Dear EarthTalk: What are “Clean Energy Victory Bonds?”
— Max Blanchard, Wilmington, DE
Green America, a non-profit membership organization that promotes ethical consumerism, created the “Clean Energy Victory Bonds” concept as a way to give everyday Americans the opportunity to invest in clean energy and related fields in a fashion similar to how the federal government raised billions of dollars for the war effort during World War II over a half century ago. At that time, four out of five American households purchased the original Victory Bonds, raising $185 billion (over $2 trillion in today’s dollars) to support the war effort.
Green America first offered up the new spin on the Victory Bond idea in 2009 as something people on both sides of the political spectrum could get behind. The group has been lobbying federal officials and legislators to consider the benefits ever since. New legislation, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, introduced into the House of Representatives this past August by California Democrat Bob Filner and 10 other co-sponsors, gets Green America a step closer to turning their vision into a reality. More than 40 other non-profit and advocacy groups and green investment institutions have allied with Green America in supporting the legislation as well.
If the bill becomes law, the new Victory Bond program would generate some 1.7 million new jobs in and around the renewable energy sector across the United States, and would extend the imperiled Production Tax Credit and other federal renewable energy incentives for as long as a decade. The beauty of the plan is that it allows everyday Americans to encourage cleaner, greener energy with a minimum investment and a guaranteed return—without requiring any direct budgetary allocations or expenditures by the federal government. Purchasers will be able to get in on the action for as little as $25, and will get the purchase price back plus interest in 10 years. Furthermore, projects supported through Clean Energy Victory Bonds will create jobs and business revenues that will bring in federal tax dollars while simultaneously reducing health and environmental costs nationwide.
The bill was referred to committee and could potentially come up for a floor vote before year end. Green America is encouraging everyday Americans to call their Congressional representatives and ask them to support H.R. 6275. Another way to get behind the effort now is to pledge to buy the bonds (via cleanenergyvictorybonds.org) after the legislation passes.
Yet another way to help is by spreading awareness about the bill and the good that can come from its passage. “Everyone who hears about this strategy loves it, because the bonds advance goals that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind,” reports Green America, urging everyday folks to tweet, blog and talk about the campaign and legislation—and to post a link to cleanenergyvictorybonds.org on their Facebook pages—so more conscientious Americans will find out about and get behind the concept.