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The Fork in the Road

January 22, 2014 -  Business leaders are catching on, even in the United States.  Yesterday, a report authored, in part, by over 100  academics, energy experts, government officials, and business leaders called upon the President to address climate change by taking measures that do not require congressional approval.

Spear-headed by the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University, the report grew out of a meeting convened last March, attended by the President and 14 corporate and private sector leaders.  They spoke for hundreds of like-minded individuals who want to reshape the country’s energy policy.

The resulting 207-page report contains around 200 recommendations regarding the use of executive authority to enact the climate change action plan the President announced last June.  Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter released the report, briefing cabinet officials and senior policy staff whose focus is energy and climate policy.

The report recommends that officials concentrate on five main areas: doubling energy efficiency, financing renewable energy, producing natural gas more responsibly, developing alternative fuels and vehicles, and helping utilities adapt to the country’s changed energy landscape.  It highlights measures that every federal agency can take to mitigate global warming and its effects.

Unfortunately, the White House still has a goal of only a 17 percent reduction in carbon emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, a shockingly stupid target, considering how much lower than that emissions need to be.  This easily achievable goal is mere window dressing, the only unserious aspect of the report.

Specific recommendations made in the report include working with electric utilities and regulators to update regulations that serve as a barrier to clean energy technology, and reforming the tax code in order to make it fairer for private investors who wish to provide capital for clean energy development.

One of the reports most interesting suggestions calls for a federal process to account for the full costs of various energy choices, including health impacts.  By establishing these costs, the administration would be better able to select a ”best of the above” energy strategy, as opposed to its current “all of the above” approach.

With thanks to Reuters news service.


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