Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, I have come to the floor this evening to speak about a bill that we hope to have on the floor in the next couple of months that is going to be styled the ``American Clean Energy Jobs'' bill. It is the right name for the bill because it will jump-start, kick-start and initiate an economic recovery based on the growth of clean energy jobs in this country. And it is timely, it is vital, and we believe it is possible this year to really give a boost to the American economy by helping create the millions, and I say that with an M, the millions, not hundreds, not thousands, but the millions of new jobs that we can create if America fulfills its destiny to become the arsenal of clean energy for the world. America is a country with a very special destiny. We have fulfilled the destiny to bring democracy to the world. And later we served as the arsenal of democracy during World War II. We armed the rest of the world with the tools they needed to defeat the powers of darkness during World War II.
And now we will have a bill on the floor shortly that will call on the American economy to produce the clean energy jobs and tools to essentially provide a new clean energy future for the world. And when we do that, we believe we will dramatically expand our economy, dramatically expand Americans' employment opportunities, and as an additional side benefit, dramatically reduce the pollution that today is threatening, in a very serious way, the way we live. We will also, at the same time, dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And as a side benefit, we will dramatically increase our national security, because we know that our addiction to foreign oil is a security risk to the United States.
I want to start talking about this bill from its first job, which is to create jobs for this country. In the current economic malaise we are in, we have got a couple of choices. We can sort of roll over and play dead and not take bold action to jump-start the American economy by seizing this opportunity to start new businesses in this country that can create employment. Some people in this Chamber still think that is what we should do, which is nothing. They are unwilling to make the investments both in governmental action or in the dollars that it is going to take to really create these clean energy jobs.
We think they are wrong. We think inaction is not the American way. We think America should take bold action to create clean energy jobs and that Congress has the responsibility to create the policies that are going to help create those jobs in this country.
So if I can, let me just start this discussion tonight by talking about just some very simple samples of the kind of jobs that we believe need to be jump-started in this country. I will start in Michigan, a State that has been so hard-hit right now with some difficult times in the auto industry. I will mention a couple of companies that if we do the right thing can really expand employment.
One is General Motors, which is going to bring out a car called the Volt in a year or two. The Volt is a plug-in electric car. The Volt is a car where you can plug it in at night and the next day run it on all electricity for about 40 miles, which is really cheap. It is about 1 cent a mile, maybe a little more to run, compared to 7 or 8 cents a mile for gasoline. And 60 percent of all the trips we take a day are less than 40 miles. But if you want to go more than 40 miles, then it will run on the internal combustion engine that is in the car as well. And you can drive it for 250, 300 miles, bring it home at night, plug it in again and you are off to the races the next morning on very inexpensive electricity, very quiet electricity and very nonpolluting electricity.
Now at some point, they may use some batteries by another company. It is a Massachusetts company called A123 Battery Company. And A123 Battery Company now, because of some policies we just adopted in the stimulus bill, we hope to be able to open a manufacturing plant in Michigan to provide the advanced lithium ion batteries that we think can be the backbone of an American electric car industry.
Now those two companies, General Motors, we know they are in difficult times, and A123 Battery Company, have the potential to employ thousands of Americans in high-paying manufacturing work if--if--Congress takes a path of action to develop the clean energy policies we need to drive investment into those companies.
And that is what is at stake tonight. What we are talking about is making sure that those jobs of the future don't go just to China, where China has a very aggressive national policy to build electric cars. We need some national policies to make sure that they are done here.
I go to Washington State and I hail from Washington State. Take a look at the McKinstry Company, which is a little company that just started providing advice on how to do efficiency. And then they figured out that they could save corporations millions of dollars a year by teaching companies how not to waste energy, how to save energy. That company has now grown to hundreds of people who are working in Seattle, Washington, basically teaching companies around the world how to save energy. And that company is now probably the leading energy efficiency company in the world when it comes to teaching companies how to save energy. And hundreds of my neighbors and constituents are working there saving energy. That company needs policies that will continue to drive investment into efficiency and away from waste. And we need this clean energy jobs bill that we will be introducing on the floor shortly to make sure that that happens.
