6.18.09   •   Focus: Clean American Power

Transitioning to a clean energy economy is vital to creating jobs and increasing our national security. The Waxman-Markey bill will stop the flow of U.S. gas dollars to the Middle East, and invest in a diverse, comprehensive American energy portfolio.

Analyses from the EPA, EIA and others of the Waxman-Markey plan show that America will diversify our energy economy, move forward on long-stalled projects such as solar, wind, nuclear and carbon capture and sequestration, and create opportunities for new small businesses to break into the clean energy marketplace.

Renewable Energy

When the 20 percent by 2020 Renewable Electricity Standard in the Waxman-Markey bill is combined with the clean energy commitments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with forward-thinking state clean energy programs, the increases in American clean energy generation are huge:

Nuclear Power

Placing a market cap on carbon pollution creates a competitive advantage for carbon-free nuclear energy. According to EPA modeling of the draft Waxman-Markey plan, twice as many new nuclear plants would be built by 2025 under Waxman-Markey than without the legislation. The legislation also assists with the financing of nuclear power by establishing a Clean Energy Deployment Administration and reforming the existing Department of Energy loan guarantee program.

Coal and Carbon Capture Technology

By putting a price on carbon and investing in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies, coal plants will start to employ CCS by 2020 or earlier, according to the EPA analysis of Waxman-Markey. CCS technology is not only critical for the future of domestic coal - but for building a bridge to China and India in the fight against global pollution.


Hydropower is already the largest source of renewable power and will continue to play a role in our nation's energy portfolio. American Rivers and other environmental groups worked closely with the National Hydropower Association to craft a definition of qualifying hydropower that would be eligible under the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), giving credit to efficiency improvements and hydropower added to existing dams in an environmentally responsible manner. Better utilization of these existing dams has the potential to meet the power needs of nearly 8 million households.

Energy Efficiency

Waxman-Markey will update standards for our nation's appliances, buildings, factories and power plants, saving families and businesses energy and money while cutting emissions. Waxman-Markey will update standards for our nation's appliances and buildings, and encourage greater efficiency at factories and power plants, saving families and businesses energy and money while cutting emissions. An independent analysis of the bill says that the energy efficiency provisions alone will save consumers $3,900 by 2030 and reduce our oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day.

Natural Gas

Natural gas produces half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal, and in recent years vast natural gas reserves have been discovered in the Eastern United States. The Waxman-Markey legislation encourages the use of this domestic resource to meet our energy needs, and provides assistance to consumers who rely on natural gas for home heating.

News Stories & Opinion Pieces

DETROIT NEWS: Cap-and-trade bill creates green jobs [Op-Ed by Mark Gaffney, president of Michigan AFL-CIO]

The cap-and-trade legislation will help take a balanced approach toward an economy-wide program that prevents foreign competitors from getting advantages over America companies. The nation should maintain a diverse energy portfolio that includes renewable energy, fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro electric. And solutions must protect individual industries and geographical regions from being disproportionably or adversely affected... Such a strategy is the American Clean Energy & Security Act.

Green jobs also pay well; 13 of the top 15 sectors of green employment have weekly wages above the overall private sector weekly average. The Steel Workers union reminds us that each wind turbine built contain 250 tons of steel and thousands of machined parts.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: US Natural-Gas Supplies Surge

The amount of natural gas available for production in the U.S. has soared 58% in the past four years, driven by a drilling boom and the discovery of huge new gas fields in Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, a new study says.

NEW YORK TIMES [GREEN INC]: European Solar Power from African Deserts?

Germany has become a global leader in solar energy by building up a substantial industry at home. Can the country now repeat the feat in North Africa?

The project could turn out to be one of the largest clean power initiatives in the world, providing 15 percent of Europe's energy needs.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Let's Cap, Let's Trade [Oped by Sandra L. Strauss, director of Advocacy for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches]

The Pennsylvania Council of Churches -- 43 church bodies and agencies representing 20 Anabaptist, Anglican, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Protestant communions -- believes that clean and renewable energy will play an important role in moving our nation to a just, sustainable energy future and that Pennsylvania can play a vital role in boosting production of clean and green energy sources.

NEW YORK TIMES: Estimate Places Natural Gas Reserves 35% Higher

The finding raises the possibility that natural gas could emerge as a critical transition fuel that could help to battle global warming.

FINANCIAL TIMES: Bluenext signs Chinese carbon credit deal

Bluenext, Europe's largest carbon credit exchange, and China Beijing Environmental Exchange (CBEEX) set the cornerstone for an international trading platform for Chinese carbon emission credits on Thursday with an agreement to offer information on Chinese emission- projects to potential foreign investors on Bluenext's website.

BLOOMBERG: Climate Bill That Isn't 'Perfect' Is Worth Passing, Chu Says

“I would like to see a climate bill passed, a 17 percent by 2020, rather than waiting for something better a year down the road or two years down the road," Chu said in an interview yesterday. “I would rather frankly see something happen this year, for a lot of reasons, including getting other countries to move as soon as possible.

POLITICO: W.H. will intensify energy push

NASHUA TELEGRAPH: Cap, trade system powers up $5.3 million for businesses

New Hampshire's innovative cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gases has generated plenty of attention, but now it's getting ready to generate something better: Millions of dollars.

BLOOMBERG: Man Up, Climate Skeptics, or Miss Out on the Money: Eric Pooley

So with a global warming bill heading for a vote in Congress, let's listen to what it's saying about climate. The global carbon market grew to $126 billion in 2008, according to the World Bank, doubling in a single year during an economic meltdown. Once the U.S. starts a cap-and-trade system, the carbon futures market might reach $2 trillion within five years. What's more, the much-maligned European Union trading system actually cut emissions last year. This thing is starting to work.

AP: Climate change report shows damage happening now

Water -- too much or too little -- is a dominant theme through much of the report, which says that resource will continue to be a major problem in every region of the country.

"Water permeates this document," Burkett said. She said the U.S. Southwest will get drier and hotter and that will be a crucial issue.

MIAMI HERALD: Report: Energy plans won't harm Florida economy

Federal legislation to combat global warming won't harm Florida's economy, a new report said.

GRIST: Myth: Waxman-Markey gives away 85 percent of allowances

As the Waxman-Markey climate/energy bill nears a make-or-break vote in the House, those who work to improve it need more than ever to understand it first. Smart strategy is based on sound information. On that note: one of the central critiques of the bill is a red herring at best and at worst simply false.

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