WH: 'Retrofitting Buildings...Is One Way to Create Jobs'

May 8, 2014 - 7:55 AM

construction

(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - As job growth lags in the sluggish economic recovery, the Obama White House is pointing to climate change policies as a fix:

Efforts to reduce carbon pollution, far from costing jobs, will create them, a White House spokesman told reporters on Wednesday:

"Retrofitting buildings and modernizing them is one way to create jobs," Josh Earnest said. "It saves companies money in terms of their energy costs, but it also creates jobs in terms of people who are installing updated lighting, modern heating and cooling systems, and other things that make buildings more efficient."

Earnest noted that President Obama has boosted efficiency standards for the manufacture of appliances and vehicles. "All of that saves consumers money in terms of energy costs, but it also creates good manufacturing jobs here in this country," he said.

President Obama on Friday will talk about making buildings more energy efficient as one way of reducing carbon pollution.

"This is a leading trend that we're going to see all across the world that other countries and other markets are going to turn to more energy-efficient products to try to deal with carbon pollution," Earnest said.

"So there is an opportunity that exists for American businesses right now to get ahead of the curve; that if we can develop an expertise in manufacturing energy-efficient appliances and energy-efficient cars, that will open up export markets all around the globe. This is also true when it comes to manufacturing for wind turbines and solar panels, that there's an opportunity for the United States to assert dominance in this market.

"We're seeing other countries that are mobilizing their resources to try to get a toehold on all this. But there is an opportunity for us, for this country, to do the right thing when it comes to the economy -- I mean, when it comes to the environment and climate change, and also do the right thing when it comes to job creation and economic growth."

Secretary of State John Kerry also talked about energy policy and job creation at the State Department on Wednesday.

"The solution to climate change is energy policy," Kerry said. "And we have to do a better job, all of us, in investing in new clean energy technologies and connecting energy markets from Chile to Canada."

"And here in the United States, this is an extraordinary opportunity. We don't even have a grid. We have an East Coast grid, a West Coast grid, a Texas grid and a little line that goes from Chicago out towards the Dakotas. That's it. Huge centerpiece opening in the belly of America. You can't sell energy from those wind farms of Minnesota or Iowa to somewhere in the south. You can't sell solar thermal energy from the south to the north where they need it. It's ridiculous.

"It's almost insulting for a great country like ours, with our capital and our capacity, not to have yet developed a modern, smart energy grid for this nation.

"So we believe in this future of energy policy for this hemisphere, of linking Canada, U.S., Mexico, all the way down through Latin America. And that's exactly the idea behind the program that we have created called Connecting the Americas 2022. This initiative is about encouraging private sector investment in renewable energy, and ultimately providing cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power for citizens all across the region."