Right up the street from that company a few miles is the Bio Novartis Company. Bio Novartis has figured out a way to help an algae-based biofuels company make essentially gasoline and other automobile and other fuels out of algae. And they figured out a way to get light to the algae using a glass tube to provide light into these algae pools that one day will power our cars. And they are not the only company doing it. There are other companies. I met a guy in a ferry boat in Seattle who has a company called Sapphire Energy that does the same thing. They are doing their work in New Mexico and San Diego.
These companies need policies, though, that give them a level playing field viz-a-viz the old type of energy we had, which was gasoline. They don't have a level playing field right now because the deck is stacked in the law right now to favor gasoline, the old kind of gasoline, rather than the new kind of fuel. And we will talk tonight about how this bill will level the playing field.
The list goes on and on about the companies. About 4 miles from that other company is a company called AltaRock. It is in northern Seattle in the Greenwood district. And they have the potential of hiring hundreds and thousands of employees doing what is called ``engineered geothermal.'' Engineered geothermal is a new type of way to produce electricity. What you do is you drill a hole down in the Earth. You pump water down. It picks up the heat that is in the Earth's crust. You bring it up hot, about 300 degrees, and you use that water to generate steam and then electricity. Zero pollution, all American energy, using pretty old technology. They have got to improve their pumps to make sure they can pump under high temperature positions. They have to do some geological testing to see where this works best. But drilling holes isn't totally rocket science. AltaRock has the potential to generate enormous job creation in this country.
You go about 5 miles from that company to downtown Seattle and there is a little company I met called Glosten Engineering. They are a marine architecture firm. It is a relatively small company now. They have about 65 employees. They are now starting to work on how to design offshore wind turbines, where we can put wind turbines off our shorelines, say 10 miles off our shorelines, where there is enormous wind potential where we might be able to provide 10 or more percent of our electricity from offshore wind. This company can grow and provide employment in the construction, not only the design, but the construction of these offshore wind turbines. They are going to design floating platforms for these 200-foot towers to be offshore. And that is going to require massive construction for cement, iron workers, steelworkers, machinists and the like.
Now what do all these companies have in common? What they have in common is they have great ideas. They have the potential to create nonpolluting energy in America and grow thousands of new jobs in this country. But what these companies need is a kick-start. And they need some messages from Congress that we are going to treat them fairly. Now, right now they are not treated fairly. The cards are stacked against these small businessmen and women, these entrepreneurs who are creating these new technologies. And the reason they are stacked against them is that the laws essentially, right now, allow a cost to be imposed on Americans by polluters that the polluters don't have to pay but citizens do. Citizens today have to incur the costs of what is happening because of pollution.
Pollution is going to be costing Americans big-time in the next several decades. It is going to cost them in loss of jobs associated with the decline of our forests, because we are putting too much pollution, carbon dioxide, in the air. That is changing the weather. And the weather is killing our forests. And people are going to lose jobs in the forest products industry because of the deaths of our forests. And costs are being imposed on our citizens right now that the polluters aren't paying, citizens are paying, and loss of jobs and loss of revenue. Fishermen are going to lose their livelihoods, and costs are being imposed on them because we are going to lose our salmon stocks because of changes in precipitation. We are in a prolonged drought right now in the West. And we have already experienced some decline in salmon stocks associated with no water in the rivers during the summer months, plus the threat of ocean acidification because pollution goes into the atmosphere, goes back into the ocean and changes the acidity of the ocean. Costs are being imposed and not paid by polluters.
We are going to experience very substantial costs caused by polluters when we get sea level changes associated with melting that is going on right now with the Arctic and potentially Greenland that will be relatively slow but will require very significant expenditure of infrastructure improvements. So right now, costs are being imposed on citizens that the polluting industries are not paying.
