On July 8, 2009, the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted its fifth annual “Campus Progress National Conference” in Washington, D.C. The event was geared towards college progressives as an opportunity to “discuss the critical challenges [their] generation faces, to develop the ideas, networks, and innovations that will help [them] meet those challenges,” and more importantly, “Deliver Change.”
One of the keynote speakers was the Obama Administration’s very own “Green Jobs Czar,” Van Jones. He deemed the predominately college-age audience “Generation Obama.” He used his speech to praise Obama’s leadership, specifically in clean energy and energy independence. “[Obama] wants to make sure that you live in a world where the air is clean, where the water is clean, where the temperature is mild, where the wind turbines are turning, where the solar panels are up, and where the people are working,” Jones asserted.
Jones lambasted the opposition towards Obama’s green policies, specifically the opposition towards the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), a.k.a. the Climate Bill. “There are people in this town who are afraid of the future, who are afraid to let the next wave of energy technologies come forward, who are afraid to let your generation have the tools, the technology and the training to make America the world leader in clean energy,” said Jones.
Jones believes that the Republicans are afraid of technology and innovation, but they say they are afraid of the 17.9 percent unemployment rate in Spain—the supposed green jobs “model.”
“Your generation has changed the direction of the country,” Jones concluded. If the climate bill passes, the direction of our country will indeed be changed, but will it be changed for better or for worse?
In the past, Spain had been widely touted by President Obama as the “model” which we should follow in terms of government aid to renewable energy. However, a study by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, found that every ‘green job’ created through government aid in Spain since 1997 came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in ten of the newly created green jobs became a permanent job.
The Heritage Foundation made the following conclusions if the Climate Bill were to be passed in the Senate and approved by the President:
“The Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis found that, for the average year over the 2012-2035 timeline, job loss will be 1.1 million greater than the baseline assumptions. By 2035, there is a projected 2.5 million fewer jobs than without a cap-and-trade bill. The average GDP lost is $393 billion, hitting a high of $662 billion in 2035. From 2012 to 2035, the accumulated GDP lost is $9.4 trillion (in 2009 dollars). The average of the climate tax revenue—what the government gets to spend or give away—is $236 billion from 2012 through 2035 and adds up to $5.7 trillion in tax collections.”
According to the House Republicans the following policies in the Climate Bill will be “scary” for America:
• “The bill mandates a ‘cap’ on carbon emissions, while providing a percentage of carbon-emission ‘allowances’ to the electricity sector. These allowances will be arbitrarily allocated by the authors of the legislation and will decline each year until they are phased out in 2030. If the number of allowances do not cover the carbon emitted by coal plants, for example, they would either have to spend more money to retrofit their operations or purchase additional allowances from the federal government. This will cause electricity rates to go up as companies purchase the necessary amount of emission allowances. (H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Sec. 321, p. 536, and Sec. 116, p. 90.)”
• The bill “mandates a Renewable Electricity Standard, or RES, that requires retail electricity providers to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, like wind and solar energies. The utility companies must meet this new standard by 2020. (H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Sec. 101, p. 12.)”
The consequences of these policies alone will cause the utility bills of most Americans to, in the words of President Obama, “necessarily skyrocket.” The RES requires utility companies to “retrofit” their operations, costs that will be passed along to the consumer in the form of “skyrocketing” electricity rates. These consumers not only include the average American family but also American businesses. The increased costs to businesses will result in higher prices for goods and services at a time when the American people can least afford it. Circumstances such as these often lead to consumers spending less, which in turn leads to producers producing less, laying off employees, and/or moving production over seas.