Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State Of The Union Energy & Climate Initiatives

Jan 23: According to the White House there were eight major policy initiatives contained in the President's State of the Union message. The initiatives include: ENERGY: Twenty In Ten: Strengthening America's Energy Security; HEALTH CARE: Affordable, Accessible, And Flexible Health Coverage; EDUCATION: Building On Results: A Blueprint For Strengthening NCLB; IMMIGRATION: President Bush's Plan For Comprehensive Immigration Reform; HIV/AIDS: Leading The Worldwide Fight Against HIV/AIDS; MALARIA: The President's Malaria Initiative Is Saving Lives; DEFENSE: Strengthening Our Military; and SPENDING REFORMS: Reforms To Spend Tax Dollars Wisely.

On the energy issue, the President asked Congress and America's scientists, farmers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years – "Twenty in Ten." The plan calls for increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels and by reforming and modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and extending the current light truck rule. The President's energy plan also includes stepping up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways and doubling the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Further details provided by the White House indicated the President's Twenty In Ten Goal would be reached by: Increasing The Supply Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels By Setting A Mandatory Fuels Standard To Require 35 Billion Gallons Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels In 2017 – Nearly Five Times The 2012 Target Now In Law. In 2017, the will displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use. Additionally, the plan calls for Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule. In 2017, which will reduce projected annual gasoline use by up to 8.5 billion gallons, a further 5 percent reduction that, in combination with increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels -- bring the total reduction in projected annual gasoline use to 20 percent.

On the subject of climate change, the President did acknowledge the issue and said, "America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change." Further White House details indicated that the President's Plan will help confront climate change by stopping the projected growth of carbon dioxide emissions from chars, light trucks and SUVs within 10 years. By 2017, the White House indicated that the renewable fuel and fuel efficiency components of the plan would cut annual emissions from cars and light trucks by as much as 10 percent, about 175 million metric tons – equal to zeroing out the annual emissions of 26 million automobiles. And, the plan could cumulatively prevent the buildup of more than 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In a press briefing held before the actual State of the Union that included, Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett; National Security Advisor Steve Hadley; Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Joel Kaplan; and Press Secretary Tony Snow; Kaplan told reporters, "It's also important to note that under this President's climate change policy, we're making significantly more progress than any of our friends and allies who have adopted some kind of national carbon trading system. In between 2000 and 2004, while our economy was growing 10 percent, our carbon emissions grew by 1.7 percent, as compared to the European Union, which had economy growth of 7 percent and carbon emissions growth of 5 percent. So we've been making good progress under this President, and we'll continue to make progress with the types of energy policies the President is talking about tonight."

Access the complete State of the Union text (
click here). Access further details on the Energy Initiatives (click here). Access an overview of other initiatives in the address (click here). Access the full text of the advance press briefing (click here). Access links to webcasts of the address (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]