We are going to do a couple of things in this clean energy jobs program. We are going to basically make sure that investment goes to these new companies to create these jobs and that the cost of this pollution is put where it should be, not on the citizen, but on the polluting industries. And we are going to do this in kind of a simple way. It sounds complex, but it is really quite simple. We are going to do, right in this bill, a bill that will essentially do what we have already done in America for pollutants in several ways. In sulfur dioxide, for instance, several years ago, we had an acid rain problem.
So we decided and Congress passed a law that essentially limited the amount of acid that could be put in the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide, because sulfur dioxide went into the atmosphere and then made acid rain.
We are doing the same thing right now with carbon dioxide that is making acid oceans. It is doing the same only on a much, much larger scale. But there is a loophole in our law. This pollutant, carbon dioxide, is not covered by our antipollution laws. And as a result, citizens are going to have to pay for that unless we change that law.
So what this bill will do is exactly what we did for this other pollutant, sulfur dioxide, and it put a cap on the amount of pollution that is going into the atmosphere every year, and it will make the polluting industries pay for permits to be allowed to put that pollution into the atmosphere. And that money, significant parts of it, will then be recycled back to American consumers to help with their utility bills.
So three things will happen under this bill. And they all will result in what we want to achieve which is the creation of American jobs in these clean energy technologically driven companies. These three things that I am about to describe will all drive investment into these new jobs.
Number one, the creation of this cap once we limit the amount of pollution going into the atmosphere will immediately make these new jobs much more cost effective and much more attractive to investors because once there is a cap on some of these old polluting ways to use energy, now the new, clean energy companies become much more attractive because they are not subject to this cap.
The engineered geothermal jobs of the future will not have to buy a permit because they are not putting out pollution. The lithium ion battery producers in Michigan will not have to buy a permit because they are not pollution. The Bio Novartis Company with algae-based fuel is not going to have to buy a permit because they are not putting out pollution. And those jobs will immediately become much more economically tenable. That is the first way it will work.
The second way it will work is that it will put the cost of this problem where it belongs, which is on polluting industries. No longer will that be borne by citizens, John and Sally Citizen. It will be borne by the polluting industries. They will have to go out and they will have to buy permits from the government to be allowed to continue putting acid into our ocean and pollutants into our atmosphere that is changing our planet. That seems fair to me; and it also seems fair to my constituents.
And the third thing that will happen is that the money that the polluters pay for these permits, some of it is going to go into research, some of these clean jobs; some of it will help industries clean up their act. But a bulk of it is going to go back to consumers. It is going to go back to citizens either in their paycheck or some tax credit, or perhaps a direct distribution to them.
So the bulk of the money that the polluters will have to pay will go back to citizens to help them with their utility bills. So this will mean that Americans in this bill will get more jobs. They are going to get help with their utility bills, and the polluters will pay for that.
What I am here to report to those who may be interested in this subject, and there are those here who still resist this idea because they are still fear mongering because they resist change. People who resist change, they try to create fear. They are going to try to create fear that this is going to drive people into bankruptcy for doing this.
But I will tell you, when you ask Americans do you think it might be a good deal for you to get a tax credit and the polluters have to pay for that and we increase our energy independence and decrease our pollution, we have asked Americans what they think and by margins of somewhere between 20 and 40 percent margins, people realize it is a good idea, even if it requires some up-front investment. And this will require some up-front investment. It will require some costs, but Americans' common sense understand that makes sense because Americans understand you don't get something for nothing.
What we are getting here is job creation, a clean future for our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids, increased energy independence, and help with our utility bills. And Americans by huge margins favor that kind of an approach. We have asked them what they think.
