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Climate control legislation needed to restore America's prosperity

Predictably the Big Three of the "pollution industry" -- oil, coal and petrochemicals -- are taking advantage of the recession by unleashing their lobbying legions in a last-gasp attempt to defeat climate change legislation.

Dinosaur Congress
RJ Matson / Cagle Cartoons

Predictably the Big Three of the "pollution industry" -- oil, coal and petrochemicals -- are taking advantage of the recession by unleashing their lobbying legions in a last-gasp attempt to defeat climate change legislation.

This despite the fact that President Obama made his plan to combat global warming by slashing carbon emissions a central issue of his presidential campaign last fall, and won by a near landslide.

The voice of the people apparently doesn't count much with industry critics who now are trying to scare the American people that the environmental regulations and taxes needed to carry out Obama's "green" will somehow cost countless jobs.

The argument of these conservative naysayers is specious at best. As national unemployment soars past 9.7 percent, the growth of "green jobs" in the engineering, manufacturing, and construction sectors in hard-hit states like California is one of the few bright spots amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

If the Big Polluters have their way they will abort millions of jobs in a fledgling green economy that already has generated over $6 billion in venture capital in California and an estimated $1.5-billion in Massachusetts.

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Obviously, the oil, coal and petrochemicals industries would rather see the president's proposed expansion of "green collar" jobs in solar, wind and other sustainable energies disappear than pay carbon taxes to offset their own spewing of greenhouse gases.

There is no indication that if industries like Big Coal or Big Oil received a pass to continue business as usual it would save any jobs, but numerous studies suggest it would exacerbate catastrophic global warming by the end of the century -- and perhaps before.

While coal production in the United States has grown over the last 20 years by a little over 30 percent, coal industry jobs have been cut in half. Big Coal is now trying to persuade Congress to allow it to use the oxymoronic "clean coal" excuse to avoid strict environmental regulations. "Clean coal" will bring no new jobs to hard-hit coal-producing states like West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.

Obama's clean economy and green collar jobs programs will spark the creation of 5 million new jobs in the next decade. Proposed White House penalties on U.S. manufacturers who ship jobs overseas will help ensure that unscrupulous U.S. firms trying to cash in on the green economy do not outsource the manufacturing of solar cells to China, India and Mexico.

Obama needs to locate that prime piece of furniture, put it front and center in the Oval Office and use his great gift of moral suasion to kick the pollution lobby off Capitol Hill and into the Potomac.

Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to the progressive Online Journal, www.onlinejournal.com .

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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