“President Obama’s actions today have huge implications for U.S. energy and climate policy. Granting the California waiver would mean that half the country’s new-car market will come under tough new emissions requirements. This step would set a new standard for automakers throughout the country and spur the introduction of new technology like plug-in electric hybrids.
“Enactment of the economic recovery package is another step in the transition to clean energy technologies. Investing in energy efficiency is particularly valuable because it can put people back to work immediately and provide real savings to consumers. Buildings account for 70% of our electricity use, 33% of our natural gas use, and 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions. America’s building industry is flat on its back and ready to take on this new assignment. The recovery package could be even stronger in this area, and a broad coalition supports $20 billion in funding over the next two years.
“What’s most important is catalyzing changes in utility regulation at the state level so that energy efficiency investment continues after the federal dollars run out. Then this won’t be a one-shot deal, it will have changed the rules of the game.”
About the Energy Future Coalition
The Energy Future Coalition is a broad-based, nonpartisan alliance that seeks to bridge the differences among business, labor, and environmental groups and identify energy policy options with broad political support. The coalition aims to bring about changes in U.S. energy policy to address the economic, security and environmental challenges related to the production and use of fossil fuels with a compelling new vision of the economic opportunities that will be created by the transition to a new energy economy.
Reid Detchon is Executive Director of the Climate and Energy program at the UN Foundation, in addition to his capacity as Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition.