In a C-SPAN interview today, Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) attacked green economy legislation, claiming it would “wreak havoc” on Alabama’s manufacturers. Even though a record-breaking heatwave has killed a woman in his state this week, the dynamic congressman now running for governor in Alabama explained his plan to vote against the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2998/H.R. 2454) today by arguing it would destroy his state’s fragile economy:
— “This bill is still going to wreak havoc with the manufacturing sector in some parts of the country.”
— “The Senate, for example, is not considering cap and trade. The cap and trade provisions are the ones that frankly would damage the manufacturing sector short term and have a lot of other unpredictable consequences on our economy.”
— “When we’re in the midst of a deep recession, we need to make sure we’re not making a dramatic change that could cost us jobs in the short term, because many states simply can’t afford to lose more jobs.”
— “This is the wrong time for cap and trade, this is the wrong time to impose a renewable electricity standard on the Southeast.”
Davis is wrong. In fact, the Senate is continuing to work on cap-and-trade legislation for passage this fall. Furthermore, Davis seems not to understand that states like Alabama need the clean-energy economy to recover from the Bush-Exxon recession.
A Clean-Energy Economy Will Create 29,000 Jobs In Alabama. The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), the EPA found, will “create strong demand for a domestic manufacturing market for these next generation technologies that will enable American workers to serve in a central role in our clean energy transformation” and “play a critical role in the American economic recovery and job growth.” A report from the Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute “finds that Alabama could see a net increase of about $2.2 billion in investment revenue and 29,000 jobs based on its share of a total of $150 billion in clean-energy investments annually across the country. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments. [EPA, 4/20/09; PERI, 6/18/09]
Waxman-Markey Directs Billions Of Dollars To Energy-Intensive Manufacturing. The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) includes cost containment provisions, allowances for worker assistance and training, investments in clean energy technologies, a new clean energy deployment agency, and billions of dollars in direct assistance to trade-vulnerable and other industries. [Committee on Energy and Commerce, 6/9/09]
A Renewable Electricity Standard Would Reduce Costs In Alabama. The Energy Information Administration projects that a renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025 — much stronger than the one in the Waxman-Markey legislation — would drive electricity costs down by more than 10 percent in Alabama and throughout the Southeast, as utilities move away from increasingly expensive coal to renewable biomass. [EIA, 4/09]
Alabama Is Especially Susceptible To Global Warming Damages. As a coastal state, Alabama is highly vulnerable to the devastation of hurricanes, which will increase in intensity as the oceans warm and sea levels rise. Rainfall is expected to decrease, increasing the rate of devastating droughts like that of 2007. By the end of the century, Alabama will have deadly heat waves over 90 degrees for more than four months every year. [U.S. Global Change Program, 2009]
Davis claims to support clean energy reform, but he opposes any effort to limit the carbon pollution responsible for global warming. Like the House Republicans, Davis is in denial.