Boxer-Kerry Bill: Solid Foundation for Urgent Senate Work on Climate, Says Alliance
Washington, D.C., September 30, 2009 – The Alliance to Save Energy today praised the Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) for the release of a strong climate bill framework upon which the Senate can build vitally important policies and funding for energy efficiency as the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way of reducing energy demand and tackling global warming. The Alliance noted that the bill’s carbon emission reduction target would boost energy efficiency across all energy end-use sectors in the U.S. economy, thus maximizing its impact as the most effective and most immediate cost-containment tool for implementing a cap-and-trade system.
“The combination of strong climate policies in the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” with strong energy efficiency policies and funding that are to be added can jump start creation of a new clean energy economy – if the Senate acts quickly to adopt them,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “Any Senate delay on passage of strong climate legislation only increases the ultimate cost of implementing greenhouse gas emission reduction measures and slows down sorely needed major investments in energy efficiency – investments that will not only help the environment but also create jobs, rejuvenating our flagging economy.”
The bill’s drafters went beyond the House-passed climate bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), by recommending a 20 percent carbon emissions reduction target by 2020 (based on 2005 levels), as opposed to the House-passed 17 percent reduction target.
Callahan added, however, that the bill is silent on the allocation of allowances, leaving open the level of funds that would be generated for energy efficiency initiatives from the selling of those allowances. She noted that because energy efficiency is the only truly pollution-free energy resource, and one that can be deployed immediately to reduce the cost of a cap-and-trade bill, it should receive substantially more allowance value than was provided by the House-passed bill.
“The Alliance’s highest priority in the Senate debate will be ensuring that a strong climate policy is passed,” Callahan said. Our second-highest priority is to secure the energy policies and funding necessary to fully deploy energy efficiency as a cost- containment tool.”
The Alliance also urged the Senate to include strong provisions to spur improved building energy codes; an energy efficiency resource standard, or an efficiency component of a renewable electricity standard, that goes well beyond “business as usual” in spurring utility efficiency programs; strengthened appliance standards; and an effective building energy labeling provision (all of which were included in some form in the Senate Energy Committee bill).
“Energy efficiency is the resource that will enable us to transition to a new clean energy economy while saving consumers money. But we need this legislative push to make it happen,” Callahan said.