11/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

With Climate Provisions, Energy Bill Will Fuel a New Sustainable Economy

American ingenuity has powered us through challenging times. From winning world wars to the moon and back, it truly is the most renewable resource this nation has. Now, we must use it to fuel another great effort. Our current economic crisis is entwined with the way we power society; dealing with one issue and not the other only gets us halfway up the mountain we must climb to restore economic prosperity and financial stability to the U.S.

It can be done. By passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation we can transition our nation to a new economy that will create jobs, improve our national security and international competitiveness, and protect the planet for future generations.

Limits on global warming pollution are essential for creating effective and productive clean energy legislation. If we don't make Big Oil and Dirty Coal clean up they won't, and forcing them to do so will create a level playing field for clean energy industries to build their businesses in the U.S. That market stability would provide a significant boost to our economy, because clean energy sources such as wind and solar create up to three times more jobs than old, dirty fuel sources. A comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that achieves these goals will also go a long way towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil sources.

Studies show that to effectively improve our economy, we must increase energy independence and address global warming simultaneously. The way to do this is by shifting U.S. energy production to cleaner, cheaper energy, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and vehicles and forcing corporate polluters to clean up their acts. According to a recent NYU study, the financial benefits of the House-passed energy and climate bill would be nine times greater than the cost of implementing these changes to our energy system.

While we wrestle with legislation in the U.S., the rest of the world is moving ahead on clean energy -- creating jobs, constructing energy efficient buildings and rolling out renewable energy technology that competes on a global scale. The new energy frontier is being charted as we sit idly by and miss out on millions of new jobs that cannot be exported and American-made competitive technologies that should be. As we get closer to a new international agreement on climate in Copenhagen, we need to show the world that we can lead the charge in combating global warming and that they can look to us for innovative clean energy technology.

Doing nothing is not an option. Congress must do better for the unemployed today, the workforce of tomorrow and our children who will inherit both the economy and the Earth. As the Senate chugs through debate this fall it must pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill -- no matter how steep the climb -- that creates a more sustainable economy and environment for generations to come.