The recently released Senate and House budget resolutions for fiscal year 2014 reflect diametrically opposed visions of American’s energy and climate futures. The Senate budget invests in clean energy technologies that reduce carbon pollution responsible for climate change. The House budget, on the other hand, ignores climate change and defunds clean energy technologies.
The proposed Senate budget resolution — “Foundation for Growth: Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity,” authored by Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) — would boost the United States into the 21st century by investing in the clean energy industry, which will be a $1.9 trillion market from 2012 through 2018. In addition, the Senate resolution would attack the carbon pollution that is responsible for climate change.
Michael Linden, Director for Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress, noted that Sen. Murray’s overall budget “would promote immediate job creation, lay the foundations for future broad-based growth, and responsibly pursue deficit reduction.” The Murray budget’s funding proposals would also help address the fundamental challenges of clean energy development and slow climate change.
Meanwhile, the House budget resolution — “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget,” written by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) — would continue investment in the dirty fossil fuels of the past while disinvesting in clean energy. And it ignores the looming disruptive and expensive threat of climate change.
Reducing oil dependence and carbon pollution from transportation
Traffic congestion in the United States, partly due to damaged roads and inadequate access to public transit, wastes 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline annually, or nearly 196,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the latest Urban Mobility Report published by the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute. The study also estimated that “additional carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions attributed to traffic congestion: 56 billion pounds—about 380 pounds per auto commuter.”
Sen. Murray’s budget would eliminate some of this oil waste and carbon pollution by investing $50 billion in “repairing our nation’s highest priority deteriorating transportation infrastructure … [including] fixing crumbling roads, bridges … [and] updating our mass transit.” Her budget would also provide “$10 billion to create an infrastructure bank that will leverage investment from the private sector” for additional road and transit projects.
Conversely, the Ryan budget would increase oil use and carbon pollution by slashing investments in transportation below current levels.
Fighting climate change and investing in clean energy technology