National Clean Energy Project Part 12/16
Leaders from the public and private sectors met in Washington, DC on February 23rd to discuss ideas to reform U.S. energy policy, and pave the wave for our economic future part 12/16.
National Clean Energy Project Part 12/16
Mr. Wirth: Andy Stern has thought deeply about the issues of justice and how
the opportunities of this new economy deal and relate to an
American workforce that’s certainly threatened or under pressure
today as perhaps never before, Andy, thank you for being with us.
Andrew Stern: Thank you. And as an organization that’s somewhat of a latecomer
to this, I just want to say, to have all these people who were out
there before this was popular, who got challenged about the
science or their integrity, it really is an honor to be here. And for
Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi and President Obama, to sort of
see this now all come together with this opportunity, we owe all of
you an incredible debt of gratitude.
Let me just say that for all of us in this room, I think we do
appreciate, and I think it’s said up on the sign, that this is a huge
opportunity to not only create jobs we desperately need right now
but really to think about building a new economy. And I would say
we’re not quite yet there with the American people understanding
the opportunities that are here.
So I think, first of all, we just need to be thoughtful that we have,
at times, oversold things. I think we oversold high-tech jobs. We
oversold trade as kind of the answer. And I think what it means is
that if we really want to maximize the opportunity here, we have to
think about how we’re going to create American jobs and how
we’re going to benefit this country very specifically. And so for
that, I think it’s very simple. We need a plan.
And we need to appreciate, particularly when we get to
weatherization and retrofitting and some of the lower-end parts of
this job creation, you know, what John Podesta and another study
at CAP showed, that when you look at procurement in the federal
government, and Vice President Gore and President Clinton tried
to deal with this when they were in office, 80% of the jobs that are
provided from our current procurement are low-wage jobs. 20%
one of every five jobs, are poverty jobs provided by procurement
from the federal government. Most of them have virtually no
significant healthcare benefits and so good intentions are not
enough here. We have to be intentional.
And so, just for me, there are three things we need to think about
for the legislators. You know, one is, as we do in defense
contracting, how do we consider these really investments in critical
industries so that we guarantee there’s a certain amount of
domestic base of production and a domestic workforce? And I’m
not simply trying to be protectionist, but I do think we understand
what a critical industry is. And what is more critical than our own
energy security here?
Two is we need to build on the green jobs act and all the issues
about hiring and training and workforce development. But we have
to be thoughtful of not accepting sort of anecdotal, one-off
solutions as something we can do on scale. And I think we have a
tremendous obligation and responsibility right now with all the
money that Congress has appropriated to really be serious about,
you know, not highlighting one thing here and another thing there
but building, as Lee Scott knows, a system, you know, that actually
creates the good jobs, the training, the career advancement we
And three is I think we’re going to have to set some meaningful
standards so they are good jobs, whether it’s what Maryland does
about living wages, whether it’s what we do about prevailing
wages in Davis-Bacon or predetermined wages or project-labor
agreements or community benefits. If we are not purposeful and
intentional, the idea that these will be good jobs, particularly in
certain parts of this job creation, is not necessarily going to be true.
And we cannot afford to sell the American people something that
turns out not to be true.
This is the opportunity to create a new economy. It really is a
chance to create the jobs that our kids and our grandkids can live
the American dream. And I think we have the opportunity to do it.
And I’m glad to be here.
Mr. Wirth: Andy, thank you very much. Andy is our landlord at the U.N.
Foundation and we are privileged to be in a gold LEED gold-
standard building. And Rick Fedrizzi from the U.S. Building
Council is here. Rick, do you want to give us your window on how
rapidly the building stock is changing and how rapidly it can
Rick Fedrizzi: Sure, thank you very much. It’s really a pleasure to be here with all
of you. The U.S. Green Building Council really – part of the
discussion that I’ve heard over and over again this morning really
gets to the fact of, how do you take this big macro idea and get it
into the hearts and soul of the American people so that they can
And in our opinion, there really is no better way than get it right
into their living rooms. People have to understand it. You have to
get it into the schools. You have to get it into the places where we
work. People need to know that there’s a connection between the
world that we live in, what we use as far as energy and how it’s
produced and where it’s produced.
And I think when we talk about a future with a smart grid and we
talk about a future where we have energy-efficient, green and
smart buildings all connected together, what we’ve done there is
we’ve produced a great story that will in fact translate down to the
American people, when you start talking to the folks that can’t
afford $5 more.
But right now within their homes and in the world that they live in,
they have embedded probably another 100 (dollars) to $200 a
month in savings that doesn’t appear because their houses, their
homes, their businesses, whatever it is, are inefficient. Right now,
the McKenzie study that came out not too long ago says there’s
about $160 billion just sitting on the table that we could grab by
the year 2030 just by making the smallest improvements to the
energy efficiency of these buildings.
So I think we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us. I think
the communications of this whole opportunity is going to be
paramount because when you talk about the grid, the average
homeowner doesn’t get it, I’m not sure they care. What they care
about is food on the table, sending their kids to college. And when
they start to realize that it’s not just about them doing with less but
maybe some intelligent decisions about how their homes are
operated, constructed, weatherized and anything that has to do with
improving that performance, puts food on their table. I think that’s
one of the best messages we could sell.
So that’s it, Tim. Just a very quick comment on what we have in
front of us.
Mr. Wirth: Thank you very much, Rick. And I want to ask Carl Pope and Rose
McKinney-James the question that you asked to begin with. Do
people understand the connection between the energy they use and
the world in which they live? Carl and Rose. Carl?
Carl Pope: People understand it a lot better than they did even 24 months ago.
And people like Boone Pickens and Al Gore and Bill Clinton get a
lot of the credit for that. I was really struck as I went around in
2006, when I went around campaigning, I could get an audience to
talk about how green energy was a big part of the American
economic future if I went to places like the Cleveland City Club.
That was news. I mean, prior to 2006, those of us who talked about
this issue were by and large relegated to the free-speech zone at
national conventions. We weren’t really a part of the mainstream
And in 2006, you started getting this serious hearing. This fall, I
went out and I went to northeastern Ohio. And I went door to door
with canvassers for Working America in communities where steel
jobs had gone away 20 years earlier. And I found that people at the
door who had been waiting for 20 years for something to happen
finally thought something was going to happen. And they thought
the something that was going to happen was wind turbines on Lake
Erie. And they said to me at the door, look, we get it. If it can be
made in Shanghai, it will be.
But you can’t harvest the wind on Lake Erie from Shanghai. I
we’re going to make my house more efficient, we’re not going to
do it in a back-room office in Bangalore. We’re going to do it in
Canton, Ohio, where I live.
I think the American people are now way, way ahead of where
their leaders were a year ago but I think there is still a serious risk
and Secretary Chu talking about it. It’s easy to talk about how
government is bureaucratic, government slows things down, and
government is inefficient. When we’re talking about connectivity,
markets can be just as bad. They can sit forever, maneuvering for
advantage. They can sit forever, arguing about standards.
We can either build this new, connected, green-energy world the
way we built the Interstate Highway System which I think is the
right model. Or we can build it the way we built the railroads.
Now, eventually, after the way we built the railroads, we’ve got a
pretty big railroad system, but it took an awfully long time and it
was very, very wasteful and inefficient. There was no plan. We
didn’t plan the railroad system. I think we need to plan the new
National Clean Energy Project Part 12/16
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