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An American Revolution: A message from The Climate Group's US board members Bill Moomaw, Steve Westly and Paul Dolan.

16 November 2012
An American Revolution: A message from The Climate Group's US board members Bill Moomaw, Steve Westly and Paul Dolan.

A message from The Climate Group's US board members Bill Moomaw, Steve Westly and Paul Dolan.

Throughout history, American innovation and entrepreneurship have prompted some of the world’s greatest advances. Transcontinental railroads and highways, the space program and the internet each created new markets and opportunities, bringing prosperity to millions. The Wright brothers, Thomas Edison and countless other heroes of American ingenuity have changed the lives of American families for the better.

Today, though, the prospects of providing our children with the same opportunities we’ve fought for and enjoyed are facing two major threats: a stagnant economy, and the increasingly devastating and costly impacts of climate change. The drought, spiking agricultural commodity prices to almost record levels this summer, is just one example of how deeply intertwined these two problems are.

If we don’t address climate change, we are setting ourselves up for further, more serious economic repercussions brought about by droughts, storms and rising seas. Food bills for American families will rise. Insurance losses for American businesses will escalate. Agriculture will have to relocate. Our health care system will struggle to deal with new diseases. And aging infrastructure will be subjected to more extreme weather.

The challenge is like few others in our history. We must find a new way forward for our nation. We need a new American revolution. An American Clean Revolution.

This is our opportunity for a better future. A clean revolution means a swift, massive scale-up of clean energy and infrastructure, and of smart technologies and design. It is the commonsense road to a smarter, better, more prosperous world.

Research by Google has shown breakthroughs in clean tech innovation could generate an extra $155-244 billion of GDP per year from 2030 if the right investments are made today. This would result in over $3 trillion of additional, cumulative economic output by 2050. International business opportunities for US companies are also potentially huge. The global clean energy market, for example will be worth $2.2 trillion by the end of the decade according to HSBC. The market for clean economy goods and services is already half this size in the US alone. And the Harvard Business Review tells us that stocks of corporations investing in sustainability are outperforming their peers.

Failure to take global leadership of the fast-growing clean energy market will be the biggest missed opportunity of a generation. China already leads the world in wind energy investment and deployment and is on the cusp of a major expansion in solar power generation. In 2010, it over took the US (and Japan) to become the number one filer of patent applications. America’s choice as to who will lead the world in the development of clean technologies will have a major impact on our long-term interests.

The American clean revolution will help guarantee our security in the new global economy. It will protect us from the threats we face from our reliance on fossil fuels. The US accounts for one fifth of global oil consumption – but has less than 2% of proven reserves. The cost – financial and in terms of lives – of deploying our troops to patrol unstable oil lanes could be a price too great to bear. In 2010 the Pentagon warned that global warming will aggravate many of the world’s already challenging security problems.

The American Clean Revolution is the new American frontier; our chance to re-establish American leadership in the new global world economy, and pioneer the very technologies that will define the 21st century. It is the promise of millions of new jobs, improvements to the homes of Americans across the country, energy savings for hard-working families, and clean energy that meets the needs of a revitalized economy.

Leadership and innovation is not only what built America: it’s what will take us forward. The passive acceptance of economic decline through climate change is not the American way. It’s time for bold leadership to drive this transformation, revive our economy, and make our country great again.

It’s time to for us to start a revolution: an American Clean Revolution.

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