The American Clean Energy and Security Act compensated energy- and trade-intensive industries for compliance costs during the early years and encouraged negotiated sectoral agreements in these industries at the international level. Only if these agreements were not reached, this legislation provided a border mechanism that would allow the United States to go forward with carbon reductions in these industries in a manner that didn’t encourage them to shut down and relocate production to countries with lower standards. Without such a mechanism, these industries would simply shift their global warming pollution while destroying domestic jobs.

“The green economy has the potential to lift all boats. Clean energy legislation will reduce dependence on imported oil and promote local economic development – and domestic energy production in particular – in all countries. That is why it is essential that we join together with countries across the globe to negotiate an agreement in Copenhagen that sets the world on the path to reducing carbon emissions and promoting global economic prosperity.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy.  Launched by the Sierra Club and United Steelworkers in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance has expanded to include the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Service Employees International Union, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Utility Workers Union of America and American Federation of Teachers.