The Dernogalizer

August 30, 2009

Japan has new Pro-Climate Leadership

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:29 pm
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The Japanese elections just took place, and I’m excited to say the challengers have won in a landslide.

I’ve had two posts in the last month explaining the very real possibility of Japan having a new government before Copenhagen which aspires to much stronger emissions targets than the current one.  The first explored the possibility of Japan’s current Liberal Democratic Party losing to the Japanese Democratic Party, and wondered whether the challengers had stronger positions on emissions.  The old government’s commitment of a mere 8% below 1990 levels certainly didn’t move any other countries along in raising their targets.  The new government’s position going into the election was 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.  The second post focused on the fact that the positions the challengers held on clean energy, stronger emissions targets, and green jobs were polling really well.  Based on today’s election results, it looks like the poll wasn’t far off.

So, why would Japan committing to 25% by 2020 below 1990 levels at Copenhagen be important?  After all, the buzz words always thrown around are “China, India, US”.  For one, Japan has the second largest economy in the world behind the United States.  At the same time, they are the 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and were only recently passed by India who is number 4.  There is gridlock on all sides.  I might be wrong, but with the exception of the UK indicating going higher than 30%, I think Japan’s new target would be the second strongest in the world.  A big problem is developed countries not coming even close to the 25-40% range necessary not just if you follow the science, but based on what would also help move developing countries along as well.  If Japan can help ease gridlock amongst the richer countries and the G8, developed countries might set their sights higher.

There’s one more big reason as well, and this is also just a hunch by myself, although in college I’ve taken quite a few courses on Asia and I feel like I know it pretty well.  It’s no secret that China and Japan have a pretty rough history.  If I put myself in China’s shoes, yes the United States committing to stronger targets would be the most influential, but it would make sense for Japan to be the second most.  It wouldn’t seem fair to China that their rival who historically has emitted a lot more than them, and who has benefited decades earlier from incredible economic growth in part because they were able to freely burn fossil fuels…can commit to such a poor target while China has to cap emissions soon.

On top of this, China knows the benefits of clean energy for economic development, and they want to dominate the global market in this sector.  Some have said the best way for the US to convince China to force North Korea to give up its nuclear program is to arm Japan with nuclear weapons because China would go absolutely ballistic if their largest regional rival became a nuclear power.  What would the response of China be if Japan challenged them to a clean energy race where the winner dominates the world’s largest 21st century market?  I think we’re about to find out.

Tetsuro Fukuyama, also the Democrats’ deputy policy chief, said the party’s 2020 target to cut emissions by 25 percent below 1990 levels would impose regulations to curb emissions and incentives for energy conservation, increased use of renewable energy and development of green technology.”

The minus 15 percent target versus 2005 is equivalent to a cut of only 8 percent below 1990 levels.”

“It just doesn’t go far enough,” Fukuyama said. “How can they dare to persuade China and India with that number?”

August 29, 2009

And Better…

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 2:49 pm
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In my last post about all the astroturfing being done by big oil, and corruption by big coal, I said..

“The coal companies have had a scandal with forged interest group letters that had gotten better, and better, and betterand better….and better. Wow.”

Turns out there’s even more!

The talking points employees of Bonner were given by the astroturf company instructed them to lie to generate letters to Congress.  Josh Nelson at EnviroKnow had the goods yesterday…

“Most importantly, TPM has obtained a copy of the letter Akin Gump sent to Congressman Markey’s office on behalf of Bonner and Associates. The letter included as an attachment a set of talking points and sample script employees working on the ACCCE campaign were given.

Crucially, the talking points specifically instructed employees to lie to the community organizations they were calling, telling them they were working with seniors/veterans groups and that other seniors/veterans groups had written the letter they would be signing. They were in fact working directly for a coal industry front group, and the letter was written by Bonner and associates.”

There’s more information from TPM that Bonner paid a productivity bonus to the employee who forged the letters…

“The letter, from Akin Gump lawyer Steven Ross to Rep. Ed Markey, can be seen here.

The letter contains other interesting details. It admits that the employee who forged the letters received a bonus before being fired, because of the number of letters he generated. That admission points up the dangers of Bonner’s business method, in which, as we’ve reported, employees are incentivized to generate as many letters as possible, making fraud all but inevitable.

