$100b green plan can reboot economy: think tank

Robert Clark
25 Sep 2008

A think tank has proposed a 'green recovery program' for the US that it believes will generate 2 million new jobs.

The plan from the Center for American Progress (CAP) proposes investing $100 billion in green infrastructure and offering loans to boost private sector investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

It proposes retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency, expanding mass transit and freight rail, building a smart electrical grid and widening the use of renewable energy and next-generation biofuels.

Most of the federal spending would be in investment in public building retrofits, public transpor¬tation, and building smart grid systems because the funds 'can be delivered relatively quickly by the federal government,' the report says.

Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency would be funded through a combination of public funds, tax credits, and loan guarantees to spur private-sector investment.

The plan proposes $50 billion in tax credits for cleantech businesses and $46 billion in direct government spending, plus $4 billion in loan guarantees. CAP says a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions would generate revenue to repay the $100 billion in outlays.

The spending program would stabilize oil prices and cut US unemployment from its current 5.7% level to 4.4%. Over the next two years it would at least replace the 800,000 jobs lost in the construction industry since 2006, and would help stimulate renewed investment in the housing sector.

CAP group said the $100 billion green pro¬gram was 'roughly the same level of invest¬ment as the portion of the April 2008 federal government-directed economic stimulus package used for sending rebate checks back to taxpayers to boost house¬hold consumer spending.'

It would be an effective engine for job creation and economic growth as well as helping '[prepare] the way for the urgently needed long-term US tran¬sition to a low-carbon economy.'

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