Waiting for the Senate to move forward on climate and clean energy legislation seems like waiting for the Polar Express. A wide variety of parties from every corner of society seem to be getting anxious, though, and are pushing on Congress to get moving.
From rappers to Iraq veterans to the business community to the White House to winter sports communities to major Hollywood actors, people across the country are pushing for Congress to move in their own unique ways.
Business Community is Anxious for Legislation, and for Good Reason!
One of the leading private sector champions of such legislation, CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric (one of the country’s biggest gas and electric utilities) Peter Darbee clearly explains why businesses are getting so ancy and how the delay on his bill is holding up billions of dollars of private sector investment:
“This kind of private-sector activity would be the best kind of near-term stimulus for our economy — and the smartest long-term way to ensure that America remains competitive in global clean energy markets and secure against growing dependence on foreign energy sources….
Consider the potential capital spending that could be unleashed by the nation’s utility companies. Projections show that the industry needs to make outlays as high as $2 trillion over the next 20 years to modernize the nation’s electrical infrastructure.
Currently, though, the unanswered questions looming around energy and climate change policy are making it impossible, or at least unwise, to guess which clean energy and infrastructure choices will be the right ones. With billions of dollars at stake, many utilities are holding off as long as possible before committing themselves to massive, long-term investments. Many of the nation’s large manufacturers find themselves facing similar disincentives to build new facilities and fund research and development.”
As a result of this,
- “200 business leaders from Ohio, South Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, and 16 other states descended on Washington on February 3rd to advocate for congressional leadership on clean energy as a part of the We Can Lead partnership,” Sean Pool of American Progress reports;
- We Can Lead is also sponsoring a coast-to-coast virtual race, “Race for American Jobs and Clean Energy Leadership”, that Nike, Starbucks and Ceres just set off on Tuesday “in a bid to create momentum for passing U.S. climate change legislation;”
- over 80 CEOs of leading US businesses sent a joint letter to Obama and Congress to get moving on this legislation;
- another group consisting of 46 (mostly Fortune 500) companies with combined revenues of over $2 trillion and over 4 million employees, Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), has been putting the pressure on and very clearly states why: “We accept the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that the impacts are already being felt. Delaying action will increase both the risks and the costs;”
- a 31-member alliance between traditional environmental non-profits (i.e. Environmental Defense and World Resources Institute) and major companies from a wide range of sectors (i.e. insurance, mining, chemicals, automobile and energy companies Johnson & Johnson, Ford Motors, Caterpillar, NRG Energy, the Dow Chemical Company and others) called the United States Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP) launched a multimillion dollar campaign last month in support of strong climate and energy legislation. As Sean Pool reports, “Last year, US-CAP issued a Blueprint for Legislative Action that calls for a market price for carbon and incentives for clean energy and energy efficiency”
- American Business for Clean Energy (ABCE) is organizing a larger number of companies (currently around 2,244), small and large, who are actively engaged on the issue.
But a wide range of businesses are not the only supporters of the legislation.
Veterans of Iraq put a personal touch on this matter with a great and to-the-point video on the national security issues that could be addressed by a climate and clean energy bill.
To organize some of these veterans and help them make their point, the Clean Energy Works (CEW) coalition is organizing Operation Free – “a nationwide bus tour of veterans whose goal is to ‘secure America with clean energy’ in order to protect our national security,” Susan Lyon reports.
Obama & The White House
Of course, Obama is still pushing for the legislation, since it is currently one of our best efforts to address both climate change and the economic crisis we are still trying to climb out of. “I am very firm in my conviction that the country that leads the way in clean energy — solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal — that country is going to win the race in the 21st century global economy,” Obama told reporters again recently. “So we have to move in that direction.”
The White House continues to make the strong case that cap and trade legislation is a low-cost solution to what could end up being much more costly problems related to climate change.
Economists At E3 Network have made it clear for anyone who cares that addressing climate change can lead to net job growth in the United States whereas the costs of a warming Arctic alone would be staggering.
Hip Hop Caucus
As Susan Lyon reports, “The Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now! tour kicked off Thursday of last week to amplify the already deafening call for clean energy reform from people all around the country. Sponsored by the Hip Hop Caucus and the Repower America campaign of the Alliance for Climate Protection, the bus tour brings together faith, business, entertainment, and climate leaders in the name of clean energy reform…. Hip Hop Caucus, which was founded on September 11, 2004, is a grassroots non-profit that seeks to harness the power of the hip hop generation to empower youth and combat urban poverty”
Winter Sports Enthusiasts
A new organization named Protect Our Winters has just formed to show the losses to mountain communities, economies and jobs that rely on winter tourism (and Winter!) that will occur if climate change isn’t addressed.
Founder Jeremy Jones says,
“To us, climate change is a threat to our local economies, our jobs and the vitality of our unique mountain communities that draw millions of tourists each year who shop in our stores, ride our lifts, eat in our restaurants and support thousands of other small businesses.
It’s important that we come together as skiers, snowboarders, and winter enthusiasts to let the Senators know in these mountain regions that we support strong climate legislation and the move towards a new, clean energy economy.”
As reported previously, some major film and TV stars have been pushing on Congress to take some action, too. Of course, they know how to put a point across and send a message in a fun way. I recommend watching the video below if you missed it before.
If the push from all these different parties continues, and the public starts to push harder, hopefully it won’t be long before we get that critical bill through Congress.
Image Credit: Cayusa via flickr under a CC license
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