Bright Future of Clean Energy Production and the Urgent Need to Address Climate Change

Garamendi-climate-change-speechBy Congressman John Garamendi

Editor’s note: Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03), a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, spoke on the House floor this week regarding the importance of clean energy production, which is spurring business development across the country, as well as playing a critical role in stabilizing global warming.

The Safe Climate Caucus members have made a commitment to talk every day on the House Floor about the urgent need to address climate change.

Video of the floor speech is available here.

Full text of the speech:

It’s been determined for the first time in at least 3 million years that the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is over 400 parts per million.

What does that mean? Climate change? Oh yes. If you were in Los Angeles this last couple of days you would have seen record high temperatures in early May. Reports are coming out about fire storms this summer season. We’ve seen super storm Sandy. And around this world we’ve seen many super environmental effects.

Scientists tell us that climate change will bring more severe weather events, and there will be disruptions in our food supply, like the current drought in the southwest.

400 parts per million. In the last 3 million years, the Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere has never been that high.

Now the good news is that this nation, the strongest economic nation in the world, despite the inability of this House to get things done, we can solve the climate change problem or at least lead, and in doing so we can put people back to work.

And here’s how it can be done.

Clean Energy. Clean energy is spurring business development across this country. And its future is very, very bright.

Not a month goes by without some entrepreneur, a scientist, an inventor, coming to me with another idea about how you can improve solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies.

One just came up the other day – a very inspired way of doing it. Perhaps two times more efficient, or one and a half times more efficient than the current solar panels.

Companies are investing. U.S. based venture capital investments in clean energy surged 30% from 5.1 billion in 2010 to 6.6 Billion in 2011, and the trend continues.

Jobs in the solar energy industry are in every state, and there are over 5,000 companies involved employing over 100,000 American workers.

And wind energy, which is big in my district, in Solano County, employs 75,000 people across this nation, and many of them my own constituents.

And there’s great potential out there.

As we move from coal and oil, the energy of the previous two centuries, to the clean energies of the future. We will see that in agriculture as we grow crops that can generate energy. We’ll see it in geothermal, we will see it in wave energy in our oceans. There’s enormous potential.

And the research that goes into this are also jobs.

Our colleagues on the majority side have attempted in the last year to reduce research for energy and agriculture. To what effect? Well maybe they want to go to 500 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

I don’t think Americans want to go there. I don’t think people of the world want to go there. I don’t think they want the calamity that will come.

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21 thoughts on “Bright Future of Clean Energy Production and the Urgent Need to Address Climate Change”

  1. Frankly

    Politicians picking winners and losers in the private economy is a bad idea. Politicians pursuing an agenda backed by questionable science is a bad idea and damages the reputation of science.

    With 18-14 year olds at 17% unemployment, the biggest threat to the global warming solution agenda is a groundswell of apathy from people lacking economic self-sufficiency. I think all politicians, especially those on the left, given their poor track record to date, should focus on producing jobs first, and then open the discussion about what we can do to incentivize alternative and sustainable energy consumption.

  2. Davis Progressive

    clean energy figures to fuel the local economy with good paying spin off business, jobs, and even some manufacturing. hardly seems like a waste to me.

  3. Davis Progressive

    What makes you think (a) they are at the expense of and (b) they would be more plentiful. to me, we are never going to compete against the cheap labor abroad, so the obvious area to invest in is high tech, green energy, type of jobs. so i don’t really get your objective here

  4. Don Shor

    Interestingly, Garamendi didn’t say anything about government involvement in clean energy. More federal dollars for research is fine with me. I agree that trying to incentivize ‘clean energy’ companies can be wasteful. I’d rather just see the DoE spend on research and development, and then hand off their results to private companies. Maybe make a little on royalties as they do so.

  5. Davis Progressive

    frankly: seems like a pretty random study – why did you post that particular study and what does your link have to do with what garamendi is talking about?

  6. medwoman

    Frankly

    “…
    The problem is the pursuit of these types of jobs at the expense of other types of jobs that would be more plentiful.”

    Wouldn’t that depend on the quality and effect of those “more plentiful” jobs ? For example, more well paid, effective teachers or nurses, your statement is probably accurate. More poorly paid fast food workers or convenience store sales personnel ( largely cigarette and junk food sales), probably not so accurate.

  7. rusty49

    Bonjour, I’m traveling France today and passed by many nuke plants. Ah, good clean energy like France has is what we need more of in America.

  8. Frankly

    [i]Wouldn’t that depend on the quality and effect of those “more plentiful” jobs ?[/i]

    Ah, the crappy job argument.

    Only if you are fine with high unemployment for those lacking the education or skills for “quality” jobs as you suggest.

    Correct me if I am wroing, but to follow the logic of your point, we should just discount the need for these jobs because you don’t see them as worthy? So then, what do we do with all the people in need of these low-skill crappy jobs? Maybe we should put all of them on public assistance since it is better than forcing them to work in such crappy jobs…

  9. jrberg

    Mr. Frankly – what basis do you have for labeling the scientific concensus “questionable science?” What is your scientific training that you can say this?

