Here's what the Environmental Protection Agency's new pollution standards for power plants will mean for America:
More jobs, less carbon.
Of course the fossil fuel industry and some manufacturing organizations are trying to push the false premise that you can't have a healthy environment and a healthy economy.
But the truth is, the shift to clean energy already is creating tens of thousands of jobs in every part of our country, as the business owners, investors and others who belong to the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) can tell you.
Here's just one example from our nation's heartland:
After nine years in the U.S. Navy SEAL teams, veteran Troy Van Beek returned home to start a family business with his wife Amy. Today their company, Ideal Energy, is a shining example of the bright future of clean energy -- one that will be even brighter if Iowa adopts a strong state implementation plan to meet the new EPA standards.
Check out Troy and Amy's story here:
You can find companies like Ideal Energy all across America.
Over the past two years alone, more than 185,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs have been announced all across America. See more examples and state-by-state details on E2's www.cleanenergyworksforus.org Web site.
By sending a clear market signal in support of more renewable energy development and more energy efficiency for our homes, offices, schools and other buildings, new EPA carbon standards promise to supercharge the clean energy industry and create more success stories like the Van Beek's.
An analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that the new carbon limits can create more than 274,000 energy efficiency jobs and save American households and businesses more $37.4 billion. E2 is an affiliate of NRDC.
Businesses support the carbon standard because of opportunities it will create. They also support it because it for the first time is the step in the right direction to address climate change and the costly weather disasters that hurt businesses' bottom lines.
In the bellwether state of North Carolina, for instance, 54 percent of small business owners in an E2 poll said they think it would be good for the state's economy to reduce industrial carbon pollution from fossil fuels and increase renewable energy sources.
Not addressing climate change is a much more expensive proposition.
Economic losses from extreme weather disasters that are tied to climate change have cost about $200 billion over the last decade, according to the World Bank. That's up dramatically from previous decades.
Companies ranging from clothing retailer GAP Inc. to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. are now being forced to build in the costs of dealing with climate change into their bottom lines for everything from higher cotton prices to water shortages, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
History also shows that smart environmental policies like the carbon standard create economic growth.
Between 1970-2011, emissions of air pollutants dropped by 68 percent, according to the EPA. The GDP, meanwhile, grew by more than 200 percent. What happened in the jobs market? Private-sector jobs grew by 88 percent.
Several years ago, the Institute for Clean Air Companies took a look at the implementation of just one EPA standard -- the Clean Air Interstate Rule. It found that one rule resulted in approximately 200,000 new jobs.
Implementation of another EPA standard, the NOx SIP, created more than 25,000 jobs between 1999-2005, according to the ICAC, a tradegroup for pollution control companies.
We know clean energy works for America. And we know we're just getting started.
By cutting our reliance on carbon-based energy, and improving energy efficiency in America, we'll take the next major step forward toward more jobs, less carbon.
Follow Bob Keefe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/e2org