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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Obama Not Waiting On Congress For Some Energy Action

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As the U.S. Congress is slowly considering what to do with climate legislation this session, President Obama’s White House isn’t sitting on their hands waiting.  Thank goodness.  Different agencies are taking proactive steps toward regulating things they can regulate and initiating new rules and programs that, when added together, should complement and strengthen the actions we in the U.S. begin to take to address our climate forcing.

Among the new initiatives, standards on products are being strengthened.  First up was commercial refrigeration.  More recently, President Obama released rules on lamps.  Yes, that’s correct: lamps.

Obama said the new efficiency standards he was announcing for lamps would result in substantial savings between 2012 and 2042, saving consumers up to $4 billion annually, conserving enough energy to power every U.S. home for 10 months, reducing emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars a year, and eliminating the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.

Like I just wrote about, energy efficiency provides us with a major opportunity to drastically reduce our energy consumption.  As clean energy sources come online and Americans are able to conserve more and more energy, dirty energy sources can be shut down.

Sen. McConnell has an interesting point:

Even as we use less energy, we need to produce more of our own,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “We have to admit there’s a gap between the clean, renewable fuel we want and the reliable energy we need.”

He’s absolutely correct.  As we reduce our demand of total energy, we need to be able to produce more clean energy and not import dirty energy from hostile foreign nations.  Given this acknowledgement, I fully expect Sen. McConnell to lead the charge on developing clean energy resources within the U.S.  I won’t hold my breath, though.  There are plenty of dirty energy corporations that expect McConnell to vote against clean energy legislation.

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