Labor and environmental groups used to be on opposite sides. However, those days are long gone, according to a recent report, High Road or Low Road: Job Quality in the New Green Economy. The report mentions the 2004 creation of an alliance of labor, environmental groups, business, and social justice leaders called Apollo Alliance. The same year Apollo Alliance was formed it released a report that called for a ten-year investment in a “clean energy, good jobs” economy.
In December, the Apollo Alliance released its recommendations for an economic recovery act, calling it the Apollo Economic Recovery Act (AERA). The Alliance released the Act in response to Obama’s call a week before for a “big stimulus package.”
The Alliance responded positively to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed into law by Obama in February. Phil Angelides, chairman of the Alliance, called the ARRA the “largest investment in clean energy development in our history.” Angelides went on to say that it “represents the focused work of labor, business, environmental and social justice organizations who developed a clear strategy about where the nation needed to go, and worked together to achieve it.”
Comparison between ARRA and AERA
How does Obama’s ARRA stack up with the Alliance’s AERA? The AERA called for a $50 billion investment in the clean energy/green jobs secgtor, which would save two million jobs. The ARRA, $787 in total, more than doubles it with a $110 billion investment in the clean energy/green jobs sector, which will create or save 3.5 million jobs.
An article published in February by the Apollo News Service stated that the “clean energy provisions” in ARRA “reflect the sound idea first introduced by the Apollo Alliance” when it was launched. The article points out that many provisions in ARRA are “consistent” with recommendations Apollo made in 2008 reports.
A comparison of several investment areas:
1. Energy efficiency: ARRA invests a total of $37.99 billion compared to AERA’s $7 billion.
2. Renewable energy: ARRA invests a total of $ 6.3 billion. AERA called for the Production and Investment Tax Credits to be fixed by making them refundable through 2009, or allow credits to offset the taxes paid over the last ten years.
3. Grid upgrades: ARRA invests $10.9 billion in smart grid programs, including $4.5 billion for the Smart Grid Investment Program. AERA called for $10 billion to upgrade the transmission grid, and $1 billion for smart grid and smart metering demonstration projects.
4. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS): ARRA invests $3.4 for CCS demonstration projects, and provides the credit of $20 per ton of carbon captured and stored. AERA called for $1 billion to be invested in CCS demonstration projects.
5. Public transit: ARRA invests $17.7 billion in public transit, including Amtrak and high speed rail. AERA called for a $6 billion investment in “ready-to-go transit projects.”
6. Alternative fuel vehicles: ARRA invests a total of $1.3 billion to replace government (cities, state, and federal) vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles, while AERA called for $8 billion to be invested
7. R&D: ARRA invests $1.6 billion in Department of Energy research for basic energy sciences, $2.5 billion in DOE research in energy efficiency and renewable energy. AERA called for $2 billion.