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A Menu of Effective and Feasible Energy Solutions

Steps to Produce More Clean Energy and Grow the Economy

SOURCE: AP/Rick Bowmer

A wind plant supervisor looks at wind gauges on the top of a wind turbine at the PPM Energy wind farm, in Wasco, Oregon. Federal, state, and local policymakers, as well as the private sector, can take steps to produce more clean energy and grow the economy, reduce pollution while saving energy and dollars, and build more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

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See also: Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012 by Jason Walsh and Kate Gordon

Download the solutions for the administration (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for Congress (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for states (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for local governments (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for the private sector (pdf) (Scribd)

Below are concise guides for each federal, state, and local policymakers, as well as for the private sector, that outline actions that each group can take in 2012 to advance a clean energy agenda and strengthen our economy and resilience to the effects of climate change. These actions are taken from CAP’s white paper "Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012," where longer descriptions can be found on the page numbers specified in each respective guide below.

A menu of effective and feasible federal solutions for the administration

The Obama administration can take steps today that will help get us on the path toward achieving three critical goals:

  • Produce more clean energy and grow the economy.
  • Reduce pollution while saving energy and dollars.
  • Build more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

The federal actions outlined below would achieve these goals, which are critical for accelerating the new clean energy economic transformation that has already begun and for moving forcefully into a new economic era defined by stronger industries, better infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class. We detail these recommendations in our paper “Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012.” Here are the federal highlights.

To generate a significant percentage of our energy from low-carbon sources, the Obama administration can:

  • Encourage combined heat and power projects and waste-heat recovery projects to control industrial pollution under new Clean Air Act standards – page 11
  • Form an action team at the Departments of Defense and Energy to increase the use of power-purchase agreements to achieve renewable electricity goals – page 11

To reduce the cost of clean energy deployment by attracting private investment, the Obama administration can:

  • Commit to a new 2013 through 2015 ramp-up period for financing international climate change reduction programs – page 18
  • Fulfill a $1 billion pledge for tropical-forestry funding – page 19
  • Issue tax guidance to enable the use of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds for clean energy projects – page 20

To strengthen our economy by helping our industries and workers capture the economic opportunity of clean energy, the Obama administration can:

  • Ensure the federal government is greening its supply chain using Executive Order 13514 – page 23
  • Develop a partnership between the U.S. Export- Import Bank and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to support U.S. clean energy exports – page 24
  • Expand the E3 Initiative to make manufacturers greener and more competitive – page 24

To realize significant energy savings in all sectors of our economy, the Obama administration can:

  • Initiate a Rehab-to-Rent program that converts government-owned vacant, foreclosed homes to affordable, energy efficient rentals – page 32 Promptly implement existing appliance standards – page 33
  • Create a “green” real estate appraisal standard to ensure that energy costs are included in mortgage underwriting – page 34
  • Provide leadership to ensure successful implementation of $2 billion commitment to retrofit federal buildings – page 35

To reduce greenhouse gas pollution with carbon prices and smart clean energy standards, the Obama administration can:

  • Lead efforts to phase out the production and use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons under the successful Montreal protocol – page 44
  • Preserve “blue carbon” as key climate-mitigation strategy – page 45
  • Finalize strong performance standards for regulating carbon dioxide pollution from power plants and oil refineries – page 45
  • Use authority under the Clean Air Act to levy fees or require purchase of carbon permits by U.S.- based airlines – page 46
  • Ask the National Academy of Sciences to analyze the environmental consequences and life-cycle pollution of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – page 46

To achieve oil savings, the Obama administration can:

  • Finalize rules to modernize fuel economy and carbon dioxide pollution standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2017–2025 – page 52

To balance energy production with other economic and conservation priorities on public lands and waters, the Obama administration can:

  • Finalize and enact plan to safely site utility-scale solar power facilities on public lands – page 60
  • Support the National Ocean Council’s implementation of America’s national ocean policy – page 61
  • Create two new national monuments: Fort Ord in California and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico – page 62
  • Ensure the “Smart from the Start” program, which expedites offshore wind, is smart through the finish – page 63
  • Certify the Powder River Basin in Wyoming as a coal production region – page 64

A menu of effective and feasible federal solutions for Congress

Congress can take steps today that will help get us on the path toward achieving three critical goals:

  • Producing more clean energy to grow the economy.
  • Reducing pollution while saving energy and dollars.
  • Building more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

The congressional actions outlined below would achieve these goals, which are critical for accelerating the new clean energy economic transformation that has already begun and for moving forcefully into a new economic era defined by stronger industries, better infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class. We detail these recommendations in our paper “Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012.” Here are the federal highlights.

To generate a significant percentage of energy in our nation from low-carbon sources, Congress can:

  • Extend the production tax credit for wind power – page 8
  • Extend the Section 1603 Treasury Cash Grant Program – page 9
  • Eliminate barriers in the investment tax credit program for projects in combined heat and power, waste-heat recovery, and offshore wind energy – page 10

To realize significant energy savings in all sectors of our economy, Congress can:

  • Increase commercial building retrofits by improving the energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction – page 32
  • Enact new consensus appliance standards into law – page 33
  • Create a “green” real estate appraisal standard to ensure that energy costs are included in mortgage underwriting – page 34
  • Encourage adoption of model building codes by states – page 34

To achieve oil savings, Congress can:

  • Pass a surface transportation bill that prioritizes funding for public transportation and transitoriented development – page 53
  • Enable federal agencies to finance advanced biofuels production for the U.S. military – page 53

To ensure climate resiliency and restoration, Congress can:

  • Restore the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast – page 57

A menu of effective and feasible state solutions

State policymakers can take steps today that will help get us on the path toward achieving three critical goals:

  • Produce more clean energy and grow the economy.
  • Reduce pollution while saving energy and dollars.
  • Build more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

The state actions outlined below would achieve these goals, which are critical for accelerating the clean energy economic transformation that has already begun and for moving forcefully into a new economic era defined by stronger industries, better infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class. We detail these recommendations in our paper “Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012.” Here are the state highlights.

