So environmental groups sent a letter to Pelosi regarding 3 ways in which the climate bill can be strengthened. One interesting coincidence to note, is that I had been hearing about this strategy for about 10 days of now of 3 ways the national groups were coming up with to strengthen the bill. One of those ways was to increase the Renewable Electricity Standard(RES) from 20% to 30%, with energy efficiency gains built into the RES. I voiced my opinion to the state chapters of these organizations in Maryland that a 30% RES, while preferable, would scare lawmakers. Below is my e-mail to Congressman Steny Hoyer’s Senior Policy Advisor on the climate bill, and then following that is the letter Pelosi received from the statewide environmentalists. All I can say is, either they adopted my view by coincidence, or someone up there is actually listening to me(unlikely). It would be wiser to separate the energy efficiency standards from RES standards, because efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to reduce emissions. I suggested to environmental groups we should instead be pushing for a 10% efficiency standard, and a separate 20% RES standard. In my letter to Hoyer’s staffperson, I said 15% RES instead of 20% since that’s what I think is politically feasible, but I mentioned to the environmental groups it wouldn’t hurt to push for 20%, and even if we get negotiated down to 15%, I think the place were we stand the best chance is the reestablishment of the separate energy efficency standard. The other two suggestions are good as well. I don’t at this time know the political prospects of these 3 recommendations finding their way into the bill, but I think they are well thought out and smart. I will write at a later point about additional politically possible changes I think we should be pushing for.
Hey Mary, I know you’ve gotten 3 main areas from national environmental groups where they would like to see the bill strengthened(better allowances, RES to 30%, EPA authority to regulate carbon). I support these 3 ideas, however I would like to offer an alternative, and in my opinion more politically viable suggestion for marginally strengthening the bill.
As much as I like the idea of pushing for a 30% RES, I don’t it’s politically feasible, especially considering in the Senate they had trouble advancing a 15% RES out of committee. The current suggestion states that we should have a 17% standard for renewables, 10% for efficiency, and 3% that can be used for either. I think having the RES combine renewables and efficiency is a mistake, because 30% is too intimidating of a number. Originally, the two provisions were separate, with a 25% RES and 15% efficiency standard. I would suggest the Democratic leadership look at separating the standards again, but with smaller targets for each. I think a 15% RES and 10% efficiency standard is politically do-able, and is 5% better than what we’re looking at right now with the standards combined. You’ve had more conversations with borderline Dems than myself, but the impression I got from the committee hearings was that lawmakers were more concerned with producing renewable energy than they were in making gains in efficiency. As you know, efficiency improvements are the fastest and cheapest thing we can do to cut carbon. Lawmakers tend to agree more on the merits of energy efficiency than on the capability of renewables.
Please let me know what you think the merits of this suggestion are. I would be happy to discuss it further. Thanks for your time.
UMD for Clean Energy, Campaign Director
June 8, 2009
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Madame Speaker,
The American Clean Energy and Security Act offers our country the most
important opportunity in generations to jumpstart our economy, create
millions of new, well-paying jobs and set the stage for America to
compete and win in a 21st century economy while reducing global warming
pollution. We are eager to work with you to deliver on the promise of a
clean energy economy by improving and passing the American Clean Energy
and Security Act (H.R. 2454), while rejecting any weakening of the
The American Clean Energy and Security Act sets up a framework for
transitioning to clean energy and curbing global warming. It sets a
first-ever limit on pollution that causes global warming and contains
important and effective standards to increase energy efficiency.
The bill aims to reduce U.S. global warming emissions from capped
sources by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by
2050. In addition, the bill commits the United States to achieving
additional emission reductions through agreements to prevent
deforestation. The bill will establish strong minimum targets for
commercial and residential building codes, which will save consumers
$25 billion a year by 2030. And the bill will provide money to state
and local governments to invest in energy efficiency and renewable
Our organizations stand ready to work with you and Chairmen Waxman and
Markey to strengthen and pass this bill to fulfill the promise of this
historic opportunity. But in order to realize this opportunity,
Congress will need to stand strong against the special interests that
seek to weaken the bill at every turn.
In order to maximize job creation, invest in the skills of our workers,
promote long-term economic prosperity, and ensure definite reductions
in global warming pollution, we will work to strengthen the bill to:
Ensure More Clean Energy for America
Strengthen renewable electricity provisions to achieve 20 percent of
sales generated from clean renewable energy by 2020, including the
flexibility to achieve another 3 percent that could come from either
efficiency or renewables by 2020. Increase the energy efficiency
requirement so that utilities achieve 10% energy efficiency by 2020.
Strengthening these standards will generate hundreds of thousands of
new clean energy jobs.
Clean Up the Most Polluting Sources
Preserve EPA’s ability under the Clean Air Act to require existing
power plants, refineries and other sources to meet up-to-date carbon
Create more Clean Energy Jobs for America and Build Resiliency to
Increase the portion of pollution allowance value dedicated to
delivering energy efficiency and renewable energy, creating green jobs
and training workers to fill them, and protecting natural resources,
public health and vulnerable communities here and around the world.
Unfortunately, some members of Congress and special interests have said
they would like to roll back the already weakened target for reducing
carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. We urge you to reject any effort to
weaken these targets. We also urge you to preserve the provision
ensuring that the latest science informs the policy and strengthen the
policy response to that science.
Our top priority is to enact legislation that jump-starts a clean
energy economy, creates millions of clean energy jobs and reduces
global warming pollution while giving the U.S. credibility to lead
international negotiations on climate change. By strengthening and
passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the House of
Representatives can take a critical step towards accomplishing that
goal. Our members, partners and allies are mobilizing as never before
to capture this historic opportunity.
Clean Water Action
Defenders of Wildlife
International Forum on Globalization
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters
National Audubon Society
National Parks Conservation Association
National Resource Defense Council
National Wildlife Federation
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Union of Concerned Scientists
World Wildlife Fund