According to a report from the Center for Climate Strategies and John Hopkins University, the implementation of a federal climate policy could create 2.5 million new jobs. With a stagnant economy and high unemployment rates, you have to ask: How can a new climate policy create that many new jobs?
Job creation would occur in areas such as forestry and waste, energy supply, residential, commercial, and industrial arenas, and transportation and land use. Examples of jobs include urban forestry, recycling, renewable energy, carbon capture and reuse, building code modification, appliance standard creation, and mass transit.
Not only that, a federal climate policy would reduce pollution, improve our nation's health, and spur economic development. It could also lead to a reduction in energy costs for consumers. So how come the Senate has taken the climate bill off its agenda?
The fear campaign levied by the mighty oil and coal lobby certainly helped. Fossil fuel lobbyists have spent $90 million so far this year to try and prove that a federal climate policy would increase energy costs for consumers. Many politicians in the Senate receive large amounts of funding from these energy companies, and were quick to side with the opinion that the bill would increase costs for consumers and discourage job growth.
The truth is, there would be some initial costs in making a switch to renewable energy. Some jobs in the coal and oil sectors could be lost. But overall, job creation would surpass job loss by an estimated 2.5 million jobs, and would keep America competitive in a global market that is increasingly developing clean energy as we speak. China is currently spending millions of dollars in this very field, and they also seem poised to start a carbon trading system.
From an economic standpoint, there is nothing to lose and only jobs and development to gain from a federal climate policy. If the United States wants to remain a global leader, then we have to act quickly and decisively to combat climate change. Doing nothing could prove catastrophic.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo: A wind farm near Hawi, Hawaii. (Hawaiian Electric Company)