[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The MGM Mirage CityCenter is one of the world's largest green developments"] Americans have been frustrated at Congress' stonewalling on job creation measures. And progressives have been incredibly disappointed in Congress' failure to pass any meaningful climate change legislation this past decade, even as the scientific consensus on climate change becomes clearer and clear. The good news is that we can create some positive momentum going on clean energy without waiting for Congress. And we create jobs doing it, to boot. Here's how. First, the White House can free up $2.7 billion in funds already allocated for clean energy job creation by local and state governments in the Recovery Act. The money was set aside for Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds so that local and state governments could finance local clean energy projects. This would create jobs, give locals experience and training in emerging technologies, and reduce carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil. The problem is that the congressional authorization was much too vague, and the bond counsels at the local level have been iffy on signing off on the bonds, fearing that federal funding wouldn't come through in the end because of a technicality. So a clean energy coalition has submitted a "We the People" petition to the White House to give clear guidance on the bonding procedure. If you want to see more funding for clean energy by local government in your area, you should sign the petition and pass it along to friends. Also, there's good news already from the Obama Administration that doesn't even require work on your part. They announced today a commitment of over $4 billion of public/private financing for retrofitting state and private buildings for energy conservation. When the projects are finished, state buildings in some cases will use 30% less energy, a huge benefit to the taxpayer and the environment. And of course, people will have to do the work of retrofitting all those buildings. Those are jobs that can't be outsourced, either, so the jobs will give locals cash, training, and experience. Longterm, we have to go much bigger on both jobs and climate change. But for this moment with this Congress, it sounds like a win, win, win to me.
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