Ross writes:

Due to the extremely short duration of this project, on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, an incentive program was announced to encourage and reward hard work. Compensation for temporary employees is not based on the amount of letters generated. However, temporary employees could earn a small bonus payment for additional letters generated within that employee’s assigned district. It should be noted that the fired employee provided five fabricated letters on his first day of work, June 12, 2009, before the incentive program was even announced. Prior to the discovery of his fraudulent activity, since it ha appeared that the fired employee met the requirements of the incentive program, he was paid a bonus on Friday, June 19, 2009.

Here’s the full letter.  Last, it looks like more statements made my Bonner to defend itself may be lies(shocker!).  Check out this excerpt..

“In the following days B&A personally contacted each of the eight organizations that were defrauded,” wrote Steven R. Ross, a lawyer with the Akin Gump law firm who is representing Bonner. “B&A employees conducted in person meetings with some of the organizations to discuss what happened and to apologize.”In at least one case, that was true. A Bonner & Associates vice president visited Charlottesville in late June to inform the chairwoman of Creciendo Juntos, a network of service providers to Charlottesville’s Hispanic community, that the organization’s logo and name had been used in a bogus letter sent to Perriello.
At least three other Charlottesville-area organizations, however, say they received no such notification.
Five letters were forged to appear as if they were sent by members of the Albemarle-Charlottesville chapter of the NAACP. Rick Turner, president of the group, said he has never once heard from Bonner & Associates.

‘We never heard from them’

August 28, 2009

UMD for Clean Energy Pushes Green Platform for City Elections

UMD(University of Maryland) for Clean Energy is the student group I’m campaign director of.  I recently made a post about our position statement we delivered to Senator Ben Cardin’s office, which showed up in the Washington Post Maryland blog(scroll to bottom).  Beyond weighing in on Federal legislation, we’re taking advantage of an incredible opportunity to influence College Park policy in the upcoming elections this November, the city our school resides in.  We think the transition to a clean energy economy and more sustainable society needs to come from not just from the top down, but the bottom up starting in our communities.  We’re going to do our best to make that a reality in ours.  I could say a lot more, and I’ll have plenty more updates as the school year moves forward.  I think the below press release previewing our campaign touches pretty well on all the main points, and shows some of the groundwork we’ve laid for this to rock.  We’ve also got a new website which is pretty basic right now but will have plenty more content soon.  You can find our platform for the election here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 28, 2009

Contact:  Kenny Frankel, Media Director: 301-437-8197, kfrankel88@gmail.com

Ambitious Student Group Pushes Green Platform

A student environmental group looks to push for green investment in College Park and green jobs in Prince George’s County

UMD for Clean Energy, a student activist group from the University of Maryland, looks to advance a green platform for the city of College Park elections this coming fall.

They aim to mobilize hundreds of students to vote for city council and mayoral candidates this November 3 that support this platform which includes green economic policies, sustainable transportation, and more environmentally friendly buildings.  This mobilization will culminate in front of the university’s McKeldin library on Election Day, from which all the supporting students will march the half-mile to city hall to green-mindedly cast their ballots.  The kicker is that usually a candidate can win their election with a few hundred votes, so these students will represent large portions of their vote.

Among all the green recommendations in the platform, there is one notable priority.  The student group wants to implement a mechanism that would drive energy efficiency investment in the city.

This priority is the establishment of an energy efficiency loan fund.  This would be a pool of money that can be loaned out at a low interest rate to finance energy efficiency upgrades and home improvements for residents of College Park.  Borrowers could then repay the loan fund with their energy savings, and reap the savings once they have paid back the loan.

“One of the biggest barriers to investing in energy efficiency is financing.  If people can pay for these upgrades with their energy savings, that barrier disappears,” said Laura Calabrese, UMD for Clean Energy Organizational Director.

Energy efficiency loan funds have already been created in Annapolis and Montgomery County.  If a similar policy is passed in College Park, it could serve as a model for other small cities in Prince George’s County and Maryland.

