Even as results were trickling in last week, North Carolina environmentalists had begun celebrating an election that promises a paradigm shift toward green energy and environmental sustainability.
So says Carl Samuelson, a 23-year-old campaign organizer for the Raleigh-based Environment North Carolina.
Not five days after the election, Environment North Carolina released a comprehensive blueprint for how the U.S. can escape its dependence on foreign oil.
Other environmental advocates already have begun calling on the president-elect and Congress to make substantial investments to deliver energy savings, new green jobs and environmental benefits by boosting wind and solar power.
The Environment North Carolina report makes the case that America has enough renewable potential — through solar, wind and geothermal energy — to power the country several times over. But harvesting such energy will require substantial up-front investments and years of work force training.
“When you start talking about $800 billion to bailout Wall Street, some of these numbers start to look like peanuts,” said Samuelson, who calls building a green-collar workforce his generation’s version of the New Deal. “This investment would guarantee a return on taxpayer dollars and create jobs.”
Environment North Carolina estimates a $100 billion investment in clean energy would create 2 million jobs nationwide and 62,000 jobs in North Carolina within a few years. That total would build on a small number of green-collar jobs already available, experts say.
“Clean energy in America is not some distant dream,” Samuelson said. “Not anymore. There’s just a huge potential for green architecture, green building and green jobs. The time to set goals and act on them is now.”