Recent polls show Latinos strongly support action on climate change and clean energy jobs. On Wednesday, a group of Hispanic business leaders from Florida headed to the Capitol to urge their Senators – Bill Nelson (D-FL) and George LeMieux (R-FL) – to support comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation.
The group brought a petition signed by 2,000 Hispanic business owners from South Florida to bolster their cause. CAP intern JT McLain has the story.
Hispanic business leaders are at the forefront of the push for energy and climate legislation. Wednesday’s fly-in, organized by American Businesses for Clean Energy, is another reminder that Hispanics continue to be amongst the most active proponents of comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. As Climate Progress reported here, Hispanics and African Americans overwhelmingly support the transition to a clean energy economy, and they are disproportionately likely to vote on climate in the 2010 elections. Those same demographics also have strong majorities who believe that that a low carbon economy will create jobs, and oppose the idea that policies which curb global warming harm the economy.
- Overwhelming majorities of Latino voters in Florida (80%), Nevada (67%) and Colorado (58%) say they are more likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate that supports proposals for fighting global warming. Virtually no one is less likely.
- About three out of four Latino voters in Florida (76%) and Nevada (74%), and about two out of three voters in Colorado (64%), consider global warming very or somewhat serious. Three out of four Latino voters in each state say Congress should take action now.
- By about three to one, Latino voters in these states say switching to a clean energy economy will mean more U.S. jobs (66% in Florida, 72% in Nevada, 64% in Colorado). Over 8 out of 10 voters in each state reject the idea that fighting global warming will hurt the American economy.
According to the business owners, comprehensive legislation will bolster investor confidence in clean energy technologies, creating new business opportunities and jobs. The legislation also will improve the quality of life across the board; Porfiria Ramirez, co-owner of Solar Green Energy Solutions in Miami, argues:
Hispanic businesses like mine can lead the way and be part of the start-up of the clean energy economy; this is good for our state and every member of our community”¦ it means our children can grow up in clean neighborhoods breathing clean air. But we need to create incentives for the private sector to invest in order to compete globally. For that, we need legislation.
This recent outpouring of support is made more urgent by the devastating BP oil disaster unfolding in the Gulf, and the likely negative impacts it will have on our Southern economy. Dana Sanchez-Quist, a realtor in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, points out the threat to an economy heavily reliant on tourism:
Florida is in the eye of the storm – we look at the Gulf and all we can do is hope the massive oil spill doesn’t reach our shores and scare off the millions of tourists who visit them every year.
The group also is keenly aware of the negative economic and environmental implications of American dependence on oil. Alberto Cardona, an engineer in Fort Lauderdale, said:
The alarm has sounded. We have a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by our over-reliance on oil. We cannot afford to wait any longer for a comprehensive energy and climate plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and back in the lead. We can and must develop the technology to move to clean, renewable 21st century energy sources that will never run out. Countries like China are doing it. Why can’t we?
The petition, hand delivered by the Florida Hispanic business leaders, reads:
On behalf of the undersigned Hispanic business owners, local leaders, parent organizations and concerned constituents whom we represent, we urge you to support strong climate and energy legislation. We support Congressional enactment of clean energy and climate legislation that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
— JT McLain