Boston, November 19, 2008
Van Jones restated President-elect Obama’s 3 proposals in his own words:
1) We need to cap carbon – (via) a cap-and-trade system
(This means) We need to stop paying the polluters and start making the polluters pay... The government needs to get on the side of the problem solvers instead of the problem makers… Big oil gets 3 subsidies:
a. tax breaks and direct subsidies
b. because of the global situation, the pentagon has to spend billions of dollars policing oil supply routes
c. then, (Big oil) gets to pollute for free. Big coal gets to pollute for free: they get to dump megatons of carbon in the air.
You can’t pollute for free. If you were to walk out of there… (because this guy’s) saying uppity things… you were to get outside on the sidewalk, and you were to throw the program on the ground… And there was a police officer standing there, what would happen… you would get a fine, because you can’t litter.…. ‘what happens if you would say - Oh no, officer, my name is Chevron, Exxon’ and the officer says, ‘go ahead, pollute all you like, we’ll pay you to do it.’
So when you’re talking cap and trade, you’re saying ‘you gotta pollute less.’ That will signal the end of the carbon age, and beginning of the solar age.
2) This is where you come in. We need to retrofit America. This seems like, maybe almost boring…. (People think that greening the economy means a high tech economy; they imagine the Jetsons powering up.) But, the piece of high-tech amazing scientific equipment that will define the new green economy… is the caulk gun. We’ve got existing off-the-shelf technology, and an idle workforce…. You have the knowledge, you have the insight, you have the wisdom to …. fuel the job creation we need. People like yourselves, who understand green building… to unlock the value trapped in old buildings (from the cost savings from saving energy). President-elect Obama said he wants to weatherize a million homes a year. I think he should put a zero behind that.
And, all of this pays for itself… you get to put a lot of people to work. Everything that’s good for the environment, that’s good to deal with global warming… is a job: … blowing in clean non-toxic insulation, double paning glass, (entrepreneurial opportunities), (addressing) a chilly, drafty home which makes for cold people, and a hot planet… Green jobs will decrease asthma rates…
If you weatherize and energy retrofit enough buildings you bring down aggregate demand for energy – and energy costs come down. … This work pays for itself in 2-4 years, according to McKinsey. That is a tremendous opportunity, to sell your expertise, your knowledge. The challenge is, to get the upfront capital it takes for all the work… so we’re proposing a clean energy corporation with a revolving loan fund at the centre, … for governments… to pay people to retrofit your homes,… and pay those grants back out of energy savings.
3) This is a big breakthrough. … (We need) a clean energy grid, a smart grid. In 10 years, … every home could have smart 2-way meters, that let’s everybody be an energy producer. We need 2 breakthroughs, in:
a. Transmission. … The old power lines 50 years old. That technology does not support a clean energy grid; you lose too much energy.
b. Energy Storage. … our batteries are outdated… dramatically inefficient.
Then you get to jump off the bucking bronco of the oil crisis, the energy crisis. … and get a nice flat energy future.
In the past, in the name of national security, the Interstate Highway System was created to connect roads across the country to move troops around… we couldn’t afford not to do it … this was the best thing we could do for economic security since it allowed goods to be moved around. … we did it again with the communications ‘information superhighway’.
Now, we get the opportunity to move clean energy electrons around… we have more than a national security reason… the enemy is called carbon… it is called status quo… indifference… denial… fear of change – (and this enemy) threatens the children and grandchildren of all species forever. … In the name of global security, in the name of all life, let’s engage in this … Let’s come together across class, and color, and party … the best of our environmentalists, business people, designers, labor movement, civil rights activists.
(In this society) there will be no throwaway resources, species or people. We will reclaim thrown away stuff, and thrown away lives…
(President-elect Obama) brought America back… but if we do our part, we will take America forward.
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