Recovery Plan Captures the Energy Opportunity
Daniel J. Weiss and Alexandra Kougentakis, Center for American Progress
More than a year after the recession began and after 3.6 million Americans lost their jobs, Congress is about to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, H.R. 1. The act will inject $789 billion into new programs and tax incentives to stimulate the economy.
Unprecedented investments in clean energy are a central element of the recovery plan. The bill includes $71 billion for clean energy programs—more than three times the current spending for these same programs (download the breakdown here (.xls)). H.R. 1 also adds $20 billion in clean energy tax incentives. The bill would “spark the creation of a clean-energy economy” that President Barack Obama promised during his inaugural address.
The Recovery Act intends to quickly put Americans to work undertaking the essential task of reducing our use of energy and oil, which would strengthen our economy and security. It would also boost investments in clean renewable energy generation from the wind, sun, and other clean sources. The World Resources Institute determined that there is a significant job creation differential between traditional infrastructure investments and those focusing on clean energy initiatives. Every investment of $1 billion in clean energy programs creates nearly 5,000 more jobs than traditional infrastructure spending. These are some of the most important initiatives in the recovery package.
(13 February 2009)
Administration delays move toward more offshore drilling
Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Houston Chronicle
Calling it a “headlong rush of the worst kind,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today put the brakes on a Bush administration proposal to expand offshore oil and gas drilling.
Salazar said President Barack Obama’s administration will wait until September to decide whether to expand offshore drilling and invited public comments on the Bush administration’s plan to open up as much as 300 million acres of coastal waters for oil and gas leases.
Salazar said his decision to review the contentious issue represented a “dramatic change from the last eight years, where you had a one-road highway to energy independence, which was drill, drill, drill.”
(10 February 2009)
Big Science Role Is Seen in Global Warming Cure
John M. Broder and Matthew L. Wald, New York Times
Steven Chu, the new secretary of energy, said Wednesday that solving the world’s energy and environment problems would require Nobel-level breakthroughs in three areas: electric batteries, solar power and the development of new crops that can be turned into fuel.
... Dr. Chu said a “revolution” in science and technology would be required if the world is to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases linked to global warming.
Solar technology, he said, will have to get five times better than it is today, and scientists will need to find new types of plants that require little energy to grow and that can be converted to clean and cheap alternatives to fossil fuels.
(11 February 2009)
Clinton’s China Visit Opens Door on Climate Change
Orville Schell, Yale Environment 360
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to China could be the first step in forging a partnership between the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. A leading China expert sets forth a blueprint for how the U.S. and China can slow global warming – and strengthen their crucial relationship.
(13 February 2009)