(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Global warming is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.
According to a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, if global warming goes unchecked, we will face impacts such as drought, loss of snow pack and water supplies, significant extinction of species, and extreme weather events.
In July, I traveled to Greenland to view the rapid melting of the enormous Greenland Ice Sheet. If the Greenland Ice sheet were to melt, the sea level would rise by 23 feet. This would have disastrous consequences for our coastlines.
But I approach this issue with hope, not fear. There is great opportunity in addressing this issue.
By taking action to solve global warming, we will help our economy and create many new jobs.
I believe that if we cap carbon emissions and fight global warming, we will be better off for it in every way, including economically.
Take a look at Britain. Since 1990 they have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by about 15%, while its economy has grown by over 40%.
Today, Britain’s environmental industries are the fastest growing sector of the country’s economy, growing from about 135,000 jobs to over 500,000 jobs in just the last five years.
We can use American know-how and innovation to experience the same success by producing domestically renewable energy, biofuels, and energy-conserving products domestically.
In fact, a study completed this August by the University of California, Berkeley projected that meeting the caps from AB32, California’s landmark global warming legislation, could boost Gross State Product in 2020 by up to$74 billion. It would create 89,000 new jobs in California. And this is only in California.
In fighting global warming we can increase energy efficiency, increase our energy independence, improve our national security, and increase our global competitiveness.
As 60 California Economists have said: “The most expensive thing we can do is nothing.”
When we create and build clean energy sources and energy efficient technologies, we will export these technologies to the rest of the world. America will rebuild our manufacturing sector and create new, skilled “green collar” jobs.
Green jobs are our future. I agree with Tom Friedman who says, “green is the new red, white and blue.”
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