What do Nike, Symantec, eBay, Aspen Skiing Company, Clif Bar & Company, Seventh Generation, Levi Strauss and Co., and Starbucks have in common? They are all members of BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) and signatories of a recent full page ad in the Wall Street Journal showing business support for U.S. action on climate change and clean energy legislation this year.
Dear President Obama and Members of Congress
The ad, addressed to Obama and members of Congress, stresses, “We need you to swiftly enact comprehensive legislation that will cut carbon pollution and create an economy-wide cap and trade program.” While not named in the ad, they are referring to the current cap-and-trade plan sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
It argues that such legislation will drive investment into cost-saving, energy saving technologies, create the next wave of jobs in the new energy economy, catalyze investment in clean-energy technologies and increase business productivity.
Will it Create Jobs or Kill Jobs?
The ad is in part a response to a National Association of Manufacturers report that concludes that a cap-and-trade plan would result in a net loss of 3.2 million U.S. jobs by 2030 and shrink household purchasing power by more than $2,100.
But in a new non-partisan analysis, the Environmental Protection Agency finds the opposite is true–GDP would increase by more than $5.1 trillion by 2030 and costs to families would be no more than $140 per year.
Eight major electric utilities – National Grid in the Northeast, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), New Jersey’s PSEG, Chicago-based Exelon, nationwide provider NRG Energy, mid-Atlantic and Midwestern operator Duke Energy, Washington State’s Avista and Austin Energy of Texas – also signed.
U.S. is Falling Behind
The ad stresses the risk that the U.S. is falling behind other countries in developing the clean energy technologies that will drive the emerging low-carbon global economy, which will be worth trillions of dollars in the years ahead. Germany, Japan and China have taken the international lead in the solar energy market; and that 25 of the world’s top 30 solar, wind and advanced battery manufacturers are now located outside the United States.
The ad concludes, “Climate and energy legislation that caps carbon and supports clean energy will keep the inventions here, the companies here, and the newly-created jobs in engineering, manufacturing and installation here in the U.S. The time has come to build this future. It is time for the Administration and Congress to lead the way.”
Deborah Fleischer is the founder and president of Green Impact, providing strategic environmental consulting services to mid-sized companies and NGOs who want to launch a new green initiative or cross-sector collaboration, but lack the in-house capacity to get it up and running. She brings expertise in sustainability strategy, program development, stakeholder partnerships and written communications.