Today, President Barack Obama is meeting with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the North Carolina headquarters of Cree Inc., a leading manufacturer of LED technology. Obama has spent his first term pushing investment into clean energy industries, fighting unyielding Republican opposition. The resurgence of American auto industry is the greatest success of his strategy. Emergency government support, higher fuel economy standards, and long-term investment in advanced technology have turned a morbund industry of gas guzzlers into a global leader of high performing, efficient vehicles. Green job growth far outstrips other sectors of the economy, thanks in part to the strategic goals of the Recovery Act:
But political reporters are following the contrarian arguments of pollution advocates, questioning the logic of redirecting our struggling economy towards sustainable growth. NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro worries that Obama’s “gamble” on green jobs is “risky.” And Politico’s top energy reporter, Darren Samuelsohn, acts the cynic:
Nearly three years into Obama’s presidency, the White House can’t point to much solid evidence that significant numbers of Americans are scoring the green jobs the president has been touting.
Remarkably, Samuelsohn ignores the collapse of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which would have generated the multi-billion-dollar annual investment in clean energy the nation desperately needs. Polluters and their conservative allies spent about a billion dollars killing this crucial climate and clean energy legislation, demonizing anything to end our nation’s deadly dependence on coal and oil.
Conservatives haven’t merely been skeptics of the green economy — they have been and continue to be active opponents of anything that would break the stranglehold of fossil fuel companies over our nation’s future.