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5 Plans for Action on Climate Change and Renewable Energy

The consensus is in: Climate change is real and is fueled by human activities. But these five ambitious plans offer solutions to the climate crisis.

| Dec. 24, 2008

  • Solar panels
    It’s time to focus on renewable energy in our national energy policy — for the health of the planet and the economy.
  • Plan B 3.0
    Lester Brown’s Plan B 3.0 outlines steps needed to cut emissions 80 percent by 2020.

  • Solar panels
  • Plan B 3.0

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.

David Guirl
12/31/2008 12:10:56 PM

what about T. Boone Pickens? He seems to be getting notable attention from Obama and the media. To GeneH, it may just be another effort to control us all, but at least something is happening. Because governments move so slowly, we can hope that the right people will step in and keep us heading down the right path.

Megan Phelps
12/30/2008 10:34:02 AM

Hi, I'm on the editorial staff here at Mother Earth News. I wanted to post a couple of additional links in response to some of the questions people are asking. If you're looking for information on what you can do about climate change, we have a couple of recent articles about saving energy at home that are a great place to start thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint. Also, we're big fans of the work of Amory Lovins around here. We discussed including him in this article, but ultimately decided the issue of oil and his ideas about design and efficiency were too complex to address in this short article, especially since most of these other plans deal specifically with renewable energy. We'll definitely write more about Amory Lovins in the future. But for anyone interested in learning more about his ideas, there's a great video here that's definitely worth checking out:

Lyle Strickland
12/29/2008 7:41:15 PM

I am appreciate the article and want to know as an individual, what I can do to lower my emissions, if a lot of people do a little it will be much easier to accomplish than if we wait or expect the governments to do it for us. I have put up 3 small windmills, I want to supply 100% of my energy from renewable sources, can anyone give me advice on how I can find more affordable solar or wind devices.

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