The new year is bringing with it new obstacles to climate and energy legislation.
Congress will likely take on a "jobs bill", then finance reform, once the health care bill is done. Senator Harry Reid has said that climate and energy legislation will come to the Senate floor in the Spring, but there are concerns about support for that legislation.
This is partially due to concerns that supporting climate legislation will hurt moderate Democrats' chances in the 2010 midterm election.
Now more than ever, Members of Congress must remember a powerful truth behind the green jobs movement: the fight against global warming can revitalize the economy and create widespread economic opportunity. A climate and energy bill can be a jobs bill too.
Transitioning America to clean-energy will create millions of jobs. Congress can spark new investments in renewable energy like wind and solar, new investments in energy-efficiency, and new investments in whole new fields and technologies. These investments can be created through cap-and-trade, which makes polluters pay for their pollution. That money can then be cycled back into the pockets of consumers, and into job creation and training through clean-energy investments.
In the coming weeks and months, we've got to remind our Representatives that fighting global warming, if done right, will create jobs and opportunity for America's communities. Right now, what's right for the environment is also right for the economy. But we’re falling short of that promise if a "jobs bill" invests in highways but not energy-efficiency, and an “energy bill” fails to put a cap on global warming pollution.
With so many in Washington eyeing the 2010 elections, now is the time for voters to remind their representatives that we demand bold, comprehensive solutions that revitalize the economy and the planet.