07.14.09   •   Focus: Ten Things to Know

Top Ten Things You May Not Know About the Waxman-Markey, American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES)

Last month, the House passed historic clean energy jobs legislation that would finally begin the transition away from dangerous foreign oil and address the global challenge of climate change. The Waxman-Markey bill includes a number of provisions to help achieve these goals:

  1. Clean Cars: Invests $20 billion in advanced fuel efficient cars and trucks like plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.
  2. Innovation Hubs: Establishes eight Clean Energy Innovation Hubs across the country, linking our top academic institutions (including land grant, technical colleges and historically African American institutions) with clean energy businesses.
  3. Clean Energy Bank: Establishes a “Clean Energy Bank" to provide $75 billion in loans to fund clean energy technologies.
  4. Job Training: Provides $865 million in job training assistance for America's new clean energy workers.
  5. Smart Grid: Encourages a Smart Grid that uses E-Chips (electricity processors) in appliances and homes to allow consumers to use the Internet to manage electricity usage.
  6. Green Buildings: Updates energy efficiency standards for NEW buildings, so by 2016 new buildings will use 50 percent less energy saving families and businesses money.
  7. Price Spike Protection: Dedicates 30 percent of the program to protect families and businesses from rate spikes on their electricity bills. Dedicates 15 percent of the program to protect low-income families from price increases, providing hundreds of dollars in energy rebates annually to low-income families.
  8. Fiscally Responsible: ACES will NOT increase the federal budget deficit, as the program is completely budget-neutral.
  9. Protects Forests and Wildlife: Provides $65 billion in funds to protect forests, which help cut carbon emissions by an additional 10 percent, and provides $8 billion to protect wildlife endangered by global warming.
  10. Breaking our Addiction to Foreign Oil: When combined with fuel economy standards, ACES will save 5 million barrels of oil a day. That is more than America currently imports from the Middle East and Venezuela.

News Stories & Opinion

BLOOMBERG: Why Warren Buffett is Wrong about Cap and Trade: Eric Pooley

A new tax means more work for accountants. Cap and trade unleashes the engineers.

Texas Congressman Joe Barton repeated the scary number during the floor debate in late June. “It's just basic math!" Barton cried.

Sokol now says he got his math wrong. The $110 figure, he told me, assumes that MidAmerican's 217,000 Iowa residential customers would bear the entire burden of buying allowances and that commercial and industrial users wouldn't pay a dime. “But it's not conceivable that the regulator would put all of this on the residential customers," he said. “So that is not a terribly useful number."

POLITICO: The new Apollo program (Op-Ed by Rep. Jay Inslee)

Construction workers will install energy-efficient windows and insulation in homes and businesses nationwide. Our oil reserves pale in comparison with those of Saudi Arabia, but we are rich in wind, solar and geothermal energy; sequestered coal; and the ultimate energy source: efficiency.

The Inslee-Doyle provision will protect important domestic manufacturers of pulp and paper, fertilizer, cement, aluminum and steel.

TIMES-NEWS [NC]: Shuler defends vote on climate change (Op-Ed by Rep. Heath Shuler)

For decades, we have turned a blind eye to glaring problems in the way we produce and consume energy. Rather than setting priorities and making difficult decisions, we continue to pass down our problems to future generations.

It's time for us as a nation to stand on our own feet and regain our position as a world leader in energy innovation.

I have faith in North Carolina's ability to thrive as a result of this legislation. Our region has seen a dramatic increase in green energy businesses and job opportunities. Since 1998, clean energy jobs in our state have grown by more than 15 percent, while other jobs have increased only 6 percent.

WASHINGTON POST: White House Projects Gains in Health, 'Green' Jobs

President Obama's economic team released an upbeat employment forecast yesterday that predicted robust jobs growth in the health-care and clean-energy sectors, and a recovery in manufacturing positions over the next decade.

The report says that "green" jobs, such as environmental engineers and scientists, would grow by 52 percent between 2000 and 2016. But retail jobs may thin as consumer spending slows.

NEW YORK TIMES: Drawing Critics, China Seeks to Dominate in Renewable Energy

Calling renewable energy a strategic industry, China is trying hard to make sure that its companies dominate globally. Just as Japan and South Korea made it hard for Detroit automakers to compete in those countries - giving their own automakers time to amass economies of scale in sheltered domestic markets - China is shielding its clean energy sector while it grows to a point where it can take on the world.

China has built the world's largest solar panel manufacturing industry by exporting over 95 percent of its output to the United States and Europe. But when China authorized its first solar power plant this spring, it required that at least 80 percent of the equipment be made in China.

THE ATLANTIC: Sarah Palin Does Not Understand Cap and Trade

I'm disappointed because Palin's op-ed displays an ignorance for the subject so profound it's almost gutsy. Almost.

MEDIA MATTERS: Gov. Palin's Misleading Washington Post Op-ed

THE ATLANTIC: Sarah Palin's Cap-and-Trade Takedown

Palin wrote a 700-word takedown of cap-and-trade that did not include the words pollution, emissions, carbon, or global warming.

GREENBIZ: Wal-Mart Foundation Helps Fund Green Job Training for Women

Citing a need for increasing the number of women eligible for jobs in a growing green economy, the Wal-Mart Foundation is partnering with the Business and Professional Women's Foundation to provide green job training for women.

NEW YORK TIMES: Boiling the Frog (Op-Ed by Paul Krugman)

Still, the boiled-frog problem on the economy is nothing compared with the problem of getting action on climate change.

Put it this way: if the consensus of the economic experts is grim, the consensus of the climate experts is utterly terrifying.

GRIST: Lunatic fringe watch: wing nuts unleashed on ACES climate bill

Understanding the right wing phone calls.

This is the web version of the Select Committee's Clean Energy Update email.
Click here to return to the index of the Committee's Updates