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.


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. http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/2008-10-01/How-To-Lower-Utility-Bills.aspx http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/2008-02-01/Easy-Projects-for-Instant-Energy-Savings.aspx 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: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/amory_lovins_on_winning_the_oil_endgame.html

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.

12/27/2008 11:17:07 PM

Just wanted to post a link to The Orion Project http://www.theorionproject.org/en/index.html For the person who wanted to know what one person can do, this effort is trying to give us a chance to help. They believe a Manhattan project styled effort is needed to get us COMPLETELY independent of unrenewable energy sources and soon. They are trying to, get some known but surpressed techniques out there and working as well as seek out new options. By providing a protective cover of mass information they hope to get out the news of accomplishments in a way that prevents any attempt at surpression or cover up. Check out the video that explains what they're up to. Of course ultimately, EVERYthing that you can do helps. You may not feel that it does but it's a combined effort and tossing that aside because you don't see what just YOUR choice can accomplish would make us all poorer. Keep the faith and do what you can (reduce, reuse, recycle, plain old buy less, buy smart etc) It DOES make a difference!

sandy l_1
12/27/2008 3:04:26 PM

I would like to know more information how single individuals can take action too. I know Obama has his website where you can offer your ideas but, I think we as single individuals need guidance and the opportunity to do our share too. Any suggestions?

julie casey
12/27/2008 10:50:35 AM

Here's another good (but shorter) article: John Stossel Exposes Global Warming Myths http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/global_warming/2007/10/17/41855.html Definitely worth reading and thinking about!

julie casey
12/27/2008 10:39:34 AM

GeneH, you are right on. We need to go green because it is the right thing to do - it is how we were intended to live on this Earth, whether you believe in a supreme being or in evolution or both. There is no doubt that the Earth is in a warming trend, but the complete data shows that it has been warming for a couple of hundred years, twice as long as we have been using oil as a main fuel source. These warming and cooling periods happen all the time, throughout the history of the Earth. I do believe our oil consumption may add a little to the greenhouse effect, but not in the catastrophic levels the histrionic so-called scientists want you to believe. Another good and sane article to read is: The Global Warming Myth? The End Is Not Near -- Instead of Panicking Over Climate Change, Learn to Adjust to It By JOHN STOSSEL http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3061015&page=1

12/27/2008 12:51:34 AM

Continued: We will surely become a third world country with few jobs, food shortages, with poor un-kept shelters and with no money, only credits issued by the UN. The Global Warming mantra is to scare us to giving into pressure to control us. All governments will continue to take more rights and means of defense away, so they can make us even more dependent and deeper into slavery. Read the early Americans Declaration of Independence and see we are in the some or worse spot now. Here is a link to it, http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/ well worth reading it a few times. I have read it several times and am most impressed with the resolve they had to throw off the strangle hold the King had on them…Our Kings now, called presidents, have the same control that the King of England had before our war of independence. See the last line of the Declaration of Independence below. Can we say we will protect this land and what freedom we have left with the same resolve? And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. I believe 100% in going green in harmony with Mother Earth, not because of the media hysteria of Global Warming but because it is the right thing to do. For those who will not go to the links and study about the earths history of climate, I will simply say the more CO2 we have the better all our living plants will do, and we will not have Global Warming because of CO2, and the better the plants do…we all will have more food and fiber, research for yourself. We must go back a ways to the earth for our needs. I want to thank Mother Earth for your Web site and the information being brought forward to help get back to the earth where all our needs are met. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Al Gores timing of his movie and his financial arrangements to broker the buying and selling of CO2 credits; follow the mone

12/27/2008 12:45:37 AM

Follow the money: • Global warming, • Greenhouse effect, • Carbon foot print, • Carbon neutral, • Carbon credits, • Sustainable growth, • Green. For the most part the persons, associations, clubs, and plans mentioned in the foregoing article have an agenda of control as an unstated goal and with that comes control and tremendous financial gains. They have adopted the Al Gore mantra of hurry, hurry, the earth is about to burn because of CO2. This mantra is being taught in school and is mandatory for young and older students to watch the Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. Most all news reports use the terms consensus, facts, undisputed, and others, when they report about “Global Warming” caused by CO2. So beats the drum, one mistruth quotes another and on and on with very few researching for themselves. Most of the data for the sky is falling hysteria comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Most all these researchers are funded by governments with ties to the UN, can you say, One World Government? We are being brain washed into believing we humans are the cause for “Global Warming” by CO2. Please take the time to study a couple of articles written by real scientists without an agenda, one is 24 pages the other is 50 pages. If you are really concerned about Mother Earth Please study these 3 links: 24 page http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/solar-cycles/Archibald2007.pdf, 50 page http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/22835.pdf and a web site monitoring sun spots http://www.solarcycle24.com/ After you read, study and do more research you still believe the lies told to us in order to get us to be taxed and controlled even more; then at least you have come to an informed decision to give up even more of our freedom. Wake up Americans; we are being sold to the highest or lowest bidders, i.e. the rest of our natural resources, and our manufacturing, and engineering jobs and more. We will surely

bill dickerson
12/26/2008 11:48:36 AM

One of the exciting new prospects is a small nuclear power station. (PhysOrg.com) -- Underground nuclear power plants no bigger than a hot tub may soon provide electricity for communities around the world. Measuring about 1.5 meters across, the mini reactors can each power about 20,000 homes. They are self contained and buried underground. The estimated life is (30) thirty years for the device. I understand a couple of manufacturers have taken orders for several thousand of these. Most of those are for remote locations but more are ordered each day for small communities.

julie casey
12/26/2008 11:28:54 AM

What nobody seems to understand or mention is that the only viable way to reduce carbon emissions is to live with less: fewer vehicles, smaller houses, less stuff. There are now almost 18% more passenger vehicles owned in the United States than there are drivers. Al Gore's mansions, while equipped with all the latest "green" gadgets, still are not green: it takes a lot of energy to manufacture all the materials that go in to building these huge abodes, not to mention all the furnishings and decor to fill them and the energy it takes to get from one to another. And electric cars? We cannot keep up with our need for electricity now, how about adding several million cars to the grid. To create that much electricity, we would have to build more coal fired plants, creating more carbon emissions than the gasoline cars did. Yes, we can go to solar and wind power, but it takes energy to create all these new things, and lots of space to set them up, too. If everyone downsized their life (i.e. have only one car per family, live in a small house, bought fewer things, etc.), then and only then will we slow green house emissions. Well, that AND control our population growth!

glenn campbell
12/26/2008 10:06:28 AM

In response to the question at the end of your article, of course the United States is not moving quickly enough on climate change, but that cannot deter us from moving as quickly as possible from this point forward. Thanks for this well-timed and hopeful article (although I agree with the previous poster that the Amory Lovins omission is a big oversight). What we Americans who understand the urgency of this issue must do is really hold the feet of Pres. Obama and other "rhetorically correct" office holders to the fire. The vested interests aligned against serious action on climate disruption cannot be underestimated. This is a moral and existential issue on which all enlightened citizens must apply a full-court press.

12/26/2008 9:36:43 AM

Plans for Action on Climate Change, where's the Lovins?

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