Bill Clinton On Clean Energy Policy: ‘Every Place People Do Things, The Power Of Example Changes Consciousness’

Lawmakers and business leaders need to rekindle a spirit of cooperation if the U.S. wants to lead in clean energy and address climate change, says Former President Bill Clinton.

Speaking at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, President Clinton attempted to cut through the contentious political fights picked by the “denialists in Congress” and highlight the importance of cooperation in fostering smart, forward-thinking clean energy policy.

“The great winners of the world are the cooperators. Why is this important? Because cooperation gets lousy news coverage and people don’t know about it. We have to both think large and have a bias for action even if it’s small,” said Clinton.

He also encouraged the industry to continuing telling local stories of successful projects around the U.S., which he believes can diminish some of the political push-back against clean energy policy.

“If we want to do these projects, we need to make sure that more people know. Even in this highly partisan time we need to struggle for public-private cooperation. Even if the news in Washington might be disheartening because of the denialists in Congress. But across the rest of the country, the news isn’t so bad.”

Clinton outlined efficiency and renewable energy projects around the country, including the efficiency retrofit of the Empire State Building and the Ivahpah concentrating solar power project, which cumulatively created thousands of green jobs.

“Every place people do things the power of example changes consciousness,” said Clinton.

He pointed to all the construction workers he met in California working on building the 392-megawatt Ivanpah solar project — people of “all races” with some of the “best tattoos” he’d ever seen. Those construction workers are the people who are going to make the difference in moving the clean energy industry forward, said Clinton.

“Think about the tattoos. You win the tattoo vote, we’ll have the damnedest environmental policy you ever saw.”

When asked about the partisan politics stalling comprehensive climate and energy policy, Clinton said he believes that some of it will pass after November. “I think people will start thinking instead of just trying to tear the house down.”

In his final statement, Clinton encouraged people on the local level to continue working for a bipartisan consensus.

“Where ever you live, find something to do. Keep working until you find somebody of a different political persuasion with the same goal, and then figure out how to achieve it. So while you lobby for political change on the national level, it’s important to do something. Even if it seems small, it will have a big impact. Differences of opinion are important. If your purpose is to reach an agreement than your disagreements become much more valuable. We are going to have to become a stakeholder society again — that’s the only thing that works.”

8 Responses to Bill Clinton On Clean Energy Policy: ‘Every Place People Do Things, The Power Of Example Changes Consciousness’

  1. Leif says:

    I have always liked Bill despite his human failings. If we are to judge on those, Corporations are “people” now, and justice demands equal tests. I can tell you straight up, ecocide of the planet falls above anything I can think of.

    POFITS to the PEOPLE, NOT the POLLUTERS! The polluters are rich enough. They will get by just fine. For many generations with frugal spending on their part.

    Humanity should demand nothing less!

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Clinton’s wish to find common ground with Republicans in order to enable clean energy makes no sense. I would guess that the number of Republicans in Congress who fully support clean energy is about six. The rest are terrified to even mention “global warming”, except to cast doubt on the science of it.

    They are not persuadable, because the Republicans are now a fascist party. That means you effect change and move toward a decent future by defeating them, and showing no fear.

    Democrats have lacked a killer instinct for a long time, especially their presidential candidates. If one ever comes along, we will instantly recognize him, and vote him into power despite the machinations of the fossil fuel/military lobbies.

  3. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Clinton is right about cooperation and should extend it to China. There is a new book out called ‘The China Choice: why America should share power’, Hugh White, Black Inc. It explores America’s strategic choices as China grows in wealth and power and argues for cooperation sooner rather than later as competition is likely to end very badly for all involved including those like us who are caught in the crossfire, ME

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Clinton talks a good talk, but when President he was just another ‘third way’, ‘triangulating’ accommodator to the money power. Of course he would never have been President otherwise, or wouldn’t have lasted long. Admiring JFK is one thing-emulating him another entirely.Perhaps it’s a sore conscience that drives him now.

  5. Spike says:

    The explosion in renewables is the one bright point in Europe. For example here in the UK we have 6.9GW of wind operational but another 21.6GW is planned, consented or under construction. I sure hope the US moves aren’t undermined by the fossil fuel shills in Congress.

  6. Bill Goedecke says:

    Obama is a great ‘cooperator’ – hence, we have cooperation in regards to the Keystone Pipeline – and – with Clinton – he is very much a corporatist – it was late in his administration that the glass-steagall act was repealed.

  7. Artful Dodger says:

    Today’s logicbomb: (headvice alert)

    People do not have Owners.
    Corporations are People.
    Therefore, Corporations do not have Owners.

    Stick that in your SCOTUS and smoke it ;^)

  8. Artful Dodger says:

    Democrats were paid to throw this fight a long, long time ago.