As the 110th Congress draws to a close House and Senate Democrats are ready to make a last ditch effort to push through an “energy independence” package of legislation aimed at ending U.S. dependence on foreign oil, protecting the environment and giving the ailing economy a much needed boost.
The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is taking the fight to the public via the Web. It will provide live and recorded video and news throughout the week as its legislative push moves forward. The legislative package includes a Renewable Electricity Standard and extending the investment tax credit for solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Some 2 million sustainable jobs may be created in two years with $100 billion worth of government investment in renewable energy and clean technology, according to a new report prepared by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute entitled, “Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy.”
Setting out on the road to a green recovery
Interested parties were able to tap into the Select Committee’s website yesterday and hear live testimony at a hearing entitled, “Investing in the Future: R&D needs to meet America’s energy and climate challenges.”
Federal government support and incentives have played and need to continue to play a central and critical role in guiding and coordinating social, economic, scientific and environmental programs, according to the Committee.
As stated on its website, “Investment in scientific and technological innovation has been critical to the growth of the U.S. economy. Much of the technology available today to help meet the energy and climate challenges confronting our nation is due to our previous investments in energy and climate research and development.”
The point is driven home by the conclusions drawn by the UMass research team in its “Green Recovery” report, which was prepared on behalf of the Center for American Progress.
Tax credits for private businesses and property owners carrying out energy efficiency building retrofits and renewable energy systems, government spending to expand mass transit, smart electric grids and public building retrofits, along with federal loan guarantees to help finance them would create four times as many jobs as investing an equal amount in the oil industry, triple the number of jobs paying more than $16 an hour, lower the employment rate from 5.7% to 4.4% and offset 800,000 jobs lost in the construction sector during the current downturn, according to a Greenbiz news report.
“We can be certain that the green recovery program will serve as a strong counter-force against pressures that are currently pushing unemployment up as well as more broadly increasing economic disparities. The green infrastructure investments proposed here will also generate significant long-term advances toward creating the clean energy economy we need,” according to the report.