Because Congress is considering a third coronavirus aid package, specifically focused on economic stimulus in addition to the billions already allocated as part of a major coronavirus emergency aid package for healthcare and security measures passed last week, we believe it is important that our collective response to the economic crisis triggered by this global pandemic is comprehensive and strengthens the American economy with a long-term framework built on a clean energy economy.Susan Glickman, Kate Tracy, and Stan Cross | March 23, 2020
Right now, members of the United States Congress are debating and discussing exactly how to speed economic recovery funds to the thousands of Americans working in sectors negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. These recovery bills are in addition to the billions already allocated by Congress last week as part of a major coronavirus emergency aid package.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, led by committee chair Rep. Kathy Castor, are calling for measures to protect American jobs in the clean energy sector as part of the disaster response.
On Friday, nine Members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis sent a letter to key lawmakers calling on them not to trade one crisis for another; and urging them to use stimulus dollars to accelerate the clean energy economy. Committee member signatories, including Chair Rep. Kathy Castor (FL), want a COVID-19 response package that protects and provides quality jobs (including through investments in public transit and electric vehicles), and simultaneously supports the energy sectors. These tools, they say, can strengthen our nation’s economic and energy security AND confront climate impacts such as extreme weather, sea-level rise, and increasing temperatures that threaten our livelihoods and public health.
The letter stated, “In responding to this crisis, we must be careful not to exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis. We must strongly oppose misguided or surreptitious attempts to boost polluters at the expense of the public health. Instead, we should look for solutions that can also move us toward a clean energy economy and to a healthier, stronger and more just America.”
Clean energy jobs are good-paying domestic jobs in technologies such as solar, wind, electric vehicles, and energy storage. Investing in clean energy infrastructure and technologies will create and protect these jobs, make America more economically stable and energy secure, and lower emissions that contributes to climate change.
The letter also points out for reference that ”[a]t the end of 2018, nearly 3.3 million Americans had clean energy jobs in every state in the country. The clean energy sector has driven $50 billion in annual investments in each of the last five years.”
Investing stimulus dollars in clean energy jobs will help drive economic recovery across the country. Our response to the current economic crisis triggered by a global pandemic gives us a unique opportunity to rescue the American economy while laying the groundwork for the clean energy future.