From Day 1 in office, President Biden has taken a “whole of government” approach to climate action. Now, he’s laid out a “whole of economy” approach that promises to turbocharge clean energy, essential infrastructure and the jobs and other economic benefits that come with it.
In short, he is addressing recovery today with investments in tomorrow. That’s exactly what our economy and our country needs.
Now, it’s time for Congress to act. That’s why E2 sent this letter to members of Congress earlier this year calling for strong climate action that can create jobs, drive economic growth and address climate change and the economic costs that come with it.
Biden’s American Jobs Plan sets the roadmap for legislation Congress must pass for the good of our economy and environment. Some key elements:
- More resilient infrastructure: The plan includes $50 billion for improving infrastructure resilience. This will help us better address the economic costs of climate change – including the $100 billion or so getting sucked out of our economy each year because of record wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and drought.
- Grid Modernization and Safety: Tens of billions of dollars to build a more resilient electric transmission system by replacing and modernizing thousands of miles of electricity transmission lines and other grid infrastructure. It’s one thing to build more renewable energy and electrify our buildings and transportation system. But we must get that power where it needs to go. Modernizing our grid will create tens of thousands of good-paying, union, grid modernization jobs.
- Clean Vehicles: The Biden plan includes $174 billion investment to turbocharge the electric vehicles industry. This will be accomplished by adding 500,000 EV car charging stations and shifting EV manufacturing (including for school buses) into high gear. This along with the plan’s Made-in-America focus, will create tens of thousands of good-paying manufacturing and installation jobs at union shops and factories around the country. It will also make cleaner cars financially accessible to more Americans – driving equity, demand and innovation simultaneously.
- Clean Energy Financing: The plan includes $27 billion for a clean energy accelerator to provide the seed capital for clean energy projects and jobs and open the door for billions more in private investments in clean energy, with a particular focus on communities of color, rural, low and moderate in communities and communities transitioning away from fossil fuels.
- Clean Drinking Water: It also includes $111 billion drinking water/pipeline improvements that will not only mean healthier communities but new jobs. Replacing bad pipes means good work for pipefitters, plumbers and construction workers. It also means businesses in industries ranging from hospitality and recreation to the manufacture of beer and food products will have clean water that’s essential for their products and services. See more from an economic analysis E2 did in Michigan in the wake of the Flint, Michigan crisis that showed a $12 billion investment in the state’s water infrastructure would generate nearly 90,000 jobs, $8.8 billion in economic activity and $700 million in new tax revenues for that state.
- Workforce Training: About $100 billion is designated for workforce training. We know that clean energy investments will yield millions of new jobs for America. We also know that already companies are struggling to find enough trained workers. This investment will help train workers to meet the needs of a cleaner, more resilient economy.
Of course plans are one thing. Putting them into action is another. That’s where Congress comes in. The good news is that Americans in every state and every congressional district can benefit from the jobs and investments that will come from the Biden administration’s plans. And Congress should recognize that poll after poll shows there is strong public support for this investment in America.
More than 3 million Americans work in clean energy in every state in the country. These are good paying jobs that are available to workers regardless of education level, geographic location, race or ethnicity. We can create millions more jobs – and make them even better jobs with the Biden administration’s focus on unions, prevailing wages and Buy American provisions.
Biden’s plan also includes an important focus on low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color, many of which have not benefited from opportunities that come with clean energy and climate action – both in terms of access to clean energy and EV’s and in terms of jobs.
With the double-whammy of COVID-19 and climate calamities still battering America’s economy, now’s the time to act. President Biden took the first, big step with his American Jobs Plan.
Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do its job, so more Americans can get back to theirs.