Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Bill Clinton on Clean Energy Independence

by Captain Future Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 04:46:59 AM EST

After his speech the other day opening a conference on Securing the Common Good, sponsored by the Center for American Progress, President Bill Clinton answered some questions from his audience--students at Georgetown University, where he spoke 15 years ago about his priorities in his upcoming campaign for the presidency.

I've put these remarks in the U.S. election context at my Dreaming Up Daily, but since what I say is mostly a repetition of what Jerome has said here and at Daily Kos, I thought I would simply share with you the relevant quotes, after the jump.  


In his speech, Clinton talked about the problems of growing economic inequality in America, the problems of outsourcing, the massive national debt to countries like China and even Mexico, and solutions to these and other problems. He mentioned the Climate Crisis, which is one of the target areas of the Clinton Global Initiative.

In the question and answer period afterwards he said that even though he believed his policies aided the booming economy of the 90s, when the federal government erased its debt and created a budget surplus, and economic inequality declined, he noted that the engine of the private economy was the maturing of information technologies and their spread throughout the society and the world.

He said our economy needs a new source of good jobs and innovation. And he said what astonishingly few politicians are really talking about:

"So government policies can reduce inequality, but we also need new jobs that pay well. And the lay down, obvious, sitting here, slapping-us-in-the-face answer is to make a commitment to a clean, independent energy future. It will create millions of jobs, and many of them are not exportable."

He offered examples--and what he would do politically:

" I was in Denmark a couple of weeks ago. In the last few years their economy has increased by 50 percent. Their energy use during the same time frame increased by zero - nothing. They invested in conservation. They kept jobs. Their unemployment rate is about what ours is, but their wages are rising and inequality is going down because of a combination of new jobs and government policy.

Same thing happened in the U.K., the economy most like ours of all the European economies. They've had rising wages and declining inequality because they're going to beat their Kyoto targets by 50 percent and they created all these new jobs in doing that. So whether its biofuels, conservation, wind, solar - you name it - we are making a big, big mistake not getting after this big time, not only because of climate change and national security implications, but because that's where the jobs were. If I were here like I was 15 years ago as a candidate I would say to the American people, 'If you want to do this in a big way, vote for me; if you don't, find somebody else because this is all I'm going to work on till I get it figured out.' Because this is just a huge opportunity."

Display:
"I was in Denmark a couple of weeks ago. In the last few years their economy has increased by 50 percent. Their energy use during the same time frame increased by zero - nothing."

Figure Two: Development in GDP, CO2 and Gross Energy Consumption (sourced: "Energy in Denmark: Development, Policies and Results" 2000

Damn, that's pretty impressive.

"Same thing happened in the U.K., the economy most like ours of all the European economies."

http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sustainable/quality04/maind/charts/04a02.gif">

Not too shabby.

What about the U.S.?

Well, "energy intensity" is decreasing, but overall energy consumption still seems to be increasing, in contrast to Denmark and the U.K. where it has been flat.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 09:56:34 PM EST
Oops, messed up the graph for the U.K.:

Looking at it again, energy consumption is not quite flat, but it seems flatter than the U.S.'s energy consumption rate.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 10:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with both Clinton and Gore on this topic is that they had the chance, for eight years, to move in this direction. But they didn't. It's ok to change your mind, or see the light later on, but why would one believe that given another chance, they would not again cave in to the autoworkers unions?
by asdf on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 10:39:55 PM EST
I agree--and say in my full essay at Dreaming Up Daily--that Clinton-Gore missed their chance, perhaps because they did not campaign on these issues.

But as for caving to the autoworkers--they happen to be on board for the Apollo initiative to do precisely what Clinton advocates.

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Sun Oct 22nd, 2006 at 02:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so little so late...but MUCH better than nothing!

o let the dem president run on this!

most all else is details...

why wasn't kerry all over this like brown on rice?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 22nd, 2006 at 02:47:06 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]