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April 01, 2009
Labor Unions and Environmental Groups Join to Endorse Climate Change Legislation
    by Robert Kropp

The Blue Green Alliance announces support for a cap-and-trade system and a renewable electricity standard included in proposed Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation.

Members of the Blue Green Alliance, a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations, released its outline of goals for climate change legislation in 2009 that emphasizes the importance of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system in which allowances should be auctioned or used for public purposes, while avoiding windfall profits.

The Alliance, which was founded in 2006 by the United Steelworkers Union and the Sierra Club and has since grown to include four labor unions and two environmental organizations, also supports a reduction of US emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050, as well as efforts to forge a global emissions reduction treaty to reduce worldwide emissions by 50% by 2050.

Noting that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides "a meaningful down payment on investments in the green economy," the Alliance argues for investment in a clean energy economy at a scale necessary to convert the US to renewable energy and revitalize the country's existing manufacturing capacity.

To that end, the Alliance also announced its support for the Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation which was released in draft form on March 31 by the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce. A recent analys is by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that a renewable electricity standard such as that proposed by Waxman-Markey, in which utilities would be required to obtain 25% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025, would create 297,000 new domestic jobs and save consumers $64.3 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills.

According to David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance, the statement by the Alliance represents the first time that "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."


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