The clean energy market is potentially worth $2.2 trillion by 2020, without any incentives, according to a new report from environmental think tank Third Way, which argues for moving the debate about climate toward one about jobs.
The report, entitled Creating a Clean Energy Century, compares clean tech innovation to the transformation the Internet and IT revolution brought the economy. The question should no longer be about global warming, says Joshua Freed, the Director of the Clean Energy Program at Third Way, “It should be ‘do you want the American economy to grow?’”
According to the report, investing in retooling and retraining for building these technologies could create 250,000 American manufacturing jobs, support 725,000 more indirect jobs, and generate up to $120 billion in revenue from new products and services.
The report looks at where clean energy innovation is today and what kinds of policies will reform the “energy bureaucracy” in the United States in order to get the economy back on track.
Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who is one of the policymakers working with Third Way to push forward innovation-friendly policy, says that although the U.S. leads in inventing clean energy technology, we are falling behind in making good use of these innovations to boost the economy.
“If we want America to be a leader in that industry, we need to be making investments in clean energy innovation right now,” Stabenow said. “By investing in research and development here at home, we can foster greater innovation in our manufacturers, universities, and other businesses.”
Stabenow is among several senators getting involved with Third Way’s Clean Energy Innovation Project. She will be joined today by Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Udall of Colorado to unveil the report.
Advocates haven’t always agreed on the single best reason for advancing clean energy. In making the case, Hagan connects clean energy investment not only to the environment and the economy, but also to national security, another common argument. Hagan says that a clean energy economy should be “a bipartisan priority” because “we cannot risk falling behind other countries” – for all of those reasons.