Now, we have had some experience with this before. In the next several weeks, and already you are hearing the fear mongering that is going on. Some people in this Chamber are trying to scare Americans to think that the sky is falling if we take this approach. They have tried to drum up fear that this is going to cost Americans numbers that they pull out of the air that are pretty fantastic, thousands of dollars that are not substantiated by the economic analysis, and, secondly, are not substantiated by what America is about. What America is about fundamentally is innovation and optimism. What we have always learned through our experience in this country is if we put our minds to it, we can innovate our way out of almost any challenge.
The best example of this is what happened when we have seen this movie before, and we have seen this movie before. This movie played out in the Clean Air Act where people said that if we did exactly what we are doing right now, if we put a limit on the amount of acid rain and sulfur dioxide going into the atmosphere, and if we charged polluters for permits to put that pollution out, people came to this Chamber and said if you do that, it will drive Americans across the country into bankruptcy because utility bills will skyrocket and you will be facing huge, double, triple prices of your utility bills because the utilities will have to increase their costs. They will pass it on to utility ratepayers, and there will be these desperate economic conditions. That is exactly what people said in this Chamber.
What happened in reality? What happened in reality was that good old tried and true character of Americans kicked in, which was to innovate, to invent new ways to reduce this pollution. And very bright American scientists went to work and invented ways to capture sulfur dioxide, make sure it did not go up the smokestacks, at half the cost or less than what was predicted by the fear-mongers.
The other thing that happened is that we cleaned up our lakes, and we saved our lakes for our grandkids, where there might be some fish in them. It was a hugely successful program at less than half the cost predicted. And why is that? It is not because Congressmen and Congresswomen are smart or even lucky. It is because American businessmen and American scientists are smart and ambitious and creative, and they created the technologies to solve this problem. That is what is going to happen when we pass this bill now. American businesses, some of which I talked about tonight, are going to get the investment and they are going to create these clean energy jobs. They will get out there and figure out a way to produce electricity in a cost-effective way to in fact have the potential over the long run to reduce our utility rates.
The reason I say this is we really have two choices
that will be presented to Congress in the next month or so. One choice is the status quo. And, unfortunately, a lot of my friends on the other side of the aisle are going to advocate for the status quo. In the status quo, we remain addicted to oil from the Middle East. I can tell you over the long run that price is not going to go down. It is going to go up and down over time, but over the long run, we are facing limited supplies of oil and increasing demands on oil. When the Chinese start driving cars, as they are starting to do, over the long run, with the limited supply of oil and an increasing demand in China and India and other places, don't predict that prices of gasoline are going to go down. They are going to go up over the long run.
The status quo, people who are against this bill who don't want to do anything about this problem, who just want to use fear to prevent people from acting, they want to remain hooked to oil. They want to remain slaves to the needle of oil addiction. We have to break that addiction. It is our only path to job creation in this country.
What we are saying is we have got to get out there and create new sources of energy. We are going to be burning oil for some time. There is no question, this is not going to happen overnight. But we have to start the transition where Americans can start to have their own energy sources that are beyond oil, frankly. And, fortunately, we now have the ability to do that.
By the way, those people who think electric cars are just some kind of Tonka toy, take a ride in a Tesla. I got in a Tesla in Seattle the other day. It is a little sporty thing. It goes zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche. I rode in one and of course we obeyed the speed limit because I am a Congressman and I always do, but it was like getting into a rocket sled to feel that acceleration. I haven't been in a car that quick since I was 17 years old. That car is expensive right now, and not many Americans are going to be driving a Tesla. But a lot of Americans are going to be driving a Ford Focus, which is going to be all electric, and a lot of Americans are going to be driving a General Motors Volt, and a lot of Americans are going to be using electricity generated by wind power and solar power from the BrightSource Company.
By the way, we have this power all over the country. I talked to the BrightSource Company. I met them in California last weekend. They now have either hundreds or thousands of megawatts under contract. They do what is called concentrated solar energy, and they use mirrors to capture the sun's energy and they reflect the sun back up into a central tower that is about 100 feet tall. On top of this tower is a canister of oil or some product, it might be sodium, and they heat it up to terrific temperatures, and then they create steam and electricity from that. This company is going gang-busters, but what they need is fairness competing against some of the other technologies that are still allowed to put their junk in the air for free.
