The July 3rd editorial “A Carbonated Congress” misses several major points while attempting to be tongue-in-cheek. The current American Clean Energy and Security Act or ACES House bill offers a market and incentive-based solution to a very difficult national and world problem. Yes, the bill is not perfect, but it is a pivotal first step. But let’s cut to the chase: ACES offers the best possible solution today—a compromise between a very diverse group of advocates and lawmakers. And why is the WSJ, the market system’s daily manifesto, opposing a market-based system of carbon credits?
This House bill makes cap-and-trade a reality in the US. Whether carbon credits are ultimately auctioned or not, the ACES bill takes a huge step forward by creating an incentive based market system to curb carbon emissions over time. Even skeptics have to admit the successes of equivalent cap trade systems like acid-rain-causing pollutants and fishing permits. Frankly, I don’t see any other viable options on the table to develop alternative forms of energy and finding solutions to climate change.
The ACES bill will create green jobs. With a 9.5% unemployment rate these jobs are necessary for recovering economic competitiveness. Clean energy jobs and green jobs are local; they can’t be outsourced; and they will help in creating real alternatives to dirty energy. These investments in all our communities will make a difference in the economy and in the environment. ACES now includes $860 million in funding for green jobs training programs, and it ensures local access to quality jobs in green construction. This puts our communities on a pathway from poverty to steady careers.
And lastly, our Planet is in jeopardy. It’s very easy to disregard our impending environmental problems because we are an entitlement society that enjoys now and pays later. But after sucking the resources out of the world since the beginning of the industrial revolution with little regard to environmental cost (which often is never quantified), you better believe there’s a cost to be paid. Now we are facing the first of many accumulated bills to achieve environmental security. So to use a Bushism, you are either with Earth or against Earth.
Given that there is such a diverse spectrum of opinion on this subject, who can provide us with real, workable solutions? At this juncture when we are at the brink of environmental no-return with regards to human survival (and this is no hyperbole), I believe we need leadership to find solutions. So if it’s the Democratic, Republican, or the polka dot party, or a fragile coalition of them, we need our leaders to push for realistic solutions. At this crucial juncture, the ACES bill is a reasonable first step towards climate change, clean energy jobs creation, and energy diversification. And there remains plenty of work to be done to find more solutions in the Senate and when the bill is reconciled in conference.
But for now, it’s ACES in the hole. America will have a chance at new forms of energy and curbing climate change, and our communities will get significant investments to create clean energy jobs. Now if that’s ‘corporate welfare’, I’ll take it.
National Program Coordinator
& Latino Green Jobs Project Manager
(a national, nonpartisan Latino voter empowerment organization)
democraciausa.org / goverdeahora.org