Today, Senator Boxer and I introduced our "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" that aims to put Americans back in charge of our energy future and our security – doing nothing less than reinventing the way America produces and uses energy. At the same time, it will help to put millions of Americans back to work, protect our children’s health and our environment, invest in homegrown innovation, and create a true 21st century economy.
After decades of debate, years of avoiding the challenge, billions spent on the status quo keeping us stuck in the past, it’s time for us to seize control of our energy future, our planet’s future, our security future, and our economic future.
We send a billion dollars a day overseas to feed our addiction to oil. Our economy is at the mercy of fluctuations in the price of a resource we don’t control. And scientists and generals warn that the climate change caused by carbon pollution threatens our health, our environment and our security.
Our bill sets carbon pollution reduction targets, creates powerful new incentives for companies to find ways to meet them, and makes historic new investments in technology and efficiency that will improve every sector of our energy economy.
Four points I want to emphasize:
First,I don’t want to pass over efficiency too quickly. It’s often overlooked as a key part of the mix, but it’s enormously important. Because the cheapest and cleanest kilowatt of energy is the one you never use. We can make enormous strides in combating carbon pollution simply by making our energy use more efficient, and this bill responds to that by funding efficiency programs across the country and up and down our economy.
Second, our bill leverages the biggest carbon polluters and makes it clear it’s time to clean up their act. Following on the bipartisan success at cleaning up acid rain, it creates a carbon pollution reduction system where those who clean up the quickest reap the rewards, while those who are slow to adjust need to pay to keep polluting. It’s fair, and it works.
Third, we also invest in the new technologies that will power the world in the 21st century. A dollar invested in clean energy creates four times as many jobs as a dollar invested in the old energy. We’re talking about jobs that can’t be outsourced and are available to workers of all educational background in every region of our country.
Lastly, none of this will be easy. For too long, big oil lobbyists and special interests have stood between us and our goals. And these forces will not quietly give up the comforts of the way business has been done for decades.
In the last few months, we’ve seen that the forces resisting change will say nearly anything and will spread the most obvious and egregious lies to try to derail progress. Please be ready to join with us to rebut the fears ans smears we know all too well will be heading in our direction. No sooner did we announce our bill than the other side scheduled a press conference to label and distort.
But know this - every day, I’ll be fighting to make sure people know the truth, know the danger of doing nothing, but also understand the tremendous opportunity of meeting this challenge.
And I’ll need your help. You need to raise your voice to make sure that we build the future that we need. Ted Kennedy taught me that the nature of good legislating requires perseverance.
Today is only the latest round in this fight. There are many rounds ahead. But the time has come to put America back in control of our energy future and make real progress reducing the carbon pollution that threatens us all.
update: Just wanted to make sure you all saw the link to all the documents around this bill – bill summary, explanation of each section, the bill itself. It’s here: LINK.