I have another company called Ramgen up in the State of Washington. They are building a compression technology that might allow us to burn coal and take the CO
2 from the coal and bury it underground and sequester it. This is a compression technology that will decrease the cost of doing that.
But what they need is this bill that will create American jobs by creating a cap on the amount of CO2 going in the atmosphere. This bill will do some other things to help the emergence of these companies.
It is going to create a promise to Americans that we are going to get a certain percentage of our electricity from clean energy sources. And 22 States or more have now adopted these laws. Every single one of them has worked. Every single one of these States that has set these goals for a percentage of their electricity is on target to meet those goals. We have one in the State that I am from, in the State of Washington, that was adopted by popular vote. Now we need a national goal that is called a renewable energy standard. We are talking amongst ourselves to figure out what that number should be right now, but it should be somewhere in the neighborhood of a fifth of our energy by 2025 to get from renewable sources, and this is eminently achievable.
The Department of Energy and various other entities have evaluated this, and this is an achievable goal. We know that, again, once we put these innovators to work and let them loose, we are going to get tremendous technological innovation to get this job done.
We are also going to create mechanisms to help these small businesses do this research. You know, we know what Uncle Sam can do. Uncle Sam is only going to play a part of this. Most of this will be driven by private enterprise. Most of it is going to be driven by private equity and lending from the private sector. But Uncle Sam does have a role to play in some of the over-the-horizon technologies.
Like in the original Apollo Project when we went to the Moon, Uncle Sam promoted the research and development, and we went to the Moon.
In World War II, Uncle Sam invented, with its nickel weapons systems that were incredibly powerful, and that was as a result of Uncle Sam's research and development.
Now Uncle Sam needs to step up to the plate and do the research and development that can now jump-start these clean energy jobs.
So who's going to pay for that research and development? Well, in this bill, the people who are going to pay for that research and development in the amount of about $15 billion a year are the polluting industries that are putting the pollution in the atmosphere today, unchecked, unregulated, in infinite amounts, at zero cost. They're going to pay for this research and development, not the taxpayer, not the individual American citizen. Because when these permits are sold at auction for these pollution permits, that money is going to be taken and put into a fund that will go to research and development to help these companies develop these over-the-horizon technologies. Now, that's the way it should be because we know we can be creative and we know that's the place that should fund this.
So the long and the short of it is that, by creating this limit on pollution, we make these jobs more economically competitive, number one. Number two, we create a financing mechanism to help the companies that are going to hire these people in these new jobs paid by the polluters.
Number three, we create a standard, a legal standard that utilities will need to meet of at least a portion of our energy will be guaranteed to come from clean energy sources. Those are the first three things that we do.
Fourth, we create a thing called a low carbon fuel standard, which will create a standard which will call for Americans to have more cleaner fuels over time so that companies that sell transportation fuels will be able to have--they will be required basically to provide cleaner energy sources to America and put out less pollution over time on a transition period.
Fifth, we're going to create in this bill, I hope, and it's not a done deal yet, but I hope we will be creating a thing called a green bank, where Uncle Sam will provide a revolving fund that will provide lending for some of these businesses at what is called the ``valley of death.'' A lot of these businesses, you get the people in a garage, they come up with a brilliant idea. They get some venture capital, create a prototype of their device. It works. They scale it up, but when it comes time to put it in the factory, to the build the first factory, they can't get a loan because banks just won't loan on sort of the first commercial-sized projects.
So in this bill financed by polluting industries, from these permits we will be creating a revolving fund. So in this credit crunch that we're now experiencing, these business will be able to, in fact, get access to capital.
