On Friday, four labor unions and two environmental organizations representing six million people announced their support for comprehensive cap-and-trade climate change legislation in 2009. The Blue Green Alliance and its partner organizations said this legislation is an effective way to rapidly put millions of Americans back to work building a clean energy economy and to reduce global warming emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The Alliance's goal is nothing less than to transform the U.S. economy through global warming solutions, and create millions of family-sustaining green jobs in the clean energy economy. "We have a unique opportunity to be part of the solution and to improve the lives of working people and their families for generations to come," said Gerry Hudson, International Executive Vice President of SEIU. "It is our duty to ensure that legislation develops a cap-and-trade system that connects environmental justice to economic justice in a way that supports communities across America and creates good, green jobs."
The Blue Green Alliance supports a reduction of U.S. emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, and supports a renewed U.S. effort to forge a global treaty to reduce worldwide emissions by 50 percent by that same date. The Alliance also supports complementary regulation, including standards for renewable energy, energy efficiency resources and fuel and appliance efficiency. In addition, climate change legislation should include investments in a wide range of technologies -- including carbon, capture and sequestration technology -- and federal financing for the transition to a clean energy economy. Read the policy statement here.
David Foster, executive director of the Blue Green Alliance, spoke of the significance of the labor and environmental movements embracing a common vision for the future, saying, "For the first time, a substantial number of unions representing workers across a broad section of the American economy have endorsed the principle that the way out of our current economic turmoil is through major investments in solving global warming."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has promised to introduce climate change legislation by Memorial Day. Tomorrow, he and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will release a draft bill that is predicted to be the centerpiece of the upcoming climate policy debate. President Obama has also expressed his support for Congress to focus its attention on passing cap-and-trade legislation as part of his energy and climate change agenda to move away from polluting energy resources toward cleaner energy sources.
The Blue Green Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Formed initially by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club in 2006, the organization has recently grown to include SEIU, NRDC, CWA, and LIUNA.