In Bill Clinton's talk at Fortune Green in Laguna last week he said though he was a little disappointed in certain aspects of Obama's stimulus bill, he would have probably done the same thing -- taking a "B bill" in lieu of an "A+" bill in the attempt to expedite the political process and get the capital markets flowing.

In general Clinton felt that there was not enough spending in the bill, and he was greatly disappointed that the bill did not offer loan guarantees for energy efficiency building retrofits. Instead the $18 billion allocated for building retrofits will go out as direct grants. An SBA-like loan program would have triggered private lending, leveraging that money by a factor of 10:1.

According to Clinton, every $1 billion spent on energy efficiency creates 6,000 jobs. So a loan program would have resulted in $180 billion of capital and a much more significant creation of 60,000 jobs.

He offers other suggestions for Obama and the Congress, including the use of federal buildings and vehicles to demonstrate how renewable energy can reduce costs. His 10 recommendations...

1. Provide longer term tax credits for clean energy, which would allow private capital to bank on longer term investments.

2. Mandate a rapid shift in lighting & appliance standards for all federal buildings.

3. Create a federal mandate to decouple all utilities so that energy efficiency measures can be financed more easily.

4. Spend more money on the electrical grid -- wind could provide 25% of the country's energy needs but there is basically no carrying capacity in areas with wind resources.

5. Build a market for electric vehicles by retiring the federal fleet and replacing them with hybrids and plug-ins.

6. Mandate a new more energy efficient building code for new federal, state and local buildings.

7. Since SBA-like loan guarantees didn't happen for building retrofits, the Fed should incentivize the states to adopt their own loan programs.

8. Create a federally backed global fund for clean energy projects in developing nations -- this will support the education of children and women, and the reduction of population growth.

9. Focus on "symbolic statements" of energy independence – Puerto Rico, Caribbean, Nevada, Native tribes could all be energy independent.

10. Spend more on implementation of climate change legislation and use the private sector to accelerate adoption.

Lastly, Clinton recommended getting the 6-8 countries that succeeded in meeting their Kyoto targets (out of the 155 nations that signed it) to set up an implementation process for the Copenhagen agreement. The UK which has a similar economy to the U.S. succeeded in meeting its Kyoto target, and it is one of the few nations that did not have an increase in income inequality or separation of wealth.

Why? Because it required the country to ramp up its new energy industry, stimulating  growth in new and better paying jobs. He believes the same will happen in the U.S. 

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