Senate unveils new climate and clean energy legislation

picture-11Today, Senators Kerry and Boxer kicks off the Senate’s efforts to pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill by introducing the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act. Many climate advocates have applauded today’s introduction as a crucial next step for Congress to pass national legislation that reduces global warming pollution, creates jobs and ensures that the United States is a leader in developing and deploying clean-energy technologies at home and around the world. 

While some important provisions are not yet spelled out (such as how billions of dollars worth of pollution credits will be allocated), the current draft of this bill does reflect some important improvements over the legislation passed by the House of Representatives this summer including a strengthened emissions cap with reduction targets of 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020; provisions to enhance energy efficiency in buildings and transportation; and significant investment in innovative technologies and clean technology deployment.

Support for innovative and emerging technologies is critical: it will be essential to nurture and then deploy new technologies that are abundant, replicable and globally scalable if we are serious about addressing climate change.  Technologies that are heavily dependent on government subsidies decades after their deployment, such as nuclear power, may not be a cost-effective climate solution for our region or the rest of the world.

In the coming days and weeks, SACE and our allies will spend time analyzing this bill to determine where it can be strengthened, such as through an amendment ensuring polluters pay for for carbon credits to provide protection for low-income consumers.  Moving forward, it is critical for Senators to stand firm against Big Energy’s efforts to weaken this bill in their last-ditch attempts to stall our nation’s shift to a clean energy economy. nikelogo The Senate has the opportunity to deliver the kind of comprehensive policy that science says is necessary to address the growing threats from climate change while unleashing a clean energy economy to power the 21st Century.

As Nike – a strong corporate supporter of climate action – would say, Just Do It.

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The Climate Change Bill reads:

“… nuclear energy supplies consistent, base-load electricity, independnet of environmental conditions … nuclear power plants virtually eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases …”

Yet there’s a compelling reason not to go that route:

“An astrophysicist from Tufts University has pointed out in his research that even after controlling the greenhouse effect, the earth would warm up due to heat wasted from energy use. The scientist suggests that solution lies in using renewable sources that don’t add extra heat to the planet.”

Above from: Energy waste causing another global warming / One World South Asia (http://southasia.oneworld.net/todaysheadlines/energy-waste-causing-another-global-warming/?searchterm=energy waste causing another global warming)

Meanwhile…:

“… according to a 2006 analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Electric, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, offshore wind resources on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts exceed the current electricity generation of the entire U.S. power industry.”

Above from: Wind Power That Floats / Technology Review (http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/20500/)

Indeed, the Colossal Magnetic Levitation Wind Turbine simply uses Permanent Magnets to reduce friction = operates with wind as slow as 2 MPH = approx. $50 million price tag.

And so…, use Wind Power to make clean Hydrogen for backup in power plants…

Here Consider:

“Most modern generators can switch between gas and fuel oil, and many can switch to coal as well.”

Above from: Fuel Substitution: Power Plants Currently Switching to Natural Gas / Seeking Alpha (http://seekingalpha.com/article/162361-fuel-substitution-power-plants-currently-switching-to-natural-gas)


Comment by Michael L. Wagner on September 30, 2009 8:52 pm


Thanks for your commentary and citations, Michael. At the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy we are strongly supportive of developing the abundant offshore wind potential of the Southeastern United States to provide significant amounts of clean, CO2-free energy close to where our population centers are: the coast. Below are a few of the many reports and data maps demonstrating the vast offshore wind potential we haven’t even begun to tap here in our region:
Yes We Can: Southern Solutions for a National Renewable Energy Standard (http://www.cleanenergy.org/images/files/SERenewables022309rev.pdf)
Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America Report: 20% by 2030 (http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/filter_detail.asp?itemid=1917)
Department of Energy’s Wind Resource Maps (http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp)


Comment by Jennifer Rennicks on October 1, 2009 9:03 am


This bill will help strengthen our economy and make our country more secure. It will generate jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. It embraces major elements of the American Clean Energy and Security bill that passed the House of Representatives in June. Both bills establish methods to replace dirty, polluting fossil fuel factories with clean solar, wind and other methods of producing clean energy.

This draft legislation puts Americans back in charge of their energy future. Clean energy supports strong, stable economic growth and uses the ingenuity and vision of Americans to help the US in leading the world to a cleaner future.
Americans have enjoyed government supported oil for years, which has resulted in fuel prices that are lower than 70% of other nations and have led to our becoming the most wasteful people on the planet. We have the biggest homes, the biggest cars and use the most fossil fuel per capita. Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy and helps our enemies. This bill will make people realize that the days of waste are over, as it helps us devise new ways to meet our future energy needs without pollution.

We can expect Big Oil and Coal to use their massive profits accumulated off the backs of hard working Americans to stall progress on this clean energy and green jobs legislation. Don’t let it happen.

Dan Gerst
Communications Chair, Upstate Branch
US Green Building Council-SC Chapter


Comment by Dan Gerst on October 2, 2009 8:40 am


Thanks for your comments, Dan. SACE agrees that this legislation is a solid start to the kind of climate and energy policies we need to lead us into the 21st century and away from the 19th century fossil-fuel thinking that has driven our economy for more than a century.

While there are weaknesses in the proposed legislation that should be addressed, such as the high levels of offsets which will make it difficult to monitor and reduce the impact of emission cuts, the proposal is a starting point. We cannot expect the fossil-fuel giants to lay down and passively accept a change in the energy economy – they will pull out all the stops to halt progress with paid ads, lobbyists and (as we have seen over the summer) lies. Voices in favor of this kind of policy shift are needed more than ever – the battle is just beginning….


Comment by Jennifer Rennicks on October 7, 2009 8:04 am


The proposed legislation may help motivate Corporate America to adopt cleaner methods of generating power. IMHO profit is a more effective motivator and does not burden the economy the way legislation can. There are solutions available that increase profits while providing cleaner energy. The amazing new processes offered at http://www.swapsol.com do just that.

We can be Clean, Green, Economical, Profitable and Environmentally Responsible at the same time.


Comment by jon00052 on October 7, 2009 6:25 pm


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