This bill is going to be action-oriented. This is change. It is big change for our economy. And when you are in moments of crises, as we are, and when you think about it, we're sort of in a perfect storm of crises right now. We have had this enormous economic challenge that we're experiencing, huge reductions in capital so these businesses can't get capital--not just clean energy businesses, but any businesses right now--very high unemployment. So we have got an economic challenge.
We have a national security challenge. We're involved in two wars right now, and it is not accidental that one of those is in an area where the oil comes from. It's not accidental that a lot of the threats this Nation faces are from oil-rich areas. It's not an accident. It's a fact. Until we wean ourselves from our addiction off that oil that comes from that region, we're always going to be embroiled in these security threats.
So we have got a national security threat. We have an environmental threat that is also a national security threat. We have got a letter from 20 generals who have told us that if we don't solve this problem of global warming, we're going to have a national security threat of mass migration, because as droughts continue to affect the areas south of us and in the northern and sub-Saharan areas of Africa, you're going to have mass migrations of people and you're going to have collapses of governments, and you will continue to see what we're seeing in North Africa right now, of governments that just don't function because their society has literally dried up and blown away with their topsoil.
These generals are telling us that global warming is a security risk to the United States over the long run and have urged us to take action to limit the amount of carbon dioxide going in the atmosphere. So we have these multiple crises right now that are all hitting us all at once.
Now, it seems to me that when you're in that kind of situation, Americans want action. And that is what this bill, the American Clean Energy Jobs bill, will give Americans, which is action. Inaction is not an option here.
Unfortunately, at the moment, and I hope this will change, my colleagues across the aisle have insisted, No, no. Things are good enough. We will just leave them the way they are. We don't need these clean energy jobs by the millions. We don't need clean energy. We don't need to address our national security threat of addiction to oil. We don't need to address global warming, and we don't need to address the Chinese.
I want to address this for a minute. We are also in an economic race with the rest of the world. I don't mean to single out China, but I will just start the discussion with China.
We are in a race today to create these clean energy jobs, and we're not really winning that race today because other countries around the globe have got the drop on us. They're out of the gate first with policies that will support the creation of clean energy jobs in their countries, not ours.
That's got to stop. I am tired of Germany leading America in the production of solar energy because Germany has adopted what's called a feed-in tariff, which essentially creates something like we're going to create, which is a demand for clean energy. We have a little different version. We call it a renewable electrical standard. And they're now leading America.
We created these technologies in our country using American capital and American smarts. We invented solar energy, but the Germans are commercializing it and leading the export market around the world because Congress has sat on the dime and hasn't created these policies like the German Government has. I'm tired of that. We need to change that.
I'm tired that the Danish Government, because they created policies to drive investment into wind turbines a decade and a half ago, that the little country of Denmark, with 45 million people, is outproducing us, until very recently, in wind power. Now, we just passed them a couple of months ago, but with 300 million people in America and the most brilliant people in America, we should not be allowing the Danish, who I love as a people--and a shout-out to Sven Auken, a friend of mine. He was the environmental minister who led this movement in Denmark. He saw something two decades ago coming, and they created some policies to help clean job creation in Denmark. But I want those jobs right here.
Now we're getting them back. The Clipper Wind Company in Iowa, the Gamesa Company in Pennsylvania. We have one of the largest wind farms in my State in Washington, but not fast enough. I'm not satisfied.
Take a look at what China is doing. I met in California last weekend a senior advisor to the Chinese Government. He told me just matter of fact, We're going
to build electric cars. Unless you change in America, we're going to dominate this field. And the Chinese and Chinese Government are making massive investments now in developing the electric car.
We are going to be in a race with China to figure out whether we're going to make the electric cars in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, and maybe the Carolinas, or whether they're going to be made in China, and we lose again to an Asian country that got the drop on us in technology.
I will not stand here and allow the Chinese to become dominant in the electric car industry. My side of the aisle is going to insist that we adopt policies to build those cars here.
