Pew to Highlight Clean Energy and National Security at Midwest Energy and Climate Policy Conference

Pew to Highlight Clean Energy and National Security at Midwest Energy and Climate Policy Conference

This week, The Pew Charitable Trusts will participate in the fourth annual "Midwest Energy and Climate Policy Conference," an event bringing experts from across the Midwest and the country to discuss clean energy and climate change state and federal policies. Experts from Pew will discuss the ties between climate change and our national security as well as American competitiveness in the expanding global clean energy economy.

Former U.S. Senator John W. Warner, a spokesperson for the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate (Pew Project), will give a key note address Wednesday on the ties between U.S. national security, climate change and our energy use. A recent report by Pew detailed the Department of Defense's ambitious clean energy programs in service of economic, security and environmental goals. The report, “Reenergizing America's Defense,” described efforts by the military – whose usage accounts for nearly 80 percent of the U.S. government's energy consumption – to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and cut global warming pollution by enhancing energy efficiency, harnessing clean energy technologies and developing alternative fuels.

“Throughout history, the men and women of the Armed Forces have been among the first to respond to situations abroad to provide humanitarian relief, to help a nation maintain its sovereignty or to provide support in times of severe shortages of basic human necessities,” said Warner. “The Department of Defense has been an engine of innovation, pioneering development of cutting edge technologies such as the internet and global positioning systems. Building on this record, the department will continue to help the United States develop and deploy the clean energy technologies our nation and our troops need to be safe, secure and prosperous in the future.”

Defense and intelligence experts have found that situations of instability can worsen from the impacts of climate change as water and food supplies decline, storm intensity increases, agricultural patterns are disrupted and migration increases due to conflict or resource shortages. In February 2010, the department's four year strategic planning document, the Quadrennial Defense Review recognized climate change as a key issue playing a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has identified energy as one of the department's top-25 transformational priorities.

Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's climate and energy program, will discuss the job, business and investment trends in the Midwest, and America's competitive position as detailed by two recent Pew reports. The first report, The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering Jobs, Businesses and Investments Across America, developed a clear, data-driven definition of the clean energy economy and conducted the first-ever hard count across all 50 states of the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services. The second report, Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World's Largest Economies, released in March, looked at key financial, investment and technological trends related to G-20 members and the clean energy economy.

Pew's analysis found that between 1998 and 2007, jobs in Missouri's clean energy economy grew at a rate of 5.4 percent, while Missouri jobs overall grew by 2.1 percent. Missouri was part of a national trend that saw job growth in the clean energy economy outperforming overall job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia over the same period. Nationally, jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a rate of 9.1 percent while total jobs grew by only 3.7 percent, between 1998 and 2007. Globally, clean energy investments have increased 230 percent since 2005 and for the first time, China took the top spot within the G-20 and globally for overall clean energy finance and investment in 2009. The United States slipped to second place.

“While people may not think of Missouri as a ‘windy state,' it's actually a national leader. Last year, the city of Rock Port became the first community in the United States to be powered exclusively by wind,” said Cuttino. “Missouri, like many Midwestern states, has a strong manufacturing base that is well positioned to produce clean energy goods and products. But, states and countries are jockeying for leadership in this expanding sector realizing it is a path to renew manufacturing bases, create whole new jobs and businesses, export goods, and seize market share”

“At Straight Up Solar we know the importance of supporting and contributing to environmentally responsible, sustainable energy production,” said Eric Swillinger, Co-Owner and VP Business Operations of Straight Up Solar. “In Missouri we have seen the value of educating and equipping our communities so that they can take part in this effort. We believe that innovation in solar and other clean energy technologies benefits not only our environment, but also our economy and our nation's security.”

Forty-four regional clean energy businesses have signed on to an advertisement, “Will American be Left Behind?” calling on Congress to pass strong, comprehensive clean energy legislation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create clean energy jobs, strengthen America's global competitiveness and protect our environment. The advertisement will run in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, June 9th.