By Lynn Hasselberger
This one Act promises to create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance Americaâ€™s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution.
WASHINTON (RPRN) 05/11/09–On April 24, 2009, former VP Al Gore testified before theUS House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Our country is at risk on three fronts,” he said, referring to the economic crisis, national security risk due to our dependence on foreign oil from sovereign states vulnerable to disruption, and the growing threat of climate crisis. “By Repowering America with a transition to a clean energy economy and ending our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels, which is the common thread running through all three of these crises, this bill will simultaneously address the climate crisis, the economic crisis, and the national security threats that stem from our dependence on foreign oil.
If passed, the bill would promote clean and renewable technologies that would reduce the nation’s reliance on energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
“Passage of this legislation will restore America’s leadership of the world and begin, at long last, to solve the climate crisis.”
Mr. Gore cited examples with scientific evidence of how serious this climate crisis is becoming, which continues to amass week after week after week. Here are just a few:
“Carbon dioxide pollution is changing the very chemistry of our oceans. Ocean acidification is already underway and is accelerating. A recent paper published in the journal Science described how the seawater off the coast of Northern California has become so acidic from CO2 that it is now corrosive. To give some sense of perspective, for the last 44 million years, the average pH of the water has been 8.2. The scientists at Scripps measured levels off the north coast of California and Oregon at a pH of 7.75. Coral polyps that make reefs and everything that makes a shell are now beginning to suffer from a kind of osteoporosis because of the 25 million tons of CO2 absorbed the oceans every 24 hours.”
“Salmon have now disappeared off the coast of California. Researchers are now working to determine the cause and whether or not this is due to acidity and the relationship between acidity and “dead zones” of extreme oxygen depletion that now stretch from the west coast of North, Central, and South America almost all the way across the Pacific. The health and productivity of all the world’s oceans are at risk.”
“This year, a number of groups ranging from the National Audubon Society to the Department of Interior, released the U.S. State of the Birds report showing that nearly a third of the nation’s 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline due to habitat loss, invasive species and other threats including climate change. The major shift attributed to the climate crisis related to the migratory patterns and a large shift northward among a vast range of bird species in the U.S.”
“Federal officials from our own National Interagency Fire Center report that we have seen twice as many wildfires during the first three months of 2009 as compared to the same period last year. Due to the worsening drought, the outlook for more record fires in Texas, Florida, and California is not good.”
To read Mr. Goreâ€™s full testimony, go here. http://tinyurl.com/o87atz
Details of the legistlation:
â€¢ Fund retrofits of existing residential buildings to improve energy efficiency.
â€¢ Improve the U.S. Department of Energy’s process for setting energy-efficiency standards and provide financial incentives to retailers who sell high volumes of best-in-class appliances. Read “Energy Star Has Lost Some Luster” and our post on the Appliance Standards Improvement Act of 2009.
â€¢ Require U.S. electric and gas utilities to work with customers to demonstrate savings in electricity and natural gas.
â€¢ Set limits on emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and insulation, and black carbon, the product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels or biomass.
â€¢ Require 25 percent of electricity generated for retail customers to come from renewable source by 2025 and reduce global-warming-causing pollution by 83 percent by 2050.
â€¢ Establish a market-based program for reducing global-warming pollution from electric utilities, oil companies, large industrial sources, and other industries.
â€¢ Extend programs for clean fuels, smart grids, and carbon sequestration. Federal and California clean-air and fuel-economy standards and EPA rules would be reconciled.
â€¢ Boost aid to states for clean energy and energy-efficiency projects.
â€¢ Award grants to universities and colleges to develop curriculum and training programs that prepare students for green-collar careers in renewable energy, and climate change mitigation.
To take action, call your elected representatives. You can find the name and number by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Hereâ€™s a script, suggested by Repower America:
“Hi. This is [your name] from [your city, state]. I am calling to urge Representative [fill in the blank with the name of the Representative of your Congressional District] to support the The American Clean Energy and Security Act. This bill will help create good jobs that can’t be outsourced and increase our supply of clean, free energy. It will revitalize our economy and help solve the climate crisis. That’s why, as a constituent, it is very important to me that my elected officials support the clean energy jobs plan. Thank you.”
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)