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06/18/2010 01:20 PM     print story email story         Page: 1  | 2  

Are Americans Ready for Change?

Page 1

As President Obama said in his speech, America has postponed getting off our oil addiction for decades. In the late 1970s, President Carter made the first call to wean ourselves off from oil - if we had done it then, the job would have been completed in 1985.

Recent polls show that Americans want the government to prioritize renewable energy. A poll  conducted by Benenson Strategy Group found that 63% of likely 2010 voters support an energy bill that limits pollution and encourages companies to use and develop clean energy.

Why then is the energy bill languishing in the Senate? The House approved a bill a year ago, and versions have passed in Senate committees. It's time for a Senate vote, but like every single bill since Obama entered office, Republicans filibustered it, forcing 60 votes for passage instead of a simple majority.

Those 60 votes are nowhere to be found because conservative Democrats and all Republicans are against the bill. How can that be if the majority of Americans are in favor of it?

Typical criticisms of the bill - it will destroy jobs, destroy our economy and increase taxes -
are simply not true.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its analysis of the bill a few days ago. It concludes the opposite is true: the American Power Act will boost our economy, create jobs and reduce costs for American families and businesses.

Passing the American Power Act, according to the EPA, would create 440,000 jobs a year through 2020 and 540,000 jobs a year through 2030 while saving families $35 a year on utility bills. And it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45%.

The most controversial part of the bill is the cap on carbon emissions, but it is that very cap that is pivotal in reaping the rewards of industry and job growth.

A carbon cap would trigger the transition to energy efficiency and clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive. It is the very investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that would spark economic activity. The cap drives job gains in many sectors, including manufacturing, construction, services, and trade.

Comprehensive energy and climate legislation would shift energy investments and expenditures over the coming decades to new technologies, such as efficient appliances, green and healthy building materials and systems, and wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy. Clean technologies would comprise a much larger share of the energy economy -  the direction we want to go in.

Electricity and natural gas prices would rise because of carbon prices, but those increases would be more than offset by reduced energy consumption and utility rebates. Efficiency investments lead to immediate employment increases because the work is labor intensive, and lead to long term increases in GDP from energy savings and lower carbon prices. EPA projects the legislation would save $312 billion in the economy through 2030, a third from industrial efficiency and the remainder from building retrofits.

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Reader Comments (4)

David Katz

Date Posted:
06/18/10 09:51 PM

Rona Great summary of the dilema that continues for both you in US and yor neighbours to the north and south. Hopefully ther may be some international pressure at the G8/G20 summits here. Just watched the latest commercial for Clean energy on CN that uses the oil psill as the backdrop so hopefully it will reverse the negative that came out of copenhagen and the Climate Change data fiasco.

Jim Broderick

Date Posted:
06/18/10 10:03 PM

The EPA's recent report does debunk the naysayers' claims that addressing these issues will hurt the economy and add to the deficit. When will they get with it? When we're all wearing air filtration masks and the coastal areas are being submerged in the sea? Keep up the good work. Unfortunately, your readership does not consist of people who really need to hear the facts to make the right choices. Those people are watching Glenn Beck tonight. %-(


Date Posted:
06/21/10 11:35 PM

In the days of Nazi Germany this type of rhetoric would be construed as "propaganda", today it is known as PUBLIC RELATIONS. It is the epitome of arrogance to present the illusion that one individual [Rona Fried] speaks for the American people, especially one who stands to benefit financially from any and all legislation to enable and empower the [alleged] "Green Movement". I was a contractor in the residential home improvement industry for 35 years experience, and was a licensed and certified environmental contractor, as well, dealing specifically with Asbestos Abatement, and I can tell you from first hand experience that the American people are not ready to fund the "The Next New Deal," and provide job security or Rona Fried, her wonderful new industry, and/or her friends. The real problem is that America's Congress has stood by, since 1978, as 16,600 corporations have been taken out of America, and the jobs that once employed millions of Americans, with them, and no amount of postulating, that "the Green Industry can save America, and create new jobs," will actually do it. It is absolutely absurd to think that we have arrived at the point in time when we are listening to verbiage, that a few seemingly wondrous ideas, such as forcing homeowners to pay to have their houses retro-fitted with a bunch of nonsense, so as to generate revenue, is a good enough idea as to replace the millions of jobs we need to truly sustain an economy of our size. If we have no jobs, we have no jobs! It doesn't do any good to call "a few construction projects," "a new sustainable industry!" This reminds me of a saying by Abraham Lincoln: "IF YOU CALL A DOG'S LEG A TAIL, IT DOESN'T MAKE IT A TAIL!"


Date Posted:
06/21/10 03:43 AM

Nomolos, you are obviously and educated and articulate person. Why the attitude towards Dr. Fried? I met her a few years ago when her business was in negative cash flow way before everyone started to see that 'Green' meant more green in the wallet and jumped on the bandwagon. Her intentions are true and viable and necessary to add to the incresing sincere voices that realize that things must change if we are to have any type of standard of living and health for our children and grandchildren. Things aren't getting better. We live in a selfish society that is very nearsighted. Rona's only intent is to attempt to incrimentally extend that vision. Please don't misconstrue a true desire to move people in a sustainable direction with greed and avarice. I know this is not the case. B-the-B

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