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Feature Articles:

Ciizens Want Teeth In Environmental Laws

Fight Global Warming: Create Jobs and Benefit the Economy

Climate Control Would Save Millions Of Lives

Build It And They Will Ride

Flush With Success

Recycled Glass Applications Expand

Mass Transit Critical to Chattanooga's Turnaround


  Fight Global Warming: Create Jobs and Benefit the Economy

T he Kyoto Protocol does not need to be a job killer and a drain on the U.S. economy, as the Global Climate Coalition and other critics of the Kyoto Protocol have claimed," according to Howard Geller, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

...the coal and oil industries use worse case, implausible assumptions that lead to job loss and lower economic growth. "The Global Climate Coalition and the coal and oil industries use worst case, implausible assumptions that lead directly to job loss and lower economic growth. These assumptions include imposition of a carbon tax without offsetting reductions in other taxes, no consideration of technological innovation, no cost savings from energy efficiency improvements, no benefits from reducing smog, soot, and acid rain with the same technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and no international trading or joint implementation. In effect, the Global Climate Coalition assumes the Kyoto Protocol would be met in a costly, inflexible, dumb manner," noted Geller.

"New technologies, such as more efficient appliances, lighting, vehicles, and industrial processes, as well as renewable energy sources, are the key to cutting GHG emissions without harming the economy. By taking a technology-oriented approach, the United States and other nations can create new industries and jobs, save consumers money, and greatly reduce GHG emissions," Geller continued.

Geller recently testified before the Small Business Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on the positive economic impacts from combating global warming. He presented nine examples of small and medium-sized businesses that are growing and thriving by either manufacturing energy-saving products or renewable energy equipment, or employing energy-saving practices in their own operations.

Among these examples:

  • Southwall Technologies, based in Palo Alto, CA, makes low-emissivity coatings and films used in energy-efficient windows. The company has 250 employees; sales revenue grew from $18 million in 1993 to $50 million in 1997.
  • AstroPower Inc., based in Newark, DE, manufactures solar photovoltaic cells and modules. With 185 employees, sales revenue grew 65% per year on average over the past five years.
  • Trigen Energy Corp., based in White Plains, NY, owns and operates cogeneration facilities and district heating and cooling systems. Trigen now has 760 employees, up from 200 five years ago.
"These are not isolated examples. There are thousands of businesses that are manufacturing, selling, or using energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and, in doing so, are profiting from reducing GHG emissions. The lesson is that by encouraging technological innovation rather than adopting onerous carbon taxes, we can grow the economy and cut pollution," stated Geller.

Previous studies by ACEEE and others have shown that the U.S. can achieve its Kyoto target with a net increase of 800,000 jobs by 2010. "A shift away from fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum and towards greater energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies would be good for the U.S. economy. It would save consumers money, cut oil imports, and shift consumer expenditures towards sectors of the economy that are more labor-intensive than energy supply," commented Geller.

The Global Climate Coalition consists of coal and oil producers and some manufacturers that use large quantities of these dirty fossil fuels. "It is no surprise that the GCC would use worst case assumptions to mislead the public about the job impacts of shifting from fossil fuels towards greater efficiency and renewable energy sources," concluded Geller.

For the full text of the ACEEE testimony on the economic impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on small business, visit the ACEEE web site at

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