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Cap-and-trade bill creates green jobs

"Cap-and-trade bill creates green jobsLegislation balances employment with warming fight(Via DetNews.com)The economic meltdown, energy crisis and global warming are interconnected,
and so are the solutions. By implementing the right policies, we can create
jobs, secure our energy independence and power capacity, and protect
natural resources for our future.But we need a long-term strategy that provides better energy choices by
driving investments to build, deliver and install clean energy solutions.
We need energy policies that will support both a U.S. auto industry and
other manufacturing and that are vibrant, competitive, technologically
advanced and an integral part of the solution to global warming.The cap-and-trade legislation will help take a balanced approach toward an
economy-wide program that prevents foreign competitors from getting
advantages over America companies. The nation should maintain a diverse
energy portfolio that includes renewable energy, fossil fuels, nuclear and
hydro electric. And solutions must protect individual industries and
geographical regions from being disproportionably or adversely affected.Such a strategy is the American Clean Energy & Security Act, which is in
the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will help to create millions
of new clean-energy jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, encourage
the development of cleaner, cheaper sources of energy, and dramatically cut
the carbon pollution that causes global warming.The historic changes in the legislation -- also known as the Waxman-Markey
bill -- come with risks, and we must work to balance bettering the
environment with job creation.The Michigan congressional delegation has been working hard to protect and
promote the auto industry, including garnering $50 billion in low-interest
loans for automakers to retool their production facilities. U.S. Rep. John
Dingell, D-Dearborn, deserves credit for leading the fight to secure 3
percent of the revenue from the auctioning of carbon emission permits,
worth an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion over the next 20 years, for
the auto industry to develop advanced technology vehicles.Two labor-environmental groups, the Blue Green Alliance and Apollo
Alliance, support this legislation.We have seen other examples of trade unions working to both protect jobs
and better our environment. Recently, union leaders stood with President
Barack Obama when he announced new fuel-economy and tailpipe emission
standards. This was truly an historic achievement, bringing together labor,
industry, environmentalists and government in support of a comprehensive
and consistent national policy.While the resulting standards are aggressive, calling for a 30 percent
improvement in fuel efficiency by 2016, they are achievable within the time
lines proposed. And they can help to spur a renaissance in the American
auto industry, creating new jobs as manufacturers restructure to build the
clean energy vehicles of the future.Creating a clean energy economy will be good for Michigan with the
potential of thousands of new, well-paying jobs. According to the Michigan
Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Development's ""green jobs"" report,
from 2005 to 2008, more than 2,500 green jobs were added to Michigan's
economy, a growth rate of 7.7 percent.Green jobs also pay well; 13 of the top 15 sectors of green employment have
weekly wages above the overall private sector weekly average. The Steel
Workers union reminds us that each wind turbine built contain 250 tons of
steel and thousands of machined parts.We have an opportunity to rebuild our economy with millions of clean energy
jobs, retool manufacturing, increase our energy independence and preserve
the planet for future generations. It is time for the leaders in Washington
to take the bold, forward-looking action that we need by passing the
Waxman-Markey bill.Labor voices Mark Gaffney is president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, a "