Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sierra Club & ASES Release Energy & Global Warming Strategy

Jan 31: At a Capitol Hill briefing, the Sierra Club joined with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), key Congressional chairmen and representatives, and the nation’s preeminent climate scientist to unveil a new report authored by ASES which they say lays out a plan for dramatically reducing the nation’s global warming emissions. The roadmap -- now the official Sierra Club global warming strategy -- details how an aggressive, yet achievable increase in the use of energy efficiency and renewables alone can achieve a 60-80% reduction in U.S. global warming emissions by 2050. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee; Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee; and Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT) attended the event.

Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director said, "This report moves the discussion from whether we can achieve the necessary reductions in global warming pollution with energy efficiency and renewable energy in this country to exactly how we should do it. Fully three-quarters of the reductions in global warming pollution called for by Dr. Hansen and other scientists can be realized using energy efficiency, wind, and solar -- all technologies we have today. The rest can be made with geothermal, biofuels, biomass, and other renewables. We already have the best, cheapest, and cleanest solutions at our disposal; now we just need the market and our political leaders to put them to work."

The peer-reviewed report, Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.- Potential U.S. Carbon Emissions Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency by 2030, is authored by scientists from ASES, many of whom are employed by the nation’s national research laboratories. It identifies the renewable energy resources available across the U.S. that can be used to transition away from the dirty, fossil fuel-based energy economy of yesterday toward the clean energy technologies that will fuel the economy of tomorrow. The report brings together detailed analyses of various smart energy solutions, including energy efficiency solar (both photovoltaic and concentrating), wind, biofuels, biomass, and geothermal.

To develop the report, ASES recruited a volunteer team of top energy experts. These experts produced a series of nine papers that examined how energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions -- the main cause of global warming. ASES collected the nine papers together and added an overview of the studies to create the report. It covers energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and industry, as well as six renewable energy technologies: concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, biofuels, and geothermal power. The results indicate that these technologies can displace approximately 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions annually by the year 2030 -- the magnitude of reduction that scientists believe is necessary to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

On January 24, 2007, Greenpeace USA and other climate and energy advocates and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), released a similar report showing that the United States could address global warming, without relying on nuclear power or so-called “clean coal” [See WIMS 1/25/07]. The Greenpeace report detailed an energy scenario in the United States where nearly 80% of electricity could be produced by renewable energy sources and carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced 50% globally and 72% in the U.S.

Access a Sierra Club release (click here). Access a release from ASES (click here). Access the ASES Climate Change website for additional information (click here). Access the complete 204-page report (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]