American Clean Energy and Security Act Passes

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The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which just passed the House in a close vote, is being seen by many energy and environmental advocates as an important step forward towards the comprehensive approach needed to reduce climate emissions and increase clean energy usage in the United States. As the Senate takes up its version of this legislation, Senators are being urged to build on the work of the House and strengthen the legislation to create accelerated reductions in carbon emissions, a faster phase out of dirty coal plants, and greater funding of clean energy sources.

The ACES bill, the first climate change bill to reach the Congress, includes the following key elements:

  • Clean energy: promoting renewable energy, low-carbon transportation fuels, electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission;
  • Energy efficiency: increasing energy efficiency across all sectors: buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry;
  • Global warming targets: placing limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants with a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050;
  • Economic transitioning: protecting U.S. consumers, and promoting green jobs during the transition to a clean green economy.

Climate change legislation may also include a new lighting standard. Liz Sidoti of the AP reports:

Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy.

“I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7% of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses,” the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.

Obama said the new efficiency standards he was announcing for lamps would result in substantial savings between 2012 and 2042, saving consumers up to $4 billion annually, conserving enough energy to power every U.S. home for 10 months, reducing emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars a year, and eliminating the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.

The president also said he was speeding the delivery of $346 million in economic stimulus money to help improve energy efficiency in new and existing commercial buildings.

Green America (formerly Co-op America), a nonprofit consumer and business membership organization founded in 1982, is encouraging the Senate to strengthen the bill through:

  • Greater funding and a faster timetable for a transition to clean energy sources, particularly solar and wind, which will reduce carbon emissions and increase green jobs.
  • Retention or expansion of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act to clean up dirty coal plants.
  • Reduction of allocations for polluting companies. Polluters need to pay for their pollution in order to fund increased investment in clean energy and green jobs.
  • Establishment of greenhouse gas emissions caps that achieve a 25% reduction below 2005 levels by the year 2020.
  • Nuclear power needs to be excluded as a clean energy source. Nuclear power is low-carbon, but with environmentally damaging uranium mining radioactive waste, proliferation potential and safety hazards, it is not clean energy.

“The world needs real U.S. climate leadership. ACES is a start, but we have a long way to go for legislation that addresses the scale and scope of the climate crisis,” states Todd Larsen, Green America’s director of corporate responsibility. “We look to the Senate to really step up to the plate. The future of our economy and our society hangs in the balance.”

House passage of ACES is seen by many as the first step toward building U.S. political will to address climate change. Strong U.S. action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to invest in renewable energy will be crucial to the global movement addressing climate change and to the success of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December of this year.

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6 Responses

  1. Steven Caron says:

    Its not enough, unfortunately the bill was weakened.

  2. Jim says:

    This unread bill needs to be really read and understood by lawmakers as well as the American public. Unfortunately it was rammed down the throats of the American people like so many other issues by a President and Congress eagar to make us all dependent upon government. There is a need to be good stewards of our resources, but this unread bill is not the way to do that while simultaneously growing our economy. At what cost is our freedom? AND…. I won’t even go into the fictitious issue of “global warming” especially when there is proof that it might just be sun variations instead of our atmosphere…. daaa. I am suspicious as to whether my comments will even be published in this forum. Have a great day and enjoy your freedom while you still have it.

  3. Bill Brown says:

    LETS BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS. THIS IS A HUGE TAX BILL. IT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH CLIMATE PROTECTION. THIS PAST WEEK IT CAME OUT THAT THE EPA STOPPED THE RELEASE OF A REPORT THAT CLEARLY STATES THAT CO2 HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GLOBAL WARMING AND THAT FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS THE WORLD TEMPERATURE IS GOING DOWN.

    PLEASE DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO MAKE SURE THE SENATE VOTES THIS BILL OUT. EVERYONE WILL BE PAYING A LOT MORE FOR ENERGY IF IT GOES THROUGH. THIS IS ALL ABOUT TAXES. PLEASE PEOPLE WAKE UP.

    THE ENERGY CONTROL ASPECT OF THIS BILL WILL PUT SMART DEVICES IN YOUR BUSINESSES AND HOMES SO THAT THE GOVERNMENT AND/OR UTILITIES WILL CONTROL THE TEMPERATURE. ANOTHER LOST OF FREEDOM.

    ALSO IF YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR HOUSE, YOU WILL NEED TO BUY ALL ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES, WINDOWS, FURNACES, AIR CONDITIONERS AND WHO KNOW WHAT ELSE BEFORE YOU WILL BE ALLOWED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SELL.
    ANOTHER LOST OF FREEDOM. WHEN DOES THE GOVERNMENT TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR HOMES.

    I TRULY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY SO MANY AMERICANS ARE WILLING TO LET THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO US. PLEASE DON’T KEEP SAYING, GEE THAT WON’T HAPPEN HERE, BECAUSE IT WILL IF THIS BILL GOES THROUGH.

    CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES TODAY, TOMORROW AND EVERY DAY TILL THIS BILL IS DEFEATED. THE NUMBER IS 202-224-3121, ASK FOR YOUR SENATOR’S OFFICE TELL THEM TO VOTE AGAINST THIS. YOU CALL WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE ONLY IF YOU CALL.

    EVERYTHING IN YOUR DAILY LIFE WILL COST A LOT MORE. PRESIDENT OBAMA STATED HIMSELF THAT ELECTRICITY WILL BE DRASTICALLY MORE EXPENSIVE UNDER THIS BILL. HE IS FORCING US TO USE LESS RATHER THAN TRULY SOLVING OR ENERGY ISSUES BY CREATING MORE ENERGY WITH OUR CURRENT RESOURCES. PLEASE HELP.

    RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED.

  4. Bill Brown says:

    Left a comment yesterday and it is gone without any notice. This is a second time a comment has disappeared, whats up

  5. Jim says:

    I guess Bill and I are the only ones that see what’s happening. It’s sad that the American people can be so suckered into this socialism.

  6. Ray says:

    Bill and Jim, count me third. This bill is not good for America. While we do need to begin the process of moving towards cleaner energy, ramming a bill through Congress just so we have “something” has never been a good idea. We need to slow down a bit and do things that make sense from a long term viability standpoint.

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