New Report: Stimulus Plan For 2 Million Green Jobs In Two Years

Posted by Wonk Room Wed, 10 Sep 2008 15:08:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released Green Recovery, a new report by Dr. Robert Pollin and University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute economists. This report demonstrates how a new Green Recovery program that invests $100 billion over two years would create 2 million new jobs, with a significant proportion in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors. It is clear from this research that a strategy to invest in the greening of our economy will create more jobs, and better jobs, compared to continuing to pursue a path of inaction marked by rising dependence on fossil fuel billionaires.

Job Creation

To create 2 million new jobs within two years, the overall level of fiscal expansion will need to be around $100 billion, or roughly the same as the portion of the April 2008 stimulus program that was targeted at expanding household consumption. This green economic recovery program will create more jobs and better paying jobs. If Congress were to decide as part of a domestic oil production and gas price reduction effort to spend $100 billion on new oil and gas subsidies and subsidizing gasoline and oil prices, only a quarter as many jobs would be created:

Stimulus Package Comparison
The plan calls for most of the stimulus to go directly to the private sector, with $50 billion for tax credits and $4 billion for federal loan guarantees. $46 billion in direct government spending would support public building retrofits, the expansion of mass transit, freight rail, and smart electrical grid systems, and new investments. This $100 billion investment is targeted at six key sectors in building a green economy today: <!-more->
  • Retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency
  • Expanding mass transit and freight rail
  • Constructing smart electrical grid transmission systems
  • Wind power
  • Solar power
  • Next-generation biofuels

The Green Recovery program is part of a comprehensive low-carbon energy strategy and could be paid for with proceeds from auctions of carbon permits under a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.

Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta explains why the time for a green recovery is now:
It is time for a new vision for the economic revitalization of the nation and a restoration of American leadership in the world. We must seize this precious opportunity to mobilize the country and the international community toward a brighter, more prosperous future. At the heart of this opportunity is clean energy, remaking the vast energy systems that power the nation and the world. We must fundamentally change the way we produce and consume energy and dramatically reduce our dependence on oil. The economic opportunities provided by such a transformation are vast, not to mention the national security benefits of reducing oil dependence and the pressing need to fight global warming. The time for action is now.

In a press briefing introducing the report, Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers of America, said: “The point of view of the Steelworkers is quite simple: An energy-efficient green economy creates jobs, and creates jobs in America.”

When asked what are the minimum steps Congress and the president must take this session, Van Jones (Green For All) and Frances Beinecke (NRDC) identified three key elements:
Congress needs to appropriate funds ($125 million) for the Green Jobs Act

Congress needs to appropriate funds for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

Congress needs to renew and extend the production and investment tax credits for renewable energy.

Conservatives in Congress are threatening to filibuster these efforts, and President Bush is threatening vetoes—even to shut down the government to protect oil companies at the expense of everyone else.

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NWF: "Train of Storms is Symptomatic of a New Era of Stronger Storms"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:56:00 GMT

In a news release, the National Wildlife Federation’s climatologist Amanda Staudt warns that “this hurricane season is a stark reminder of what science tells us to expect from a new era of stronger hurricanes fueled by global warming: higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.”

Scientific findings she notes:
  • “The big picture is that global warming is allowing hurricanes to pack a bigger punch. Over this century, windspeeds could increase 13 percent and rainfall could increase 31 percent.”
  • “Even storms that do not reach category 3 and above will hit harder because they will likely bring more rain than a similar storm would have just a few decades ago. It is a law of physics that warmer air is able to carry more water.”
  • “Both Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav brought costly flooding, with rainfall totals exceeding 10 inches in some locations. As the remnants of Gustav continue to bring heavy rains, much of the lower Mississippi valley remains under flood watch.”

“We must restore the coastal wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands that provide the first line of defense against hurricanes,” advises Dr. Staudt. “For example, about half of the wetlands around New Orleans have been lost in recent years. Because scientists estimate that every mile of healthy wetlands can trim about 3-9 inches off a storm surge – and an acre of wetlands is estimated to reduce hurricane damage by $3,300 – we must restore these wetlands.”

For more, read the full NWF report on the influence of global warming on the destruction caused by tropical storms.