Sound like a lofty goal for a group of college kids?  UMD for Clean Energy has already met with city councilmembers Mary Cook (District 4) and Patrick Wojahn (District 1), current mayor Stephen Brayman, and mayoral candidate Andy Fellows to facilitate a discussion on city energy policy.

“It is our goal to meet with every single candidate and current councilmember to share our ideas and hear theirs,” said Matt Dernoga, UMD for Clean Energy Campaign Director.

Although making this loan fund a reality will take a multi-faceted approach, the group looks to reach out to civic and community associations in College Park in addition to other student groups in their campaign.  They are already bringing mayoral candidate Andy Fellows and PG County Clean Energy Corp Director Thomas Cannady to speak at their kickoff meeting on September 14 to engage in a dialogue with students over the need for a new green direction in the city and county.

Maryland has already moved in that direction by passing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act last spring.  It mandates the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020.  According to a MD Department of the Environment factsheet, if the bill’s funds start “developing clean energy industries, Maryland could create between 144,000 and 326,000 in-state jobs over the next 20 years”.

“Where are those jobs and the business investment that comes with them going to fall?  We want College Park and Prince Georges County to be on the forefront so they land here,” said Dernoga.

###

For more information about the Maryland global warming bill, see

http://www.mde.state.md.us/assets/document/Air/ClimateChange/GGRA_factsheet.pdf

For more information on the Annapolis initiative, see

http://www.whatsupmag.com/home-garden/green/09-07-29/Money_to_help_Annapolitans_Install_Geothermal_Solar_and_More.aspx

For more information on the Montgomery County initiative, see:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/pdf/bill/2009/20090422_6-09.pdf

More About UMD for Clean Energy

http://www.umdforcleanenergy.com

UMD for Clean Energy is a student activist group at the University of Maryland.  In the past, they have successfully petitioned the university and University System of Maryland Board of Regents to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.  This past spring, they were successful in collaborating with statewide environmental groups to pass the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which sets the strongest short-term emissions reduction target in the nation – 25 percent reductions from 2006 levels by 2020.  The group has also recently engaged at the federal level, lobbying for climate legislation which passed the House of Representatives this past June and will be considered by the Senate in the fall.

August 27, 2009

FACES of Coal are i-Stock Photos

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 1:40 pm
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Short post here, JW Randolph at Appalachian voices has found that the new coal industry front group FACES, which wouldn’t come forward with their list of members, are actually using iStock Photos.  This shows how much support they have.  You really can’t write a better script, check out the link.

August 26, 2009

Swedish Clean Tech Company Comes to Maryland

While the Chamber of Commerce is busy trying to put global warming on trial (also see here), today is a day of good news when it comes to clean energy companies setting up shop in the US because of our increasingly favorable green business climate.  I already wrote earlier today about the NY Times story where wind jobs were outsourced to the US for a change that not only can transitioning to a clean energy economy address global warming, but it does in fact mean a lot of green jobs.

Now I have a story that hits a little closer to home in Maryland, where a Swedish bioenergy company called Swebo Bioenergy International is setting up an office in Annapolis in the fall, and will move production operations there soon thereafter.

“Swebo Bioenergy International, which develops equipment for heating and electricity production using waste fuels, plans to open a Maryland office in the fall and hire three people to begin operations here, said Mattias Lindgren, a Swebo managing director who will head U.S. operations.   Production operations will follow shortly and will result in hiring 15 to 20 more people, Lindgren said in a phone interview fromSweden.”

Those are real green jobs benefiting my state.  Why might they be coming here?

“During the visit, Johansson and the governor met with Sweden’s top clean-tech companies, whose goals are aligned with the state’s pro-environmental policies. O’Malley invited the firms to visit Maryland, and Swebo toured Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore earlier this month”

‘Swebo also considered Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Lindgren said.”

I wouldn’t call all of our policies pro-environment, we’re pretty terrible when it comes to smart growth, but at least regarding energy we have a strong renewable electricity standard, a recently passed a global warming bill, and the Empower Maryland energy efficiency initiative.  If you’re a clean energy business, Maryland is one of the better states to go to because our these commitments  amongst others.

