It’s time to focus on renewable energy in our national energy policy — for the health of the planet and the economy.
The good news is the time is right for a sea change in energy policy, especially one that will create new “green” jobs. The bad news is our window of opportunity for change is quickly closing. The more we learn about climate change, the clearer it becomes that we need to take action quickly. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has warned of the serious consequences of climate change, saying the American people need to wake up. Some scientists warn that we’re already dangerously close to major tipping points.
There are currently dozens of plans and ideas for how we can stabilize our climate. Here are summaries of just a few. While they may have different ideas for how to reduce carbon emissions, all of them are calling for decisive action — soon.
Green Groups Proposing Plans
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing energy efficiency and the use of solar and other renewable energy technologies. ASES says the United States has the potential to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030. By 2050, ASES says the United States needs to have cut carbon emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent of current levels. Click to download the complete ASES plan.
The Apollo Alliance pools resources from businesses, environmental organizations and community leaders. Its plan calls for a $500 billion investment in clean energy over the next 10 years, which the Alliance says would create 5 million green-collar jobs. Read the complete Apollo Economic Recovery Act.
The Earth Policy Institute (EPI) is led by Mother Earth News contributing editor Lester R. Brown, a highly respected scientist and author. Brown’s newest book, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, outlines steps needed to cut global emissions 80 percent by 2020, with wind energy as the cornerstone. You can buy the book or read Plan B 3.0 online.
The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) is a coalition of big-name corporations and environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, General Electric, General Motors and many more. The group has proposed a framework for new climate legislation that includes cap and trade programs for greenhouse gas emissions, aiming to cut 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Read the group's A Call for Action.
Repower America is a project of the Alliance for Climate Protection, which is headed by Al Gore. Repower America has proposed a plan to power the United States entirely with clean energy within the next 10 years. The plan also includes big investments in energy efficiency and improvements to the electrical grid. Learn more about Repower America.
Want more information about climate change? See A Plan for the Solar Revolution for how renewable energy can reduce carbon emissions, and The Amazing Benefits of Grass-fed Meat for more about greenhouse gases and agriculture.