California Answers Obama's Call to Seize Our Sputnik Moment

Yesterday’s launch of the “Clean Energy Jobs Initiative” by California’s Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez proved yet again that they are clean energy champions who understand that using smart energy investments, incentives and policies can accelerate the state’s economic recovery and growth.

California is known for innovating game-changing technologies and this initiative will help bolster its ability to compete for a leadership position in the fast-growing, multi-billion dollar clean energy market.

The legislative leaders’ new plan will fuel the fastest-growing economic sector: clean technology.  By increasing demand for renewable energy, expanding incentives for energy efficiency and training a vibrant, talented ‘green’ work force, the “Clean Energy Jobs Initiative” will grow the state’s economy and put more people to work. California already attracts 60 percent of all clean tech venture capital in North America. Over the last five years, more than $9 billion in venture capital has been invested here. The results are hundreds of thousands of new jobs, more than 10,000 companies, and an employment growth rate three times that of the state’s overall economy. These economic benefits are due, in large part, to the state’s landmark clean energy and climate law, AB 32, which passed in 2006.

What’s more, Steinberg and Perez are carrying out the will of the people: last November, Californians overwhelming endorsed the State’s leadership in building a 21st century clean energy economy by resoundingly defeating Proposition 23.  Our fellow citizens and Legislative leaders understand that you can have a strong economy while preserving clean air and healthy communities.

In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he highlighted our opportunity to unleash a wave of innovation that creates new industries and millions of new jobs. “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he said, highlighting his plans to send Congress a budget that allows us to invest in, among other things, “clean energy technology, an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

By introducing this initiative, California’s legislative leadership is stepping up to seize our generation’s Sputnik moment.

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