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Clean energy is the best option for U.S.

"Clean energy is the best option for U.S.(By Carl Pope via the San Francisco Cronicle)Global warming and unsustainable energy dependence are the foremost
environmental issues of our time; they are also the signature economic
issues of our day, providing enormous risks to future economic growth and
unparalleled opportunities to create jobs and launch a different model of
economic development.America's energy future must create millions of new jobs; reduce our
dependence on oil; shift American energy production toward cleaner, cheaper
sources like wind and solar; reduce global warming pollution; and protect
the planet for our children and grandchildren.In many places, a shift to wind energy is well under way. An American Wind
Energy Association report shows that last year more than 8,000 megawatts of
new generating capacity was added - that's 42 percent of all the new
power-producing capacity in the United States and the equivalent of seven
new large coal plants. Employing more than 85,000 people, up from 50,000 a
year ago, the wind industry continues to grow.The American Solar Energy Society reports that in 2007, renewable energy
and energy efficiency provided more than 9 million jobs and $1.045 billion
in revenue in the United States - and that as many as 37 million jobs can
be generated by the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in
the country by 2030. This is more than 17 percent of all anticipated U.S.
employment.Americans want clean energy - and they want clean cars, too. Virtually
every major auto manufacturer now produces hybrid vehicles, and in 2005-08,
more than 1 million hybrid vehicles were sold in the United States.A clean-energy economy will also revitalize the now-languishing U.S.
manufacturing sector, and it will create the industries of tomorrow. These
new clean-energy jobs - installing solar panels, renovating buildings to
make them more energy efficient, constructing the Smart Grid - are jobs
that can't be outsourced.The opportunities abound not just for clean-energy jobs but also for
consumer savings. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis of
a renewable electricity standard, getting 25 percent of our electricity
from renewable resources will save consumers $64.3 billion in lower
electricity and natural gas bills. Energy-efficient buildings will save
families and businesses money on their energy bills.But right now, we are walking a precipitous line. As the clean-energy bill
is being debated now in the House of Representatives, we are watching the
usual suspects try to weaken it.Big Oil, Big Coal and dirty-power companies are extracting a steep price at
the expense of renewable energy, energy efficiency and other provisions
critical to boosting the economy and protecting both the planet and the
public interest.Instead, we should be shifting U.S. energy production toward clean energy
sources much more quickly than business as usual. This is in order to
ensure strong growth in the clean-energy industries and clean-energy jobs
that are key to solving both our environmental and our economic crises.Polluters must pay for their global warming pollution - and those funds
should spur investments in clean energy; protect consumers, wildlife and
vulnerable communities; and promote job creation rather than rewarding the
polluters.America's clean-energy future should not only benefit the biggest
companies, but it should offer opportunities to people from all
communities. The scope and scale of the work to be done on clean energy and
global warming will provide our country with a historic opportunity to set
a new urban and rural social agenda to bring jobs and opportunity to
marginalized communities.Now is the time to work together on a clean-energy economy. President Obama
is already building coalitions with groups that have not always seen
eye-to-eye. We saw that a few weeks ago when he announced new vehicle
fuel-economy and emissions standards, "