Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Historic Opportunities in the Green Economy

We have the means to reinvigorate the economy, create millions of jobs, increase energy security and open up vast new exports markets. If we are to keep carbon concentrations below 450ppm, we can anticipate clean energy investments exceeding $13 trillion over the next two decades. These investments lower energy costs and directly benefit manufacturers of cleaner cars, cleaner fuels, cleaner power and companies involved in improving industrial, power plant, and building efficiency.

While the clean energy industry offers significant growth opportunities, to capitalize on this historic opportunity we need comprehensive energy and climate legislation. Such legislation can create 1.9 million new clean energy jobs in the US by 2020. Globally the new green economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs over the next two decades.

The hybrid and electric vehicle market exemplifies this growth opportunity. With policies that cut emissions in half, the market for hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars is expected to grow substantially over the next two decades as global demand for these vehicles is expected to reach nearly 800 million units.

To maximized the growth of the green economy we need to invest in efficiency and clean energy deployment, we must also require utilities to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

Clean energy and climate legislation is not just smart business policy it is also smart energy security policy. The US could cut its consumption of foreign oil by 30 percent over the next two decades. This would free up trillions of dollars that could be reinvested in the new energy economy.

Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation can create both the sustained incentives and long-term price signals. This would maximize energy efficiency and commercialize innovations in renewable technologies. However, to keep emissions down we must put caps on GHGs.

Energy and climate legislation will provide jobs, enhanced energy independence and competitiveness. But to get there we must support political leaderships that see the value of the new energy economy.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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