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The Keystone veto: You want jobs? Try this



by Stefan Thiesen

Photo by Stefan Thiesen


In the most contentious veto of his tenure, President Obama has rejected legislation that would have cleared the way for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. For now, at least, completion of the 1,200-mile conduit bearing crude from Alberta’s oil sands remains on hold. What continues, however, is the debate raging around jobs the project was expected to create.

Even before the bill reached his desk, Republicans were lining up to slam the President’s veto as a job killer. As The Hill reported:

Republicans are eagerly awaiting Obama’s stroke of the pen, believing every veto he makes will help them make the case that job-creating legislation is being blocked by a president of “no.”

“This is the first piece of legislation on his desk . . . and he will have to choose between hard working Americans and taxpayers or environmental extremists,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a staunch Keystone supporter.

“We will keep our word to the American people, and we are going to keep sending bills to his desk,” he added.

If it’s all about jobs – we’ll table the climate change discussion for now – then let’s talk about jobs.

The Keystone XL will reportedly create roughly 42,000 jobs, most of them construction jobs lasting about 19 weeks. This sounds like a lot of jobs until you consider that our economy is adding hundreds of thousands of jobs every month, 257,000 added in January alone.

Still, 42,000 jobs, even if they’re temporary, is nothing to sneeze at. The reality, though, is that Keystone XL is not happening any time soon. So, if this Congress is “going to keep sending bills to his desk,” there is legislation the President would likely sign that will produce way more than 42,000 jobs.

In fact, there is a legislative proposal that would add 2.1 million jobs to the economy over the next decade without the federal government having to spend a dime to create those jobs.

Not only that, but in addition to creating jobs, this proposal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels that could avert the most severe consequences of climate change.

The proposal I’m talking about is George Shultz’ Carbon Fee and Dividend.  Shultz, former Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, promotes this plan as the conservative answer to climate change, because it won’t increase the size of government.

It works like this:

A steadily-rising fee – starting at $15 per ton of carbon-dioxide – is placed on fossil fuels at or near the first point of sale, increasing by $10 per ton of CO2 each year. Revenue from the fee is divided up equally and returned to all households. Border adjustment tariffs are placed on imports from nations that do not have an equivalent carbon-pricing mechanism in order to maintain a level playing field for American businesses.

Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), a firm that corporations, governments and academic institutions turn to for economic forecasting, conducted a study on the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.

Here’s what REMI found: After 10 years, CO2 emissions would be cut 33 percent and 2.1 million jobs would be added to the economy, primarily because of the economic stimulus of recycling tremendous amounts of revenue into the pockets of people who are likely to spend the money.

That’s right. We can cut carbon emissions while ADDING millions of jobs to our economy. If you’re a member of Congress, trust me: You won’t lose votes by passing a bill that puts a check in everybody’s mailbox each month.

So, if this Congress is “going to keep sending bills” to the President’s desk in an effort to create jobs, make one of those bills Carbon Fee and Dividend. I have a hunch Obama will sign it.


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Mark mugMark Reynolds is Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


Take Time To Renew Your Spirit


Carl Sagan quote

Saturday At The Movies


Fun! Sometimes all it takes is one person willing to take a risk, and invite other people to join them, to change an experience from drab to extraordinary. Imagine if this happened every day after work, we’d all get home energized and happy.


Ontario Government Launches Climate Change Discussion Paper


glen Murray.climatehero*

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Citizen-based lobby group applauds Ontario Government’s public engagement on greening the economy

Hundreds of citizen climate lobbyists to participate in new discussion paper to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

(Sudbury, ON) – Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) applauds the government of Ontario for initiating public discussion on plans to transition Canada’s largest province to a clean energy economy. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change released Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper in Toronto yesterday. CCL encourages Ontarians to participate by reviewing the paper and providing feedback.

The discussion paper invites citizens, businesses and communities to share ideas about how to successfully fight climate change while fostering economic growth and keeping our businesses competitive. The paper is available on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s website.

“The Ontario Government is demonstrating great leadership in tackling the climate crisis,” says Cathy Orlando, National Manager of CCL Canada. “We look forward to engaging in the feedback process, particularly on carbon pricing, which will be an essential tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate disruption, while helping to diversify the economy and advance the province’s clean technology sector.”

Ontario is home to 35 percent of Canadian clean technology firms.  According to Analytical Advisors, an Ottawa-based firm that monitors Canada’s clean technology sector, sales in B.C.’s clean technology industry increased by 48 percent in two years after the introduction of the province’s revenue neutral carbon tax in 2008.

About Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a growing organization of more than 250 local volunteer chapters in Canada, the U.S., and worldwide that are pressing for progressive climate legislation. CCL is active in more than 25 ridings in Ontario. Currently, CCL citizen volunteers lobby representatives to support the carbon pricing mechanism, Carbon Fee and Dividend, and to end subsidies to fossil fuel companies. The former puts a direct fee on carbon-based fuels at the source, providing a market signal to invest in clean energy technology, while returning the fee’s revenue to citizens in the form of regular payments. CCL was founded in 2007 in California by Marshall Saunders, a recipient of the Grameen Foundation Humanitarian Award.

To learn more about CCL, visit:

Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

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It’s all about love, after all.

nothing in nature livs for itself

Share the love on Global Divestment Day


It’s time to show our love for creation, that nurtures and sustains us, and divest from fossil fuels.


I Would Love a Climate Bonus Cheque!


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Citizens Climate Lobby Postcard Campaign