Now we have started down that track. In our stimulus package, we put $2 billion in to assist the development of the domestic electric battery companies so we can make those batteries and cars here. Yesterday, I was at the White House--time flies around here--meeting with President Obama about how we do this energy bill. He urged us to pass this energy bill. I agree with him on this.
We reached an agreement yesterday in a program called Cash for Clunkers. We, on my side of the aisle, are going to put a Cash for Clunkers provision in this bill, which will basically tell Americans if you're driving kind of a clunker that gets substandard mileage, below 18 miles a gallon, if you turn in your car and buy a new car with higher gas mileage, at least the CAFE standard, you will get a $2,500 voucher from Uncle Sam towards buying that new car. And that amount will go up the more fuel efficient the car is. I think it's up to $4,000. Don't hold me to this, but I think that's the amount it goes up to.
So Uncle Sam is going to give Americans an incentive to buy a fuel-efficient car and get off the road some of these inefficient cars to create jobs in this country. And that's one way we're going to help Americans in this clean energy transition.
It's not the only way, because Americans are also going to get cash in their pockets, either through a tax credit or some other mechanism that we're designing right now.
So we're going to take measures that make sure that America gets in this game of creating clean energy jobs in this country, and we recognize that we don't have the luxury of time like some of my friends across the aisle think. They think we can wait another 20 or 30 years to do this. We cannot wait to do this. We have got to do this right now.
We have got to create clean energy jobs right now or the Chinese, the Germans, and the Danish are going to do it. I mean, again, no disrespect to these other countries. They're great countries. They're competitive. They're eager. But we should not allow our technology to be mastered by them.
I want to talk right now, because we have some very important people in the Chamber right now that have just entered the Chamber, about the ability to use coal in our future.
Right now, we have great Americans who are working in the coal industry, and they're working hard and they're producing huge amounts of energy for Americans today. The problem is, unfortunately, that we need to find a way that we can use coal in a way that will reduce the amount of pollution going into the atmosphere. To do this, we think that there's an opportunity to be able to find a way to burn coal in a way that doesn't put massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
So what we are doing in this bill, in this Clean Energy Jobs bill, we will be taking money from polluting industries and creating a fund which will go to researching how we can find out a way to do what is called carbon sequestration. It's a fancy word for taking the carbon dioxide out of the coal-fired plants, electrical generating plants, and take that carbon dioxide and burying it in the Earth permanently.
If we can figure out a way to do this, we will find a way to use coal for decades. If we can't find a way to do this, it's going to be difficult to use all the coal we have, because if we burn all the coal we have, it will be good, cheap power, but it will also essentially change life as we know it in this country based on climate change.
So what we're doing in this bill is we're creating a fund that will help the coal industry have a long-term survival in this country, and they will be able to have assistance in this bill to generate over a billion dollars a year for research into coal sequestration technology.
Now, the reason I point this out is I think some very good people here in Congress are being a little shortsighted, and they are not seeing the benefit of generating funds that can go to the research and development of this new technology, technology that we clearly need to solve this problem. If we don't generate this money to create this technology, people in the coal industry eventually are going to have difficulty because of the inevitability of the climate change that we face.
Now, if I can, just for a minute I would like to address that issue of why we can create jobs while simultaneously dealing with climate change. First, I want to address a little bit the problems we face on climate change.
Climate change is now a fact, not a theory or hypothesis. We have direct observational evidence that carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has skyrocketed during the industrial revolution. It has gone from about 250 to about 360, 370 parts per million. It will continue to rise to double the levels of carbon dioxide. This is simply a fact.
Now, the problem with carbon dioxide is you can't see it, you can't smell it, you can't taste it. But it has a nasty little attribute, and no scientist today anywhere who has a scientific degree will disagree with this statement: It has the attribute of trapping a certain spectrum of radiation that can go in as one spectrum of radiation but can't go out when it is reflected off the surface of the Earth. All scientists of any repute recognize that.
