Business leaders from a diverse range of sectors and interests have called on Obama and Congress to make clean energy legislation a reality this year. Together, they have written a letter to Obama and Congress urging them to realize that we are very quickly being left behind by Asia, Europe and others on the technologies and jobs of the future.
The “We Can Lead” companies include eBay, Starbucks, Nike, Timberland, Hewlett-Packard, Gap Inc., Virgin America, Exelon, PG&E, and dozens of others.
Why are they behind climate and energy legislation? Among other reasons (i.e. we need it to address human-induced, super fast, catastrophic climate change), these businesses make the point that it would create 1.7 million new jobs in the US.
As the succesful businesses that they are, they do not miss the many financial benefits of such legislation. We Can Lead says that its letter “calls for forceful leadership to achieve legislation that will unleash innovation, drive economic growth, boost energy independence and decrease our carbon emissions.”
“American businesses recognize this challenge and have already begun to respond and innovate. However, today’s uncertainty surrounding energy and climate regulation is hindering the large-scale actions that American businesses are poised to make,” the letter states. “We need strong policies and clear market signals that support the transition to a low-carbon economy and reward companies that innovate. It is time for the Administration and Congress to embrace this policy as the promising economic opportunity that will empower American workers to compete and American entrepreneurship to lead the way.”
Much of the financial sector has been campaigning heavily for climate change legislation, nationally and internationally. Companies and investors see that clean tech is likely to become the next economic powerhouse and they see that we need that in order to save a collapsing ecology that supports us all.
The problem is that US society (like others) is still heavily addicted to dirty tech and many governments are still heavily influenced by the dirty tech lobby.
Obama’s administration is clearly behind clean tech and addressing climate change. They realize that it can create the (green) jobs we need. However, there are still many dirty tech supporters in Congress (supported financially by dirty tech, of course) who are looking to rip to shreds legislation that is truly for the people. The We Can Lead businesses are now throwing their social and political weight into the matter more to try to counteract that. Additionally, I think these businesses want to see Obama make this his priority in 2010, not just something he is for. I think they want to see him really put his passion behind this matter.
As the corporate leaders of our society, people whose companies’ logos probably mean a lot more to our society than the logos of the Republican and Democratic parties, these CEOs are showing politicians an example of what they should be. Congress and the whole of government should look up to these leaders and put on their green suits.
These leading businesses ask that the US government work with them to lead the world once again (something that hasn’t been happening much lately). “We are ready to compete and we urge you to act so that we can win the global race.”
Image Credit: ZachAncell via flickr under a CC license