Interestingly, this business investment and these green jobs are landing in Congressman Frank Kratovil’s district.  Frank Kratovil was one of the blue dog democrats who voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and has been catching a lot of fire for it.  If a Federal climate bill like ACES(preferably stronger) is passed into law, Kratovil’s district is going to see more companies like Swebo provide jobs and add to the tax base.  I think the Kratovil office would be smart to highlight Swebo next election when they have to defend their ACES vote.

I’ll close where I started, with the US Chamber of Commerce thinking they know what’s best for business.  A letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun said it all.

“Instead of creating hot air over the science of global warming, American businesses need to discover the many benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy (“U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants public trial before EPA statement on climate change,” Aug. 25). Businesses all around the country should be fighting for incentives for clean energy and energy efficiency in the Senate’s upcoming energy bill, not threatening suit over well-established scientific consensus.

There’s never been a more important time to repower America with clean energy. Businesses can put us back to work manufacturing, selling, installing and servicing wind turbines, solar panels and other sources of clean power. Transitioning to clean energy would not only create jobs, it would help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and save businesses and consumers money. A recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that transitioning to clean energy would cut costs in the Mid-Atlantic region by $1,120 per household annually and save consumers and businesses a total of $36 billion annually in 2030.

In Maryland, investment in renewables can lead the charge toward a revitalized economy and a great monetary savings for businesses and consumers, not to mention reduced carbon emissions. Rather than grasping onto today’s failing energy agenda, businesses should work to pass a strong Senate energy bill that helps them transition to smart, clean energy policies.Shea Kinser, Baltimore The writer is Clean Energy Associate for Environment Maryland”

Wind Jobs Outsourced(to the United States!)

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:25 pm
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I came across this great article in the NY Times about how the political climate is now drawing wind jobs to the US.  Some excerpts below.

“It was a scene familiar to many a Western labor activist: manufacturing workers in a developed country protesting in vain the outsourcing of their jobs overseas. Earlier this month, workers barricaded themselves in Vestas Wind Systems’ wind turbine blade factory on Britain’s Isle of Wight to try to convince the company not to shut down the plant, dismiss 425 workers and move production to another country.

The only unusual part of the story was that the outsourcing location was not a Third World country. The blade manufacturing jobs were headed toward the United States. The global wind power industry sees it as its most lucrative future market.”

Vestas is rapidly expanding its production base in the United States, where it says it has created more than 1,200 skilled jobs. The company expects that number to climb to more than 4,000 by the end of 2010, if President Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is carried out. Vestas believes that the Obama-led push to more renewables will stimulate demand and re-establish the United States as the world’s largest market for wind turbines. It hopes Congress will pass a national renewable energy standard that will stabilize the U.S. market in the long run.

Last year, Vestas opened a blade factory in Windsor, Colo., hiring 650 people. This year and the next, it will add another blade factory and a nacelle assembly factory in Windsor, as well as tower factories in Brighton and Pueblo, Colo. Vestas is also building up research and development centers in Houston and Boston. It is trying to set up a network of local suppliers of castings, metal fabrication, composites, gears, bearings and electromechanical components through its purchasing office in Chicago.

“For wind turbine producers, what makes sense is building the huge machines where the demand is. Vestas’ rival Siemens is also expanding in the United States. Siemens plans to double the capacity of its factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, which was only opened in 2007. It is also building a new plant in Hutchinson, Kan., and a research and development center in Boulder, Colo. Boulder was chosen because of its proximity to institutions such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaborative, a state-funded program including Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

August 24, 2009

Robert Samuelson’s Column is a Train Wreck

Filed under: transportation — Matt Dernoga @ 2:56 am
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Some columns and rantings out there are so bad, there aren’t enough hours in the day to address all their crazy “facts” and the conclusions they draw from them.  It’s probably important to say SOMETHING about Robert Samuelson’s Washington Post column, and let others pick up other pieces.  After all, with the Transportation Reauthorization funding bill coming up soon, along with Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood’s vision for a high-speed rail system, it’s important the funds are there.  If you’d like an explanation of why mass transit beats roads at the state and local level, see my op-ed from last January on stimulus transportation spending.