So we are now involved in this massive experiment where we are the guinea pigs of what happens when you double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Now, unfortunately, we are seeing what happens when you do that, and we are seeing it right now with our own eyes.
The Arctic is melting. The Arctic in the last several decades has decreased by 40 percent, and many scientists believe in the next decade or so it will disappear in the late summer months almost in total; it will just have a fringe of the Arctic.
We are seeing tundra melting rapidly in Alaska. We are experiencing droughts. We are experiencing by the millions of acres death of our forests because it doesn't get cold enough to kill the beetles, and they then kill the trees.
We are seeing changes in patterns of migration of our animals. We are seeing off my coast in the State of Washington creatures we have never seen in the State of Washington before off our coastline.
And, importantly, we are seeing increases in the acidity of the ocean. The oceans are becoming more acidic. And this isn't related to temperature; this is related to carbon dioxide, which comes out of our smokestacks, drifts over our oceans, goes into solution; and, when carbon dioxide goes into solution it makes it more acidic. The oceans today have 30 percent more acidic ions in them than they did in pre-industrial times. So we know we have to deal with this problem. By the way, there is no debate about ocean acidification. And even if we could solve the global warming problem, unless we create these green collar jobs and green energy jobs, we won't solve this problem. So we intend in the next several months to succeed, as we have always done, and by innovating to create these clean energy jobs.
Now, people are going to talk about: If we do this, that this is going to cost Americans, this fear factor that people are going to try to scare people in, they are going to tell Americans it is going to cost thousands of dollars a year. It just doesn't hold up to any economic analysis, an analysis by MIT, which by the way has been incorrectly cited by some of my colleagues here. We have a letter from the MIT professor that basically said the total cost to the U.S. economy averages out to about 18 cents a day for the investments that will be involved in changing this. The EPA studies that have looked at this have concluded it will be in the $200 to $300 range a year of investment that will create millions of clean energy jobs.
These investments we know succeed because we have confidence in American businesses and American workers and American scientists to create these new clean energy jobs; and when we give them the investment they need, they will produce what we need, which is new technology. And this bill will be the largest jump-start of American technology since the original Apollo project.
Now the Democratic members of the Commerce Committee went to the White House to meet with President Obama yesterday, or the day before, and we talked about this bill. We are shaping this bill in a way that is fair to every region and takes into consideration the needs of certain industries.
By the way, I will point out something that is very important in the bill. We want to make sure that jobs don't go overseas as a result of this bill. And if some electrical rates go up as a result of this, we don't want to see jobs in steel mills or cement plants or aluminum plants go overseas to places where electricity may be cheaper. So what we are doing is we have a provision that Congressman MIKE DOYLE of Pittsburgh and I have worked on which will give benefits, free permits, to the steel, aluminum, other energy intensive, trade sensitive businesses. They will get free permits. The reason we are doing this is so they will not have a disincentive for keeping those jobs in this country. We are designing this bill in a way that is sensitive to make sure we keep jobs in this country and this does not distort our job creation, and it is being carefully designed to achieve that.
What President Obama talked about, I just want to cite one thing he said. He said that Members of Congress come here for a reason, and that reason is to very rarely and infrequently have a chance to do something historic.
This is a truly historic moment for America. It is a moment where we have the opportunity to seize the destiny of this country, to create a clean energy future for the country, to reduce pollution, to increase our energy independence. And that only happens when men and women of good faith come together to find a consensus that will create clean energy jobs, will limit pollution, will require polluting industries to pay, and will in fact move this country with a great, great leap forward in technology.
You don't do that by doing nothing. Doing nothing is not an action. We will be doing something historic in this bill, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this clean energy American jobs bill. I look forward to the many ribbon cuttings that we are going to have as a result of this bill when these companies start up and start hiring Americans and start manufacturing the electric cars and wind turbines and solar cells and engineered geothermal and all of the things we are going to do to help create job creation in this country. That is a future worthy of this country. That is a bill worth passing. I look forward to it.