Business Executives Press Washington for Climate Action, Clean Energy Investment
Meetings last week between business executives and White House officials and legislators provided a chance for some of the nation's leading businesses to make a sound case for comprehensive climate and energy legislation, and a federal cap on emissions.
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Some 159 executives from companies ranging from Duke Energy to Clif Bars to Levi Strauss were in DC to lobby Capitol Hill and the White House for action. "Ceres and the Clean Economy Network organized this to provide a voice for the businesses that support the transition to a clean energy economy,” said Sam Haswell, communications director for the Apollo Alliance, which helped recruit businesses for the event. “They expressed support for the American Clean Energy and Security Act,” which the House passed in June.
“We’re trying to make sure business has a voice in the debate, to show how important this is to both the environment and the economy,” Haswell said. “The message is that there are a lot of businesses that will expand and hire new workers in clean energy jobs.”
Passing legislation would also send a clear signal to both U.S. clean-energy companies and investors that investing in green jobs is safe, as Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke told the group. “This will send a surefire market signal to every entrepreneur and business in America that it’s safe and profitable to make long-term investments in clean energy,” he said. “Right now, too many potential clean energy investors are sitting on the sideline because there is no certainty in the marketplace.”
During his talk with the executives, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Energy Department will provide up to $750 million from the stimulus package toward the development of renewable energy projects. The funding will cover the cost of loan guarantees, which could support as much as $4 billion to $8 billion in loans for projects in the private sector.
“The cost of not doing something is we will lose the chance to lead in this next Industrial Revolution,” Chu said.
- Suzanne Bopp