April 01, 2009
Labor Unions and Environmental Groups Join to Endorse Climate Change Legislation
by Robert Kropp
The Blue Green Alliance announces support for a cap-and-trade system and a renewable electricity
standard included in proposed Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation.
Members of the Blue Green Alliance,
a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations, released its outline
of goals for climate change legislation in 2009 that emphasizes the
importance of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system in which allowances should be auctioned or used
for public purposes, while avoiding windfall profits.
The Alliance, which was founded in 2006 by the United
Steelworkers Union and the Sierra Club and has since grown to include four labor unions and two
environmental organizations, also supports a reduction of US emissions by at least 80% from 1990
levels by 2050, as well as efforts to forge a global emissions reduction treaty to reduce worldwide
emissions by 50% by 2050.
Noting that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
provides "a meaningful down payment on investments in the green economy," the Alliance argues for
investment in a clean energy economy at a scale necessary to convert the US to renewable energy and
revitalize the country's existing manufacturing capacity.
To that end, the Alliance also
announced its support for the Waxman-Markey
clean energy legislation which was released in draft form on March 31 by the US House Committee
on Energy and Commerce. A recent analys
is by the Union of Concerned Scientists
(UCS) found that a renewable electricity standard such as that proposed by Waxman-Markey, in
which utilities would be required to obtain 25% of electricity from renewable energy sources by
2025, would create 297,000 new domestic jobs and save consumers $64.3 billion in lower electricity
and natural gas bills.
According to David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green
Alliance, the statement by the Alliance represents the first time that "a substantial number of
unions representing workers across a broad section of the American economy have endorsed the
principle that the way out of our current economic turmoil is through major investments in solving
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