Monday night’s dinner speakers offered a common theme: the future of our economy is tied to the future of our environment.
Keynote speaker Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell emphasized that the development of renewable energy is not just “a race for energy independence” but also “a race for economic superiority,” where we will lose our strong economic position in the world if we drag our feet. “It is absolutely criminal that we are moving at a snail’s pace.” (Watch the video.)
Gov. Rendell pointed to the Gamesa wind energy project in Pennsylvania as a model. Gamesa representative Michael Peck already addressed the dinner audience, explaining how their “sustainable partnership” with the United Steelworkers is on its way to bring 1,000 good-pay, high-skill union jobs to the Keystone State.
(Check out this American Prospect piece for more about how the Gamesa project came to be.)
Sierra Club president Carl Pope refuted notions that a healthy environment is not compatible with a strong economy, asking aloud, “Can we have a good jobs without a good environment? No.” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka offered a vision of a sustainable economy, with fair trade policies lifting up global labor and environmental standards, and energy policies that rebuild America’s manufacturing base. Trumka pronounced “it’s time for an environmental intervention.”
And Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer called for federal funding for cities so mayors can take the lead in creating clean energy jobs, warning that “we can no longer behave as if there aren’t any consequences from inaction.” (See this US Conference of Mayors press release for more.)