Energy to an Economy is Like Oxygen to the Human Body
The Chinese smart priority on diversifying their energy portfolio and creating jobs is something that we should match them on, again.
Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor and host of The Messy Truth with Van Jones. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season. In response to much civil unrest and energy post-election, Jones launched the #Love Army -- a values-based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts.
Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice, including The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and The Dream Corps.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor.
He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root's 2014 "The Root 100." In 2017, Van Jones signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator & activist in their family. Jones lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife & two children.
You have a Chinese dictatorship in a foot race with a democracy over who’s going to own the energy future. The democracy was winning and then we got stuck on stupid in D.C.
So the dictatorship in China is now poised to outcompete us. We don't have anything to learn from them about most things. There is something to be said, though, for some level of national consensus building for what used to be called industrial policy. The idea has become a dirty word in the United States, but it’s a common phrase all around the world. The idea is there’s some things in your country that are special and you may want the national government to take a special interest in. Energy is always special to a country. Energy to an economy is like oxygen to the human body. No energy, no economy. No oxygen, no human body.
So energy is special. And my view would be China has recognized that and they have a plan. Now, they have a top-down plan dictated by the government of what to do. We need to put some market signals in place so that we can get some bottom-up innovation so that we can also take energy and climate seriously. I don't think we should follow their dictatorial approach, but their smart priority on diversifying their energy portfolio and creating jobs is something that we should match them on, again.
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