Working Together to Build the Clean, Green Economy

Working Together to Build the Clean, Green Economy

During Earth Week, we’re inviting sustainability thought leaders to share their views on environmental issues and trends. Today’s guest post is by BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas.

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.@GM FastLane Guest Post: By working together, we can create greener jobs and build greener vehicles. @BGAlliance
Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:35am

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This Earth Day we had a good reason to celebrate the high bar the auto industry has set for meeting today’s urgent climate challenges. The fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the assembly line today and in the future are proof of how working together, we can meet the nation’s economic and environmental challenges. What else can we aspire to accomplish when we address these two challenges together?

We’re better off today because workers, companies, environmental groups and the government came together around effective, forward-looking fuel economy standards and reinvestment in American manufacturing. We have the leadership of the UAW and the industry to thank for the most fuel efficient vehicles ever. Whether it’s state-of-the-art internal combustion engines and transmissions or next generation technologies like electric vehicles, the industry is proving today’s cars and trucks can successfully prevent carbon emissions while bringing jobs back to the auto sector and boosting economic growth.

The new generations of vehicles are delivering big results. Doubling fuel economy by 2025 is the biggest single step ever taken in the U.S. to cut greenhouse gas emissions and one of the largest worldwide—reducing annual emissions equal to about 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions today when fully implemented.

In addition to taking a major step forward to address climate change, the 2012-2025 light-duty vehicle standards in combination with existing standards for medium and heavy duty trucks will save the U.S. three million barrels a of oil a day in 2025. That’s more than a quarter of transportation fuel and more than the U.S. imported from all OPEC countries 2014. The fuel savings from these new, efficient vehicles will also save consumers over $1.7 trillion at the pump.

Building the next generation of vehicles in America means investment, innovation and jobs in a new generation of manufacturing facilities. Autoworkers building new fuel efficient pickup truck engines and transmissions, electric motors for the Spark EV and over one million fuel efficient Chevy Cruze vehicles aren’t just building cutting edge technology, they’re doing it in facilities that are pushing the envelope on clean energy generation and waste reduction. It also means investment and jobs in the hundreds of companies across the country that build components for these vehicles.

So where does the momentum created by the auto industry take us? It helps give us a model that can keep on delivering in the auto industry, in manufacturing, and in other industries altogether.

The domestic auto industry is more competitive than ever, sales are up and consumers are saving money at the pump. As a result, the cars and trucks that are rolling off assembly lines today stand as an example of how significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions can rebuild the economy and continue to support the high environmental standards to which we aspire. Those are results that can be replicated in other industries as we modernize infrastructure, energy systems and more. It’s exactly the kind of good for the environment, good for the economy investments we are working everyday to recreate.

On Earth Day of all days, it’s important to remind ourselves of how far this kind of work can reach into the future.



Kim Glas is Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.