June 2009 Archives


The US House passed the first climate change legislation in the history of the nation, by a narrow margin. Whatever the pitfalls of the new legislation, the nation is now on its way to being part of the solution to climate change.

Despite opposition rhetoric claiming the move will be will be a "job-killer", the United States can now join other leading groups of nations (The European Union) and nations (China, Japan, Australia, Korea) in developing a clean energy economy.

From cleaner electricity, building design and transportation to the development of new cities, the US can again innovate. And these new jobs cannot be exported as much of this new work can only be done in the United States.

Yes, some jobs will be lost in dirty oil, gas and coal production. Many more jobs, however, will be created as the world for the first time purposefully shifts its transportation and electricity/ building energy sources at the same time.  

With the Stimulus money starting to go out the door and financial credit markets still frozen from the economic meltdown, Washington DC's funding seems to be the only thing keeping the cleantech project sector afloat.

So said Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council for Renewable Energy during a conference call earlier this week.

"The generic financing situation is impacting our sector," Eckhart said to a few hundred listening in on a conference call, which was aimed at reviewing the first 120 days of Stimulus performance.

Eckhert said in the wind and solar markets that a majority of financing has been pulled, largely by European banks, with wind financing down 75 percent from 2008, which he called a "great year". He also mentioned that the AIG and Lehman Brothers' struggles and Lehman's subsequent disappearance decelerated clean energy tax equity investments.

The year 2009 is almost like starting over, he inferred. "That's how urgent this has become."

"We have to create a new model," he said of the vacuum in clean energy financing. In terms of Stimulus funding, he proposed the US government continue its efforts in getting liquidity going through grants and loans ("70 percent of the Stimulus for clean energy will be spent by June 2010"), and then phase it out as private equity returns to what he characterized as a fast-growing market.

World markets for wind and solar are looking stronger than ever, Ekhart said, with China and Italy now starting to add to the already strong demand in Japan, Germany and California.  


About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

July 2009 is the next archive.

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