In the early 1940s, faced with the destruction wrought by the Great Depression and a brewing world war, the United States government established the Victory Bonds program. Through the creation of affordable government-backed bonds, the program gave Americans of modest means the chance to invest in their country during crises that called for immediate action.
Today, the fight against climate change demands that same urgency. That’s why The Nation is joining Green America in calling on Congress to pass a bill creating Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVB).
Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, CEVBs will allow any American to invest as little as $25. Advocates for the bill expect the sale of the bonds to raise up to $50 billion, which will then leverage an additional $100 billion from private and public investors. The money raised would fund essential tax credits to renewable sources like wind, solar, and geothermal, as well as companies specializing in energy-efficiency. These investments have the potential to lessen the demand for fossil fuels, reduce the amount of CO2 poured into the atmosphere, and create one million good US jobs.
Truly addressing climate change cannot happen just through investments in clean energy; as Chris Hayes pointed out in an essay for The Nation this spring, we can only avert planetary disaster if we leave destructive sources of energy in the ground—and if we force fossil fuel companies to forgo trillions of dollars in profits.
Earlier this spring, members of the Yes Men joined with indigenous activists to demonstrate what a truly bold energy policy would look like. Posing as US government officials, they spoke at the Homeland Security Congress, announcing a plan to convert the United States to one-hundred percent renewable energy by 2030. The activists then went on Democracy Now! to discuss their prank.