Progressive Leaders Release Plan for U.S. Clean Economy Leadership

FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
CONTACTS:

  • Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916
  • Anne Shoup, ashoup@americanprogress.org, 202-481-7146
  • Isaiah J. Poole, ipoole@ourfuture.org, 202-587-1649

Sen. Sherrod Brown Highlights New Report That Offers Bold Strategy to Lead 21st-Century Green Industrial Transformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, today joined leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance, the Institute for America’s Future and the Center for American Progress to release a new report that offers a bold strategy to lead a 21st-century green industrial transformation.

The report, “The Green Industrial Revolution and the United States: In the Clean Energy Race, Is the United States a Leader or a Luddite?,” proposes maximizing the national strength of U.S. manufacturing by employing a region-focused strategy for clean energy manufacturing.

“We need solutions now to ensure that America competes at the highest level of the global clean energy manufacturing sectors,” said Sen. Brown. “This report is a valuable tool to help ensure that we take advantage of the strengths of our country, like our regional diversity and our ability to innovate at all levels of government. Manufacturing made up 15 percent of all of the green jobs in the Bureau of Labor Statistics green jobs survey in 2011. We need to capitalize on America’s competitive advantages—like our skilled workforce that lends itself to advanced manufacturing—to ensure a vibrant domestic clean energy manufacturing base.”

In 2012, according to the Pew Charitable Trust’s ranking of global clean energy, China took the top spot in clean energy development, leading in financing for solar, wind and other renewables. The United States led all nations in biofuel technologies, energy efficiency, and continued its leadership in venture capital investment. America also excelled in research and development, with public and private R&D accounting for 29 percent of the world total that year.

But now key tax and spending programs are facing cutbacks or termination at the federal level. To succeed, the U.S. should develop a clear strategy and stick to it.

“The green industrial revolution has already begun. It will inescapably be a leading source of jobs, innovation and dynamism in the next decades. The countries that forge the lead here will reap the benefits in good jobs, expanding markets and global leadership against the threats already being posed by catastrophic climate changes,” said Robert Borosage, Founder and President of the Institute for America’s Future and a member of the BlueGreen Alliance Advisory Board. “This report outlines a strategy that builds on America’s strengths—combining a regional approach with proactive national policies that provides a sensible way forward.”

The report examines the increasing efforts of China and other economic powers to capture clean economy jobs, highlighting their long-term, top-down approach.

“We’ve seen great clean energy successes here at the national level in the U.S.—including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—but our real strength will come from bottom-up regional action,” said Kate Gordon, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and board member of the Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Energy is an inherently regional issue, and a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. It’s time for Washington to step up and promote regional clean energy strategies as part of an overall national commitment to taking action on climate change.”

Recognizing the importance of regional differences in moving to cleaner energy to address climate change and to ensure that the energy supply in the U.S. is diversified, the report argues for using economic development principles and funding through the U.S. Department of Commerce—utilizing its existing infrastructure—to achieve those goals.

“Backward-looking ideologues have pitted good jobs against the environment for far too long. Even some of their erstwhile allies in the energy sector are waking up to the reality that we need a different set of policies to address the undeniable reality of climate change,” said Derek Pugh, co-author and Senior Fellow at Campaign for America’s Future. “This report adds to the case for a green industrial revolution in which we rebuild our decaying infrastructure, capture new markets and narrow our trade deficit, and provide skilled jobs at good wages for millions of unemployed and underemployed people.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy.

The Institute for America’s Future is a center of nonpartisan research and education devoted to shaping a compelling progressive agenda and message.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just, and free America that ensures opportunity for all.