During a Dec. 10 press teleconference call, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined leaders in discussing how the U.S. economy and labor movement might be bolstered by advancements in renewable energy. Together, they released a report titled The Green Industrial Revolution and the United States: In the Clean Energy Race, is the United States a Leader or a Luddite? It proposes utilizing the country's national strengths and ability to innovate at local levels, to drive leadership in clean energy manufacturing.
The report notes that the U.S. has been a powerful force "in technical innovation and market transformation since the industrial revolution. But when it comes to the transformation of the global economy from high-carbon, polluting energy sources to a more sustainable future, the U.S. risks falling behind. But a new green industrial revolution is gathering steam" in other parts of the world.
"Across the globe, countries are making investments in renewable energy," said Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America's Future. "Germany and China have made clean energy transitions, developing strategic emerging industries. There's a growing competition for leadership, and in the U.S., too little attention is paid to clean energy. Solar and wind have encountered fierce political opposition and have been caught up in budget conflicts. We need more serious commitment; we should build on America's bottom-up approach to economic development."
Looking back on the industrial revolution itself, Brown remarked, "Manufacturing created a middle class across the country. Manufacturing jobs have multiplier effects on the economy. And we can revitalize manufacturing and create more U.S. jobs by developing more clean energy projects. We need to create thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs right here, for next-generation workers" instead of moving such jobs overseas. "We just need to make sure we have the tools and resources."
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