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Sun At Work In Cancun

Originally posted on Huff Post Green.

Hola! Greetings from Cancun where I saw immediate differences in this year's global climate talks from the moment I stepped off the plane. Instead of cold, cloudy Copenhagen, I was greeted by warm sunshine and a beautiful setting surrounded by the rich blue-green waters of the sea and bay. Last year I needed a parka; this year I need sunglasses. I'm hopeful improved weather is a good sign of an equally improved outcome. Delegates have a constant reminder (and distraction) to work through our shared challenges towards solutions.

The shining sun is perfect because I am here on behalf of the U.S. and global solar industries. But more than that, I am here to represent everyone who wants immediate, meaningful action on global climate change. This is the second international climate change conference where the solar industry will take its case to delegates and political and business leaders that solar power is ready, today, to help in the fight against climate change. We can do more and do it faster with solar -- now. Solar power means more energy, more jobs and less CO2.

But I am not here alone. I am joined by colleagues from across the solar industry on hand to inform delegates that solar power is a job-creating solution to the problem of climate change.

On Monday, we hold a news conference to highlight the impressive growth the industry has achieved in the past decade. In that time period, the U.S. solar industry has achieved a 40 percent compound annual growth rate and now employs 93,000 Americans and is projected to hire 26 percent more in 2011. Few industries can claim that growth and fewer still can say they did it while reducing the amount of pollution in the air.

We are also working with our solar colleagues from around the world to highlight what solar is doing now to fight climate change. We released a report with the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and more than 40 other groups involved in solar around the world showing that solar growth means jobs growth. Together, the U.S. and E.U. alone will create 1.8 million jobs by 2020 including 683,000 American jobs. More than a half a gigaton of CO2 emissions will be prevented -- equivalent to taking 110 million cars off the road or displacing the need for 100 large coal plants around the world (700 average-sized U.S. coal plants).

Regardless of the outcome here in Cancun, our political and business leaders can take meaningful action now accelerating solar deployment. We present this message and our global report at our official joint side event on Monday at 3:00 p.m.

While delegates work to try to complete the terms of a Kyoto Protocol successor, solar technology is already contributing to a reduction in the pollution causing climate change. In fact, it is powering their lights with the new Unisolar array on the roof of the Moon Palace, showing the world that our technology can be a major player in global mitigation efforts and replacing dirty fossil fuels, if the right policies are put in place.

Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO

 

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