As scientists sound daily alarms about the dire consequences of global warming, Americans are asking one question: What can we do about it? The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) has an answer: Deploy clean energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies now!
On Wednesday morning, January 31, 2007 at a press conference in Washington, D.C., ASES unveiled a 200-page report, Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.: Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 2030. The result of more than a year of study, the report illustrates how energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can provide the emissions reductions required to address global warming.
The press event included remarks from report editor Chuck Kutscher, ASES Executive Director Brad Collins, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climate scientist James Hansen, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, Senator Jeff Bingaman, and Congressmen Henry Waxman and Christopher Shays. According to Hansen, "We must begin fundamental changes in our energy use now in order to avoid human-made climate disasters."
To develop the report, ASES recruited a volunteer team of top energy experts. These experts produced a series of nine papers that examined how energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions-the main cause of global warming.
ASES collected the nine papers together and added an overview of the studies to create the report. It covers energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and industry, as well as six renewable energy technologies: concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, biofuels, and geothermal power. The results indicate that these technologies can displace approximately 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions annually by the year 2030-the magnitude of reduction that scientists believe is necessary to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change.
The report illustrates how energy efficiency measures could keep U.S. carbon emissions roughly constant over the next 23 years as the economy grows, and how renewable energy technologies could make deep cuts below today's emissions. Wind energy provides about 35% of the renewable energy contribution, while the rest is divided about evenly among the other technologies. "Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can begin to be deployed on a large scale today to help save us from the worst consequences of global warming," said Kutscher. "With continued R&D to lower costs and a reasonable level of policy support, they have the potential to meet most, if not all, of the carbon reductions that will be required in the future."