A large chunk of Samuelson’s argument is devoted to how we’ve poured $35 billion dollars worth of subsidies into Amtrak since 1971.  Hence all high-speed rail will be like amtrak and fail.  If I pull out a calculator, that’s less than a billion dollars a year on average.  Cry me a river.

Now, lets take a look by comparison at the costs of maintaining the nation’s existing roads and bridges.  Four years ago, the Department of Transportation said they needed $500 billion dollars over 6 years to just maintain them.  No need to pull out the calculator on that one.  According to the Transportation National Journal, the difference between what our gas tax revenues bring in versus the expenditures needed for our road and bridge upkeep is $240 billion dollars ANNUALLY through 2020.  By that math, it would take over 240 similar Amtrak systems to cost us as much in upkeep as the current highway system.

Now, unlike Samuelson, I’m going to be fair.  I’m not trying to compare one high-speed rail system to our nation’s entire highway system.  I’m simply showing that infrastructure, believe it or not, costs money to upkeep.  Rail or road.  Right now, the upkeep of Federal road+bridge infrastructure is costing us dearly, and if you’re pleased with gridlock and traffic congestion on the highway you commute on, raise your hand…..*tumbleweed blows in the wind*.

So, as our population increases, traffic worsens, peak oil hits, gas becomes obscenely expensive, and we try to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions….would you be happier if the Federal government was putting down more asphalt, or high-speed rail?


August 23, 2009

Solar and Wave Power

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 5:52 pm
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A friend of mine forwarded me a couple of insightful articles into the solar industry, as well as tidal power which isn’t talked about all that much.  I thought it would be could to plug both the solar article in National Geographic, and the wave article in the Smithsonian Magazine.  Here’s two excerpts, one from each article.

Solar:  “With a new administration in Washington promising to take on global warming and loosen the grip of foreign oil, solar energy finally may be coming of age. Last year oil prices spiked to more than $140 a barrel before plunging along with the economy—a reminder of the dangers of tying the future to something as unpredictable as oil. Washington, confronting the worst recession since the 1930s, is underwriting massive projects to overhaul the country’s infrastructure, including its energy supply. In his inaugural address President Barack Obama promised to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” His 2010 budget called for doubling the country’s renewable energy capacity in three years. Wind turbines and biofuels will be important contributors. But no form of energy is more abundant than the sun.”

Tidal: ”  As the sun set, it hit me: I could ride waves all day and all night, all year long,” says von Jouanne. “Wave power is always there. It never stops. I began thinking that there’s got to be a way to harness all the energy of an ocean swell, in a practical and efficient way, in a responsible way.”

Today, von Jouanne is one of the driving forces in the fast-growing field of wave energy—as well as its leading proponent. She will explain to anyone who will listen that unlike wind and solar power, wave energy is always available. Even when the ocean seems calm, swells are moving water up and down sufficiently to generate electricity. And an apparatus to generate kilowatts of power from a wave can be much smaller than what’s needed to harness kilowatts from wind or sunshine because water is dense and the energy it imparts is concentrated.

August 21, 2009

Coal Industry Fires Bonner, Oil Companies do Serious Astroturfing

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 9:29 pm
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Ah, where would we be without our beloved coal and oil industries stirring up more BS.  In case you need a recap, the oil companies’ plans to stage a bunch of fake rallies all over the country against climate legislation got uncovered, and the coal companies have had a scandal with forged interest group letters that had gotten better, and better, and better, and better….and better. Wow.

So, now the coal industry has dropped Bonner over the fake letters to try and save face.  Brad Johnson over at Wonk Room calls them out nicely when big coal insists it did nothing wrong.

“In fact, ACCCE covered up the fraud and is now throwing Bonner under the bus. The coal coalition had been informed by the Hawthorn Group, its primary contractor, days before the pivotal House vote on the energy legislation. But ACCCE kept silent, failing to notify lawmakers or the defrauded organizations. ACCCE continues to employ the Hawthorn Group and the notorious voter-fraud company Lincoln Strategy Group.”