  10. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]Correct me if I am wroing, but to follow the logic of your point, we should just discount the need for these jobs because you don’t see them as worthy? [/quote]

    OK. I will correct you. Whether or not I think a job is “worthy” has absolutely nothing to do with it.
    Whether or not a job provides a wage that a person can live on and provides a positive for the society is highly relevant.

  11. Frankly

    medwoman,

    I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. So, because these jobs do not provide a wage that you think a person needs to live on, you don’t care if we have too few of them and higher unemployment?

    Forgive me, but your argument seems to only go have way to a conclusion. What do you suggest we do with all those unskilled people lacking jobs. You do know that many of them are from immiration from our southern border, right? Also, you do know that kids used to take those jobs as stepping stones to higher “quality” jobs, right?

    Do you think everyone can be a teacher or a doctor or a nurse?

    Should we just put all those that cannot qualify for these quality jobs on public assistance?

    Last I checked it was good for the soul, mind and body to work. Since these jobs don’t pay enough for your liking, is it better to have people sit on their ass getting gubment checks rather than work them?

    So many questions, so little time…

  12. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. So, because these jobs do not provide a wage that you think a person needs to live on, you don’t care if we have too few of them and higher unemployment?
    [/quote]

    You keep baiting your hook with words I have not spoken. I am sure you are aware by now that I am not going to jump for such bait. It is only in your concept of what “a liberal must prefer” that your will find any statement of mine that if slightly implies that collecting government ( yes, I don’t choose to use your “cute” designation)
    checks for nothing is better than having them work. I also think that you are probably aware that these baseless comments regarding what you think I must have meant regardless of what I said, have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    What I think, as I have stated many times, is what is of true value is a persons time and effort. So if a person can earn enough to live on in a “green job” that’s great. It is also great if they earn it by child care, sales, teaching, nursing…..whatever our society has determined is a constructive role or task that needs to be accomplished.
    What I do not believe is of value is to pretend that paying someone less than can be lived on is honoring either their work, or their time. Now I believe that it is up to you to tell me how it is better to have people working for less than subsistence wages regardless of whether that job is in a “green” or more “traditional” role ?

  13. Frankly

    Medwoman, as a doctor, you might not have experience similar to the rest of Americans. You toiled in school and then residency, and then started getting a big paycheck. Most of the rest of us workin’ stiffs have had to toil at low wages until we developed marketable skils that employers would pay more for. We started in entry-level jobs. These are the same jobs that get diminished as we pursue a gree economic agenda. Because there is only so much business-development money laying around. Only so much CRE propoerty that can be used for business activities. Only so much focus from those organizations promoting and growing economic activity. When you focus so heavily on green jobs, you exclued non-green jobs. For all of these reasons, by focusing on green jobs you will reduce the number of jobs for low-skilled workers.

    Your desire that all people be paid the same hourly rate with some “effort” modifyer is pie-in-the-sky and completely fanciful. You’ve got nothing in the way of explanations for what, when, how, where, etc. I can’t find a single article or study on this approach to labor compensation in our economy or any other economy.

    People pay for value. The cost of value is also impacted by supply and demand. We have a big supply of low-skilled and young entry-level workers in this county. What are you going to do about them? Their marketable labor value is zero if there are no jobs they can do.

  14. medwoman

    Frankly

    [quote]Your desire that all people be paid the same hourly rate with some “effort” modifyer is pie-in-the-sky and completely fanciful. You’ve got nothing in the way of explanations for what, when, how, where, etc. I can’t find a single article or study on this approach to labor compensation in our economy or any other economy.
    [/quote]

    What ever happened to your belief in innovation. Before the airplane was invented, there were no credible references to men flying. Before a man believed, without articles to prove it that invisible organisms caused disease, there were not antibiotics. The fact that someone foresaw a different way of doing things without
    articles or studies to back their position has been a major driver of improvements in how people live.
    This has a couple of points of relevance to the current conversation.

    1) [quote]When you focus so heavily on green jobs, you exclued non-green jobs. For all of these reasons, by focusing on green jobs you will reduce the number of jobs for low-skilled workers. [/quote]

    The opposite is also true. If you maintain your focus on non-green jobs, you in effect reduce the number of
    green jobs. Our government supports both directly and indirectly many types of enterprise other than “green jobs” as I am sure you are more aware than I. Farm subsidies and low interest bank loans come readily to mind for me. Somehow, certain interests only seem to complain when money has gone to “green” jobs, but remain quite quiet about government subsidization of other interests. Perhaps you could explain this to me.

    2) Medwoman, as a doctor, you might not have experience similar to the rest of Americans. You toiled in school and then residency, and then started getting a big paycheck. Most of the rest of us workin’ stiffs have had to toil at low wages until we developed marketable skils that employers would pay more for. We started in entry-level jobs. These are the same jobs that get diminished as we pursue a gree economic agenda.

