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JOBS: Clean energy untapped gold mine

| June 27, 2010 10:00 PM

The Chinese government is spending $9 billion a month deploying wind, solar and other clean energy technologies (The Climate War, pg. 434).  That’s an enormous amount of money and a lot of jobs.

Why would China spend that kind of money on clean energy?  Because they know that their future, and the world’s, is in clean energy. Not dirty fossil fuels.

With our urgent need for jobs, how can the U.S. compete with China and the rest of the world for those jobs? By creating a market for our businesses to invest in clean energy technologies.  How?  By setting a legal limit on how many tons of carbon can be emitted into the air each year.  Capital would then flow to the most effective, lowest-cost technologies for emissions reduction. 

As the limit is ratcheted down over time to further clean the air, the market would continue to figure out how to meet it.  No governmental interference; it just sets the limit.

This mechanism has already been a huge success with acid rain: cutting sulfur dioxide pollution by more than 50% at an annual cost of $3 billion, much less than industry warned.  The result: $125 billion in annual benefits in the U.S. and Canada, restoring forests and lakes and reducing human mortality.  It was such a success — and affordable — that President George W. Bush increased the reduction target by an additional 70% in 2001 (The Climate War, pg. 80).

Let’s create millions of clean energy jobs that same way.

BILL IRVING

Hayden

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