Simple changes like installing better building insulation could cut the world’s energy demands by three-quarters, according to a new study.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for the end to billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for the oil and gas industry, and a national commitment to double low-carbon electricity by 2035. “Raising taxes on the industry that fuels our lives shows a profound detachment from our energy and economic reality,” former Bush official Karen Harbert, president and chief executive officer of the chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, lashed out. Harbert further attacked the president’s proposal for being too “ambitious“:
The president’s proposed ‘clean energy’ mandate would entail a more ambitious restructuring of the country’s power sector than even those in the his party have proposed. This mandate could require us to increase our non-hydro renewable generation by more than 700% and more than double our nuclear power, while virtually eliminating from the country’s most available, proven, and economic domestic energy resource—coal.
Harbert somehow thinks that making America into the world’s clean-energy leader is a bad idea.
In actual “energy and economic reality,” the oil and coal industries are killing Americans, weakening our economy, and destabilizing our planet. Pollution from burning coal and oil kills at least 20,000 Americans a year. Oil company profits are soaring — ConocoPhillips up 46 percent to $1.9 billion, Chevron up 72 percent to $5.3 billion — on rising prices that are sucking the lifeblood out of the economic recovery. Even Dr. John Felmy, American Petroleum Institute’s top economist, admits that raising taxes on oil companies could create two million American jobs.
Furthermore, the fossil-dominated chamber continues to blindly ignore the existential threat of climate change. Our polluted climate is already causing death and misery on an unprecedented global scale. If anything, President Obama’s clean energy plan may be insufficiently ambitious. The simple facts are that the United States needs to join the rest of the world in rapidly eliminating the unconstrained use of fossil fuels. As the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook describes, in a “climate friendly” scenario “the power sector is largely decarbonized by 2035.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce needs to starting facing reality — or at least properly rename Harbert’s program to the Institute for 19th Century Energy.
Guest blogger Evan Mills of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories explains why recent Swedish energy policy should give us hope.
Sweden is often held up as a harbinger of the kinds of sensible energy policies needed around the world. In practice, follow-through has been less than promised, although remarkable things continue to be achieved.
As a case in point, January 1st, 2011 was the deadline for shutting down all 10 of Sweden’s nuclear reactors. They quietly missed the deadline (where was the media?), but their story remains interesting.
Our guest blogger is Bill Becker.
Like the BP disaster, the extreme weather events occurring worldwide offer a Sputnik moment to focus attention on the urgent need to address climate change. Here is the speech I’d love to see Obama give in a special session of Congress, perhaps on Earth Day.
Lee Fang, in a cross-post of a TP exclusive.
Last October, ThinkProgress helped break the story about the secretive twice annual meetings convened by Koch Industries owners Charles and David Koch. The meetings “” which have been attended by top bankers, oil industry executives, two Supreme Court justices, Republican leaders, conservative fundraisers, and hate talkers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck “” have been forums for election-related coordination and political strategy. In addition to judges, “journalists” like Tim Carney, Stephen Moore, and Michael Barone have attended the meetings and received funding from the Koch donors. The next event is this weekend in Rancho Mirage, California.
Earlier today, the National Review reported that Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) will address the meeting on Republican legislative strategy.