Center for American Progress President John Podesta and UN Foundation President Timothy Wirth write a joint op-ed in the Denver Post today on the promise and challenge of remaking the energy economy through smart public policy.
The technologies we need to begin this economic transformation already exist today, and the dollars will flow if we just change the rules of the energy game, rules that have favored the old ways of doing business with tax breaks, regulatory incentives, and lip service to alternatives, and stop using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for our emissions. As a first step, we must cap our emissions and put a price on carbon. The investments that will result from this decision will be a powerful stimulus for economic growth, competitive advantage, and new jobs — good jobs in manufacturing, installation, and research, entry-level jobs and high-wage jobs alike.
The Democratic Party platform recognizes the energy opportunity in its section on “Investing in American Competitiveness” — but it does not go far enough. The size and urgency of this task require a president willing to make it the top domestic priority in the White House — not pigeonholed as an energy initiative or environmental initiative or even as a security initiative, but made the centerpiece of his economic agenda. Indeed, it will demand that the president refocus the mission and responsibility of all relevant government agencies and convene them in a new National Energy Council in the White House.
The success of this year’s candidates and next year’s elected leaders will rise and fall on how they address the energy issue. Those who convey the scale and scope — and opportunity — of transforming our energy economy will succeed.
The two mention Colorado’s good track record and leadership on renewable energy. I would be remiss if I did not use this as an opportunity to link to the excellent work of Fort Collins, Colorado based blogger Timothy B. Hurst, who chronicles Colorado’s energy transformation at EcoPolitology and Red Green and Blue.