US unions, green groups to stump for climate change bill


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2009 at 3:31 PM EDT

US labor unions and environmental groups on Tuesday announced plans for a nationwide campaign to boost support for legislation to promote "clean energy" and battle climate change.

The 'Made In America' Jobs Tour will open Thursday in Ohio -- a critical political battleground in US presidential elections -- and visit 50 sites in 22 US states, including other major toss-ups, the coalition said in a statement.

Leaders of the United Steelworkers, Service Employees International Union, Utility Workers Union of America were to join heads of major US environmental groups on a conference call Wednesday to formally launch the campaign.

The tour "is aimed at highlighting the benefits to American workers and businesses of transitioning to a clean energy economy that will create millions of jobs," according to a statement announcing the move.

The US Senate is poised to consider climate change legislation when it returns from a month-long August break in early September, three months before December global climate change talks in Denmark's capital Copenhagen.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation in June that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050, create "green" jobs and wean the US economy from oil imports.

Those levels would be reached through a "cap-and-trade" system that caps pollution levels for large industrial sources but allocates them pollution permits that can be traded.

US President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the Congress mostly support the legislation, which they say will help avert environmental calamity while fostering the growth of well-paid "green" jobs.

The House measure faces fierce opposition from Republicans and some business groups who charge it will cost jobs at a time when the battered US economy is mired in recession.

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