Business Agrees: Biden’s Plans to Reduce GHG Emissions Will Increase Jobs, Economic Growth
On Thursday, President Biden is expected to open his historic international Leaders Summit on Climate with a pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
This bold but very obtainable goal is not just good for our environment.
It’s also good for business and our economy.
Just ask the nearly 400 E2 members and supporters who signed this recent E2 letter urging the president to cut emissions by at least half by 2030. These are business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs from every sector of the economy and every part of the country who believe in the power of innovation, understand global markets and aren’t afraid of international competition — as long as the U.S. government does its part to lead.
They include the CFO and head of global services for international auto supplier Bosch Group in Michigan, as well as petroleum giant BP’s chief Global Markets Strategist, who’s based in Chicago. They’re hotel and real estate investors in New England and solar and wind entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Others include technology executives in Silicon Valley and investment fund managers in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. (You can see all their names and companies here).
What these business leaders know is that by pledging to the world that we’ll cut our emissions in half, President Biden is also sending a clear market signal that will drive new investments and jobs in clean energy, clean vehicles and a cleaner economy that are required to reach that goal. They know it also sends the signal to the rest of the world that America is back in business when it comes to combating climate change and its costs that are sapping billions of dollars from our economy each year.
As E2 members and supporters wrote in our letter to the president:
“As innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, business owners and other professionals, we reject the idea that at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 is unattainable or harmful to business.
That’s because we know first-hand the power of American innovation and the ability of American companies and workers to get the job done — as long as we have the right direction and support from our country’s leadership.”
These aren’t the only businesspeople who recognize that bold climate action is a win for business and our economy. More than 300 companies that collectively generate more than $3 trillion in annual revenue also signed this letter urging President Biden to cut emissions by at least 50 percent. Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Google and General Electric are among the companies that added their name to that letter, organized by Ceres with support from E2 and other business groups.
Cutting emissions in half can boost our economy by nearly $500 billion per year, according to an analysis by leading think tank Energy Innovation. Adding more clean energy and clean vehicles can also add more than 3 million job-years to our economy by 2030, Energy Innovation estimates.
We already have a strong foundation on which to build. E2’s just-released Clean Jobs America 2021 report shows that at the end of 2020, about 3 million Americans worked in clean energy in every state, regardless of geology, geography or politics. Despite being down overall from pre-pandemic levels, clean energy jobs are rebounding faster than the rest of the economy — growing about 11 percent in the second half of last year, compared with about 9 percent for the rest of the economy. They also pay about 25 percent better than the national median wage.
President Biden’s pledge to cut our emissions in half, coupled with the investments and policies that support clean energy and climate resilience outlined in his American Jobs Plan, will create millions more jobs and opportunities for Americans. These are jobs we need badly in the wake of the COVID-19 economic meltdown, and jobs that would be especially welcome in low-income communities and communities of color.
This is what leadership looks like.
Now, alongside businesses and President Biden, Congress needs to lead as well.