According to a recent survey, a large majority of small business owners support government investments in clean energy, and believe these investments can create jobs and boost the economy.
The poll, released by the Small Business Majority, also revealed strong support for clean air protections, including recently released EPA standards that require new power plants to reduce carbon pollution and other harmful emissions. Medical experts saythese rules are critical to protecting the health of American families.
Small businesses have a lot to gain when creative, innovative energy policies incentivize breakthrough technologies and drive market competition. We’ve seen how safeguards and health standards drive innovation, from the boom in clean car technologies to the development of sulfur scrubbers and other pollution controls at power plants.
These innovations create jobs, too. In the last quarter alone, 126 organizations haveannounced plans that could create up to 46,000 jobs in the clean energy industry, all over the country. These jobs come not only from established companies like GE and General Motors, but entrepreneurial startups like Blade Dynamics in New Orleans, a wind turbine manufacturer, or the family-owned Classic Metal Roofing in Piqua, Ohio, which makes energy-efficient roofs out of recycled steel.
Clean energy initiatives spell opportunity for small businesses, and for the economy as a whole. A recent report from Brookings Institute, WRI and Breakthrough finds government investment in clean energy over the past five years has paid off handsomely, prompting billions of dollars in private sector investment, doubling renewable electricity generation, and helping American manufacturers boost their market share in advanced batteries and vehicles. Brookings experts estimate that the clean tech sector added 70,000 jobs during the height of the recession.
Small business owners understand that cleaning up our energy supply, whether it’s through the development of renewable energy or cutting pollution from traditional energy, is an important part of America’s economic growth. But it’s also a personal issue, particularly for families. Scientists agree that carbon pollution from power plants is dangerous for children, because it raises temperatures, increasing smog levels and thus triggers asthma attacks.
Developing clean energy is better for our health and our livelihoods. Poll after poll shows that Americans across the political spectrum support clean energy and stricter limits on air pollution. Small businesses need every edge they can to stay afloat during this downturn, and can ill afford to lose the opportunities that arise from new standards. However, big polluters with deep pockets traditionally oppose government efforts to protect public health, and see clean energy as a threat to the status quo. They’ve got plenty of ears in government; but so do we, the people.