AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement on President Obama’s climate change initiatives that he announced yesterday:
We welcome President Obama’s announcement yesterday that he will work closely with all stakeholders, including labor and business leaders, as well as state governments, as he develops an ambitious plan to address climate change, advance new energy-efficient technology and create good jobs. As President Obama said in the State of the Union address, the best way to address the twin problems of climate change and a weak economy is for Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation.
The president’s commitment to involve stakeholders gives us a path to a fair and effective outcome. Robust and meaningful participation by all stakeholders, including unions, throughout this process is the only way to avoid inflicting unnecessary hardship and suffering on workers and communities.
We believe that climate change solutions must come with an emphasis on job creation.
For example, a priority for the labor movement is the reduction of methane leaks in existing pipelines as we increase use of our abundant domestic supply of natural gas. Transportation and other infrastructure projects, modernizing our electric grid, and ensuring that renewable energy technologies are manufactured in the United States are all key elements of any program to move our economy forward as we take action on climate change.
The president’s proposal for $8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil-fuel technologies, including carbon capture and storage, is an essential way to harness American ingenuity to reduce emissions from fossil fuel use.
We know this will be an arduous journey. The labor movement looks forward to a full and open engagement with the administration and all stakeholders as this important process unfolds.