So that’s coal.  Now the American Petroleum Institute has started holding their fake “Energy Citizen” rallies over the US.  They clearly have the finances to fund these rallies, as it recently surfaced they spent $1.9 million dollars in just the 2nd quarter of 2009 on lobbying, up a million from last year.  So how do we know the rallies are fake?  Public Citizen Texas managed to sneak into the rally, and they have excellent reports and video here, here, and here.  Check out this small snippet from Sarah McDonald’s report

“This was such a fake, Astroturf event that they didn’t know how to handle legitimate grassroots support. A couple of women who had been to some of the teabagger events and townhalls came down, armed with American flags and excited to protest “crap and tax” — but even THEY weren’t allowed in.  Several others who had heard about the rally through Freedom Works, on right wing radio, or in the paper were also locked out.”


August 20, 2009

UMD for Clean Energy Letter to Ben Cardin

The University of Maryland student activist group I am currently campaign director of is called UMD for Clean Energy.  In the past year we’ve worked on getting thousands of Powervote pledges, collaborated with state environmental groups to pass a state global warming bill with the strongest short term greenhouse emissions target in the country, and our most recent accomplishments were organizing(with other groups) a 300 person clean energy Town Hall meeting for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer(whose floor debate remarks are incredible), and bringing together students statewide to help turn Maryland Congressman Frank Kratovil’s swing vote on ACES into a yes vote.  Our close proximity to DC gives us plenty of opportunities to lobby and have a strong presence on Federal legislation.

This past Tuesday, we delivered a letter to our Senator Ben Cardin’s office in a visit a couple of our members made to DC to meet with Cardin’s office as well as Senator Barbara Mikulski’s. The letter outlined what our group feels should be prioritized regarding improvements in the drafting of Senate legislation over the House climate bill .  Although we know we have Ben Cardin’s vote, he is playing a important role on the Environment and Public Works Committee in drafting the Senate bill, and in marking it up.  We would like to see the part of the bill that comes out of the EPW committee be as strong as possible, and feel that there can be improvements since the make up of the committee is fairly progressive and full of East and West coast Democrats who states are not particularly coal dependent.  Letter is below, and was signed by our elected officers.

The Honorable Ben Cardin

United States Senate

509 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Cardin,

Our student group UMD for Clean Energy has met with you and your office multiple times.  Every time we have discussed climate legislation and clean energy, we’ve been impressed with your commitment to a strong climate bill.  As you know, in June the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and now it is up for the Senate to act.  Although the bill does some good things and we supported its passage in the House, there are several areas that we feel can be improved.  Your position on the Environment and Public Works Committee in drafting the Senate bill is an opportunity to get stronger legislation onto the Senate floor.  There are four main priorities we urge you to advocate for in the committee and in the floor debate.

The short term emissions target of a 17% reduction below 2005 levels by 2020 is the weakest part of the bill.  The science tells us that 25-40% below 1990 levels is needed to avert catastrophic climate change.  Additionally, a 17% target makes agreeing on a global treaty in Copenhagen quite difficult, and getting a strong treaty all but impossible.  The 2020 target must move in the direction of the science to make America a leader so that we have the leverage we need to pressure other countries to do more.

Before compromises were made, the House legislation had a 25% Renewable Electricity Standard(RES), and a 15% energy efficiency standard.  This was watered down to a 20% RES.  We know there is a much greater potential in renewable sources to meet our energy supply, especially regarding efficiency improvements.  Please push for a more ambitious RES that matches our capability and ingenuity.

Another compromise reached in the House was that the USDA was made responsible for overseeing domestic agricultural offsets, instead of the EPA.  Unfortunately, the USDA may care more about rewarding farmers than reducing greenhouse emissions.  By not having the EPA overseeing this part of the program, the integrity and verifiability of these offsets is threatened, along with some emissions reductions.   Pushing for EPA authority over agricultural offsets would avoid this potential flaw.

Lastly, excluding investments in “clean coal” technology, the House bill commits around $10 billion a year to clean energy development and deployment.  This pales in comparison to the investment from the economic stimulus.  Although we recognize the bill will drive private sector investment, other countries such as China are spending much larger amounts by comparison.  Increasing clean energy spending in the bill is imperative for accelerating our transition to a clean energy economy.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our recommendations for passing a stronger climate bill out of the Senate.  We truly appreciate your continued leadership on this issue.

Sincerely,

UMD for Clean Energy



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