    I have two comments about this. The first is that you seem to see a difference between my having supported myself from age 18 until I was 36 when I started getting my “big paycheck” and the “rest of us workin’ stiffs have had to toil at low wages until we developed marketable skills that employers would pay more for.” I fail to see a difference between me working as a clerk, teachers aide, school bus driver, nursing assistant, tutor,
    and lecturer while working my way through school ( all jobs I held) and “you workin stiffs. ” Looks the same to me. Perhaps you can explain the fine points of how my labor differed from yours ?

    However, this precisely illustrates my point. I can envision a society that balances its compensation and reduces the disparity between its most wealthy and its least wealth citizens by compensation for time instead of compensation for some arbitrarily decided upon concept of “value”. And there is certainly evidence that other countries have chosen a route more similar to that than to ours. Check out for example the difference in wealth distribution between Iceland and the United States as one example. It is simply not true that there are not other countries that have chosen a more egalitarian route than has been chosen by the United States. My view is that it is only “pie in the sky” to anticipate that such a change could occur over night. To believe that we can create virtually anything that we can conceive given time and enough ingenuity is not “pie in the sky”. It has been demonstrated again and again throughout human history.

  15. Frankly

    medwoman, most of those “working-stiff” jobs you worked before you became a doctor required a level of skill/education, and all of them appear to be public-sector jobs. Public-sector jobs are funded by the tax-paying private economy. You cannot expect the working population to all follow your career path because there are not enough of those jobs, and more importantly, they need taxable working-stiffs in the private sector to exist at all.

    People need jobs. We don’t need other people limiting the types of jobs available. Let the free economy be free and it will produce the jobs it needs, and people can trade the value of their labor for pay. If green makes business sense, there will be green jobs.

  16. medwoman

    Frankly

    Well, as I have said to you before, appearances can be deceiving. My jobs as a clerk/receptionist, teacher’s aide, tutor, school bus driver and two stints as a nurse’s aide all were private sector jobs. Only my teaching assistant job at UCD was public sector. I am sorry to have to disappoint you by varying from your preconceived notion of how a “liberal” must have gotten ahead.

    I agree that people need jobs. They need jobs that provide an adequate income to live on. If the free economy provided adequately for everyone willing to work, I would agree with you. The fact is that people need jobs that allow them to make enough to provide for themselves and their families. That is simply not the case and to argue differently is to simply close your eyes to the fate of people who have not been as successful as you. Most of the poor are working poor, not lazy bums or welfare queens of characterization fame.

  17. Frankly

    So, medwoman, how much should a job pay to get your support as being worthy of valuing?

    Note that I pay $11 per hour for interns that I hire. Of course they can make more as they learn new skills, take on new responsibilities and increase their value to my organization. What if my company was a manufacturer not in the green industry and I hired young people out of school to start working at $12 per hour? Davis might shun me and prevent me from opening due to demands that the limited availability of commercial real estate be reserved for those more left-valued green industry businesses. Of course, those businesses would have few $12 per hours manufacturing jobs. So, instead of making $12 per hour, the Davis residents needing that $12 per hour job would get $0 per hour… and it appears that you are just fine with that.

    Here is the piece of logic that you are just flat ignoring. People that stay stuck in a $11 or $12 per hour job are likely in need of a much different type of help than liberals handing them free stuff to compensate for their poor economic state. And demanding that companies pay a “living wage” is just another type of that tax-and-give-away-free-stuff standards that liberals love. One thing they need is education. Good education. Not crappy education that rejects the goal of producing economic self-sufficient adults.

    But lower wages are paid to those with lower skills. Increasing skills will lead to greater value to employers and hence higher wages. One of the best ways to increase skills is to actually do the work. Many of my experienced professional employees make well into six figures annually. But most of them started at that $11 per hour job. It can take 10 or more years of working to reach the top level of pay. The same is true for almost all business. Eliminate those low paying entry-level jobs and people have no way top start building any economic self-sufficient life. Then they have to vote Democrat to get that free stuff.

  18. medwoman

    Frankly

    What you are repeatedly choosing to ignore, is that I have said absolutely nothing about the government giving anyone anything for nothing. This is the myth with which you continue to “bait your hook”. Please, quote even one statement of mine that I believe that the government should give free handouts ( except to needy children).

    What I believe is that everyone who is functioning in a way that we ( not I as an individual), as a society claim to value should be compensated for their role in performing that function. So, since we want students to stay in school, we should reward them, not charge them for doing so. If we want children raised in productive ways instead of plunked in from of televisions, we should pay their caretakers a living wage to care for them.
    If we want more people to go into trades, we should compensate them adequately for staying within programs that allow them to learn the skills necessary for that trade.

    Should we reward an alcoholic or drug addict for staying at home and indulging in their habit ? In my opinion no.But if we want them off the drug, we should reward them for the steps necessary to get off, not punish them for the mistakes that got them there in the first place.

    Should we reward teenage girls and boys for unintended pregnancies ? In my opinion no. What we should be doing, as Rich has pointed out with regard to girls, is providing a financial incentive for every year in which they do not become pregnant.

    I would like to see us move the direction of becoming a rewards based society with the rewards ( both social and economic ) being awarded for positive behaviors and positive use of time rather than the punitive use of punishment when someone fails to meet positive behavior standards.

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