Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency
Over half of the fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted Renewable Electricity Standards, which require that a certain percentage of their power comes from clean sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal, . Bills that would create a nationwide Renewable Electricity Standard are currently moving through both the House and Senate. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a 25% standard by 2025 would save consumers $64.3 billion on energy bills, among other benefits including job creation and reduction of global warming pollution.
The United States has the opportunity to be a world leader in production of renewable energy. LCV is committed to turning this opportunity into a reality. The passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act in the House was an important first step toward spurring renewable energy development and moving America toward a clean energy economy. LCV is working with the Senate to strengthen and pass this landmark bill, which includes a national renewable electricity standard.
Improving energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to reduce global warming emissions. It's a simple concept - improve building and appliances so that they use less energy which reduces overall electricity demand. Rather than building new power plants to meet growing energy needs, we should use energy more wisely. Through new building designs and activities to weatherize homes, such as installing more efficient windows, we can cut down on the energy needed for heating and cooling buildings. Home appliances have become more efficient, and there is great opportunity for improvements in commercial and industrial sectors.
The Energy Independence and Security Act, which Congress passed in 2007, included important provisions to increase energy efficiency. It included incentives and standards for efficiency in buildings and homes and contained light bulb efficiency standards that will reduce global warming pollution by 100 million metric tons per year by 2010. Currently, bills are working their way through the House and Senate that would dramatically increase funding and requirements for energy efficiency.
Technologies to increase energy efficiency currently exist and should be employed on a nationwide scale, which would create thousands of jobs, save consumers and businesses money in the long-run, and help us use energy more wisely. LCV is working to ensure that comprehensive climate and energy legislation includes investments in and requirements for increased energy efficiency.
Power plants: Largest US source of global warming pollution
The United States gets almost half of its electricity from coal-fired power plants. These plants produce roughly 30% of all global warming pollution in the U.S. We need to reduce our dependence on old, dirty coal plants, and also ensure that increased demand for power doesn't lock us into decades of additional global warming pollution.
Dirty Fuels: The Wrong Direction Some members of Congress are pushing the U.S. to adopt a more robust program for turning America's coal reserves into fuel. Unfortunately, the process for extracting a usable fuel from coal produces a tremendous amount of global warming pollution. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, using coal-derived fuel produces nearly twice as much global warming pollution as gasoline.
Other dirty, high-carbon fuels that are being considered are equally troubling. Oil produced from tar sands - extracted through a water-intensive and destructive process - weighs in at three times as much global warming pollution as conventional oil. Oil shale is another resource that some hope to extract for oil. This resource is found throughout Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, some of the most stunning wildlife habitat in the U.S. The technology is largely untested, would increase global warming emissions and would require an energy and water intensive process that literally melts rock.
Rather than spending billions of dollars to support fuels that make global warming worse, we should focus our efforts on increasing fuel efficiency for cars and trucks and developing renewable fuels that can reduce global warming pollution and finally wean us off of oil.