Senator Sherrod Brown: Climate Change is About Jobs

December 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Over lunch a few days ago I spoke with Senator Brown of Ohio about climate change and the Smart Grid. He started with a favorite quote of John Doerr, the venture capitalist: “The single greatest way to unleash investment capital that will lead us to an alternative energy economy is pricing carbon.” The House energy bill passed last summer included carbon cap and trade, as do two of the pending Senate bills. According to Brown, however, the key is not legislating carbon reductions – consumers and voters are not feeling immediate pain – the key is the jobs that pricing carbon will create by promoting alternative energy, energy efficiency, peak demand reductions.

All of us in our industry are beneficiaries of the Alternative Energy Economy. A study by Kema, a consultancy, estimates Smart Grid will create nearly 300,000 jobs. Not to mention that Smart Grid will save over $500 billion in utility investments in power plants and transmission lines over the next 20 years, as well as promote energy independence and reliability.

Climate change is a major and serious concern. In the political calculus, however, the message to the American people is that the climate bill is as much about jobs, security, and economic growth as it is about saving the planet.

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