The Podesta, Pickens, and Pope Power Summit 2

Posted by Wonk Room Wed, 27 Aug 2008 22:02:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

At the Big Tent in Denver, Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, and oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens engaged in a discussion about our energy future. Pickens, who believes that our global oil production is at its peak and will soon inexorably decline, discussed his “Pickens Plan” for a massive increase in wind and solar electricity production and a shift for trucking fleets from diesel to natural gas. Podesta noted that the climate crisis is evident today, in the flooding in Florida and the increasing threat of powerful hurricanes. “The cost of doing nothing,” Podesta said, “is extremely substantial.”

This panel of three highly powerful individuals from the environmental, progressive, and conservative energy industry communities represented a remarkable confluence of priorities, in recognizing the energy crisis and the need to get off oil. As Carl Pope described:
If our politics was even vaguely functional, anything that all three of us agree on would have happened long ago. We have some very deep profound political problems. Our politics are broken.

Pickens himself, a highly influential fundraiser for right-wing politicians, described how his money has gotten him access in Washington but that he had learned that his contributions don’t translate to policy. He expressed his enthusiasm for the ability of the Pickens Plan campaign to reach millions on the Internet and mobilize hundreds of thousands of people. He argued, “I’m not doing this to make money. My entire estate will go to charity when I go. We are now importing almost 70 percent of our oil. It’s too much. We’re not talking about my generation—we can make it to the finish line.”

Pope explained what Newt Gingrich and other conservatives are really trying to do with their drill-drill-drill agenda, when they know that lifting the offshore drilling moratorium won’t deliver new oil to this country.

What is it about? It’s about distracting us from the conversation we ought to be having. As long as we’re talking about drill drill drill, it distracts Americans from the fact there’s a chasm between the two candidates. It’s a huge headfake by Karl Rove.

At the end of the conversation, Podesta and Pickens talked about their political differences. Pickens – who helped sponsor the Big Tent – admitted he is inclined to defend oil companies, who work for their shareholders and are run by his friends. When challenged by Podesta for having given significant contributions to “the gang on Capitol Hill who have been blocking the renewable production tax credit,” Pickens, with resignation apparent in his face, said, “I grind on them . . . I don’t have the time.” He argued that he is now trying to act on behalf of the American people, to avoid being partisan, to move past the old politics—the politics that he has spent millions to sustain.

The Future of Environmentalism

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 27 Aug 2008 20:00:00 GMT

With energy and environmentalism weighting heavily on the minds of all Americans, The New Republic will be hosting a two-part discussion series at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This series will allow convention attendees a rare opportunity to engage with policy leaders and key innovators at the forefront of the energy and environmental debate. The series is open to all convention attendees and within walking distance to the Denver Convention Center and surrounding hotels.

  • Carl Pope, Executive Director, The Sierra Club
  • Representative George Miller (D-CA)
  • Representative Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Matt Bennett, Vice President for Public Affairs, Third Way
  • Brian F. Keane, President, SmartPower
  • Ted Nordhaus, Chairman, The Breakthrough Institute; Co-author, Break Through
  • Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University Law Professor and Author, Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment
  • Franklin Foer, Editor of The New Republic, moderator

Tattered Cover Book Store, 16th & Wynkoop, Denver

The Future of Environmentalism 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Aug 2008 20:00:00 GMT

With energy and environmentalism weighting heavily on the minds of all Americans, The New Republic will be hosting a two-part discussion series at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This series will allow convention attendees a rare opportunity to engage with policy leaders and key innovators at the forefront of the energy and environmental debate. The series is open to all convention attendees and within walking distance to the Denver Convention Center and surrounding hotels.

  • Carl Pope, Executive Director, The Sierra Club
  • Representative George Miller (D-CA)
  • Representative Ed Markey (D-MA)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Matt Bennett, Vice President for Public Affairs, Third Way
  • Brian F. Keane, President, SmartPower
  • Ted Nordhaus, Chairman, The Breakthrough Institute; Co-author, Break Through
  • Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University Law Professor and Author, Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment
  • Franklin Foer, Editor of The New Republic, moderator

Tattered Cover Book Store, 16th & Wynkoop, Denver

Energy and Climate Change Roundtable: The New Energy Economy

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Aug 2008 17:30:00 GMT

Facilitator: Vijay Vaitheeswaran

Introduction: The Government’s Role in the New Energy Economy
  • Sen. Jeff Bingaman
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer
  • Rep. Ed Markey
  • Gavin Newsom
  • Greg Nickels
  • Federico Peña
  • Gov. Bill Ritter Jr.
  • Sen. Ken Salazar
Topic Expansion: Corporate and Community Initiatives in the New Energy Economy
  • Dan Arvizu
  • Mark Falcone
  • Van Jones
  • Carl Pope
  • Jon Ratner
  • Rhone Resch
  • Heather Stephenson

Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver, CO

Energy and Climate Change Roundtable: Energy in a Carbon-Constrained Economy

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Aug 2008 14:00:00 GMT

Moderator: Ray Suarez

Introduction: Three Carbon Sources
  • Robert A. Hefner III
  • Dick Kelly
  • Steven Leer
  • Andrew Liveris
  • Fred Palmer
Topic Expansion: Addressing the Economic Constraints
  • William S. Becker
  • Carol Browner
  • Jerome Ringo
  • Tim Wirth
Topic Expansion : Challenges and Opportunities
  • D. James Baker
  • Rep. Richard Gephardt
  • Kevin Knobloch
  • David Lester
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill
  • Michael Northrop
  • Randy Udall

Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver, CO

Energy and Climate Change Roundtable: The Business of Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 26 Aug 2008 12:00:00 GMT

Moderator: Rick Stengel

Introduction: Practical Examples of the Business Impact

  • Dan Hendrix
  • Mike Kaplan
  • Dr. Jeff Kenna
  • Rose McKinney James
  • Dan Reicher
Topic Expansion: Resources for Business Leadership
  • Frances Beinecke
  • Leo Gerard
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Ira Magaziner
  • Navin Nayak
  • John Podesta
  • Dan Sperling

Space Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, Denver, CO

National Wildlife Federation: Fay's Floods Are A 'Wake Up Call'

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 22 Aug 2008 17:35:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

The National Wildlife Federation, which has been warning that global warming is worsening wildfires and floods, describes the triple threat of global warming-fueled tropical storms in a new report:
While Florida and Gulf Coast residents bear the brunt of Tropical Storm Fay, the latest science connecting hurricanes and global warming suggests more is yet to come: tropical storms are likely to bring higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.

Watch it:

As Dr. Staudt writes in the report, “Stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall, and rising sea level: this is what global warming has in store for the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts.”

Environmental Organizations Call For Response To Extreme Weather

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 08 Jul 2008 02:01:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

We Campaign: Extreme Weather
The We Campaign’s action alert sent yesterday to activists about the U.S. Climate Change Science Program report on global warming’s effects on extreme weather.
As the Wonk Room has reported in our Global Boiling series, scientists have warned for well over a decade that global warming will make extreme weather events like the Midwest floods and California wildfires that are ravaging the nation commonplace. However, the Bush administration has failed to mobilize the nation, instead suppressing the research and letting polluters control policymaking. Now, spurred by activists, major environmental organizations are calling for action. On June 19, Friends of the Earth led the clarion call:
The warming climate has made more extreme precipitation inevitable, and in response, the U.S. must dramatically refashion its failed flood control policies.

The world’s largest grassroots environmental organization noted that U.S. flood control policy has been misguided for decades, pointing to government panels from 1966 and 1973 that recommended “more attention be paid to relocation out of flood zones and called for greater emphasis on non-engineering solutions.” Instead, due to pork barrel spending “totally unnecessary and often environmentally destructive projects are built while those of higher priority go unaddressed,” destroying up to 95% of the wetlands of Iowa and Illinois. With global warming, policies that were once problematic are now disastrous.

On July 1, National Wildlife Federation head Larry Schweiger called on Congress to hold immediate hearings to revise the National Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act. The accompanying report from the largest environmental organization in the United States, “Heavy Rainfall and Increased Flooding Risk: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Central United States,” recommends the U.S. stop its levee-larded strategy for flood control and begin aggressive reductions in global warming pollution. Offering her thoughts and prayers to those grappling with the “catastrophic flooding in the central United States,” NWF climate scientist Amanda Staudt connected the dots:
The big picture is that global warming is making tragedies like these more frequent and more intense. Global warming is happening now. Our dependency on fossil fuels like oil and coal is causing the problem, and people and wildlife are witnessing the effects.

The We Campaign alerted its million-person list about last month’s U.S. Climate Change Science Program report on global warming’s effects on extreme weather.

Unfortunately, not all leaders are recognizing the severity of this crisis. Major news networks employ global warming deniers and industry apologists in senior positions, The Wall Street Journal publishes right-wing extremists who think climate science is a “sick-souled religion,” and the New York Times publishes stories on the future of the Everglades and the effects of extreme floods on Midwest agriculture without even mentioning climate change once.

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