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David Foster

David Foster

Posted: December 4, 2008 02:59 PM

Dispatches from Poznań: Green Economy Provides Solutions to Climate Change and Economic Crisis


Americans are facing a severe economic crisis. Having lost more than a million jobs in the first ten months of the year, creating jobs is the top priority for our nation.

And at the same time, government leaders throughout the world have come together this week in Poznań, Poland for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This conference marks the half-way point in two-year negotiations to reach a critical climate change agreement next year in Copenhagen.

As we face multiple challenges with creating jobs, fighting global warming and gaining energy independence, we must find solutions that move us forward simultaneously on all fronts. The answer to our persistent economic and climate challenges is mobilizing government and the private sector to invest in the green economy.

Changing the way we produce and consume energy in the United States -- building a market for renewable energy and making our homes more energy efficient -- will not only create good jobs, it will reduce global warming pollution and help the U.S. to gain its independence from foreign oil.

We can create jobs in a multitude of industries -- including construction, manufacturing, agriculture and transportation -- by investing in a green economy. These are jobs that people already work in today. With investments in wind and solar power, building retrofits, mass transit, biofuels and smart grid transmission systems, we are putting people back to work, creating new jobs and rebuilding the energy infrastructure in the United States.

So as it turns out, the answers to our economic and climate challenges are interdependent. And unlikely allies are advocating for the green economy. The Blue Green Alliance -- a unique coalition of U.S. labor unions and environmental organizations -- was founded on the mission that investing in clean energy creates new jobs and helps preserve the environment for future generations.

As government leaders from around the world convene at the United Nations conference this week and next, they will be discussing strategies to deal with the challenges that accompany climate change. As the U.S. continues to debate its economic recovery, our answer must include solutions that both create good jobs and protect the environment. Our future -- our economy and our planet -- depends on it.