Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center
Across the country, Americans are hurting. From the big cities of the coasts to the industrial heartland to our rural communities, the slumping economy is taking its toll in shuttered businesses, disappearing jobs, bankruptcies, foreclosures and an increased sense of anxiety about our collective future.
To revive the American dream, we need to rebuild our economy on a sound foundation – one that puts people back to work, contributes to long-term prosperity, rebuilds our communities, and protects our environment.
There is one path to a renewed economy that achieves all of those goals – one that is increasingly recognized by opinion leaders, politicians, investors and workers as our best chance to work our way out of our current economic troubles, while building a stronger, more self-reliant and environmentally responsible America.
It is the path to a clean energy future.
Clean energy in America is not some distant dream. We have the technology, the tools and the know-how to use energy more wisely and to get more of our energy from clean, renewable sources. What’s more, clean energy can be produced right here at home, creating new jobs in all sectors of the nation’s economy – including many jobs that can never be outsourced.
Americans are already beginning to see the benefits of clean energy in their local economies. Laid-off workers in the nation’s “Rust Belt” are getting back to work building wind turbines and solar cells; farmers in the Midwest are supplementing their incomes with royalties from wind farms; residents of economically distressed inner cities are learning how to install solar panels and weatherize homes for greater energy efficiency.
Every part of the country has the opportunity to benefit from a transition to a new energy future.
But to turn this trickle of green jobs into a torrent of new economic opportunities, we need to act boldly – and fast. With a strong policy commitment to clean energy and the investment to match, we can:
• Embrace a future of clean power by making our economy more energy-efficient and getting 100 percent of our electricity from clean, renewable sources.
• Achieve energy independence, by cutting our consumption of oil in half – nearly as much as we currently import from all other nations.
• Speed economic recovery and create millions of new jobs in dozens of different occupations in every part of the country.
This report lays out a blueprint for how we can repower America for the 21st century, cleaning our environment while revitalizing our economy. A new president and a new Congress create a golden opportunity to chart a new future for America. The time to begin is now.