Monday, February 01, 2010

FY 2011 Budget & Focus On The Clean Energy Economy

Feb 1: The President and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Administration's proposed $3.8 trillion budget. According to White House budget information, "The Administration is committed to moving the Nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity for all American families. To do this, the 2011 Budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

"But even as we meet the challenge of the recession and work to build an economy that works for all American families, we must also change the way Washington does business – ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent. The President’s Budget takes the steps to help jumpstart job creation, works to strengthen the economic security of American families, and makes the tough choices to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility."

In his budget message, the President reminded, "As we look to the future, we must recognize that the era of irresponsibility in Washington must end. On the day my Administration took office, we faced an additional $7.5 trillion in national debt by the end of this decade as a result of the failure to pay for two large tax cuts, primarily for the wealthiest Americans, and a new entitlement program. We also inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression—which, even before we took any action, added an additional $3 trillion to the national debt. Our response to this recession, the Recovery Act, which has been critical to restoring economic growth, will add an additional $1 trillion to the debt-- only 10 percent of these costs. In total, the surpluses we enjoyed at the start of the last decade have disappeared; instead, we are $12 trillion deeper in debt. In the long term, we cannot have sustainable and durable economic growth without getting our fiscal house in order.

According to a fact sheet on the budget and "Creating the Clean Energy Economy of Tomorrow," becoming the world leader in developing the clean energy technologies that will lead to the industries and jobs of tomorrow is critical to the future of our country. To help bring about the clean energy economy of tomorrow, the Budget will: Undertake a Comprehensive Approach to Transform our Energy Supply and Slow Climate Change; Develop the Market for Clean Energy Technologies; Spur Investment in Domestic, Clean Energy Manufacturing; Advance the Development of Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies; Eliminate Funding for Inefficient Fossil Fuel Subsidies; Invest in Science Research and Develop­ment; Boost Development of Clean Energy on Federal and Tribal Land; Invest in the Understanding of Climate Change and Its Impacts; Increase the Number of Math, Science, and Engineering Graduates; and Invest in a Smart, Energy-Efficient, and Reliable Electric Grid.

In more detail on transforming the county's energy supply and slowing climate change, the Administration says it "will work to enact and implement a comprehensive market-based policy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent in 2020 and more than 80 percent by 2050. Businesses will have the flexibility to seek out the most profitable and least costly ways of achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions, from making investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels to offsetting their emissions through agricultural activities that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and developing export markets for American clean energy technologies through investments in emission offset activities abroad. The policy will address the needs of vulnerable families, communities, and businesses to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy. To prepare for the reduction in emissions, the Government will invest in climate registries to account for greenhouse gas emissions; implement regulations that improve energy efficiency, lower energy bills, and reduce emissions; plan for the effects of a changing climate in the stewardship of our natural resources; and undertake the research and development of next-generation energy technologies that will promote our energy and climate security." The Budget also invests $2.6 billion to deepen our understanding of cli­mate change and its impact and calls for the U.S. to take prompt, substantial action to help the least developed and most vulnerable coun­tries adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

On the subject of ending fossil fuel subsidies, the Administration says, "As we work to create a clean energy economy, it is counterproductive to spend taxpayer dollars on incentives that run counter to this national priority. To further this goal, the Budget eliminates tax preferences and funding for programs that provide inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, which impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change. We are eliminating 12 tax breaks for oil, gas, and coal companies, closing loopholes that will raise $36 billion over the next decade. Moreover, this leadership in eliminating subsidies will also encourage prompter action by the major emerging economies to phase out their subsidies, which are in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually." 
Access the Clean Energy fact sheet (
click here). Access links to complete information on the proposed FY 2011 budget including fact sheets and state-specific information (click here).