To generate a significant percentage of energy in our nation from low-carbon sources, state policymakers can:

  • Pass ballot initiatives or legislation to strengthen state renewable-electricity standards – page 12
  • Require “green power” purchasing by state governments – page 14
  • Expedite permitting processes for offshore wind development in state waters – page 14

To reduce the cost of clean energy deployment by attracting private investment, state policymakers can:

  • Create state green banks – page 20
  • Use state public benefit funds to attract private dollars and drive financing and deployment strategies – page 21

To strengthen our economy by helping our industries and workers capture the economic opportunity of clean energy, state policymakers can:

  • Create industry partnerships that link economic and workforce development in states’ regional economies –page 25
  • Create green economy business incubators – page 26
  • Transform the waste industry to create jobs and reduce pollution – page 26
  • Develop the home-retrofit industry – page 27

To realize significant energy savings in all sectors of our economy, state policymakers can:

  • Adopt state energy-efficiency resource standards – page 36
  • Adopt energy-efficiency procurement mandates and create stakeholder advisory councils – page 37
  • Institute decoupling rules – page 37
  • Adopt and strengthen state building energy codes – page 38
  • Bring commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy programs to scale in state and metropolitan markets – page 39
  • Implement junior lien residential Property Assessed Clean Energy programs – page 39

To reduce greenhouse gas pollution with carbon prices and smart clean energy standards, state policymakers can:

  • Strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the 2012 program review – page 47
  • Institute fracking safeguards in the states – page 48

To achieve oil savings, state policymakers can:

  • Integrate smart growth and public-transit strategies – page 54
  • Pursue regional initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide pollution in the transportation sector – page 54

To ensure climate resiliency and restoration, state policymakers can:

  • Develop state and climate change adaptation plans – page 58

A menu of effective and feasible local solutions

Local governments can take steps today that will help get us on the path toward achieving three critical goals:

  • Produce more clean energy and grow the economy.
  • Reduce pollution while saving energy and dollars.
  • Build more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

The local government actions outlined below would achieving these goals, which are critical for accelerating the clean energy economic transformation that has already begun and for moving forcefully into a new economic era defined by stronger industries, better infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class. We detail these recommendations in our paper “Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012.” Here are the local government highlights.

To generate a significant percentage of energy in our nation from low-carbon sources, local governments can:

  • Implement Clean Local Energy Accessible Now contracts in cities – page 13

To strengthen our economy by helping our industries and workers capture the economic opportunity of clean energy, local governments can:

  • Expand the Energy, Economy, Environment, or E3, Initiative to make manufacturers greener and more competitive – page 24
  • Create industry partnerships that link economic and workforce development in states’ regional economies – page 25
  • Transform the waste industry to create jobs and reduce pollution – page 26
  • Develop the home-retrofit industry – page 27

To realize significant energy savings in all sectors of our economy, local governments can:

  • Bring commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy programs to scale in metropolitan markets – page 39
  • Prioritize energy efficiency and other progressive energy programs at municipally owned utilities – page 40

To ensure climate resiliency and restoration, local governments can:

  • Develop local climate change adaptation plans – page 58

A menu of effective and feasible private-sector solutions

The private sector can take steps today that will help get us on the path toward achieving three critical goals:

  • Produce more clean energy and grow the economy.
  • Reduce pollution by saving energy and dollars.
  • Build more resilient and balanced economies and communities.

The private-sector actions outlined would achieve these goals, which are critical for accelerating the clean energy economic transformation that has already begun and for moving forcefully into anew economic era defined by stronger industries, better infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class. We detail these recommendations in our paper “Taking Action on Clean Energy and Climate Protection in 2012.” Here are the private-sector highlights.

To generate a significant percentage of energy in our nation from low-carbon sources, private-sector leaders can:

  • Start the build-out of the Atlantic Wind Connection’s offshore wind backbone – page 15
  • Set internal industry standards to increase renewable energy use and reduce waste, especially in energy-intensive sectors – page 16

To strengthen our economy by helping our industries and workers capture the economic opportunity of clean energy, private-sector leaders can:

  • Build pathways for recruitment and job advancement in the utility industry – page 28

To realize significant energy savings in all sectors of our economy, private-sector leaders can:

  • Mobilize pension funds to invest in building efficiency – page 41
  • Prioritize energy efficiency at corporate headquarters, across stores and manufacturing plants, and in the supply chain – page 41

To reduce greenhouse gas pollution with carbon prices and smart clean energy standards, privatesector leaders can:

  • Adopt corporate sustainability goals aimed specifically at lowering carbon emissions – page 49
  • Develop and adopt a private industry standard for responsible fracking – page 50

Download the solutions for the administration (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for Congress (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for states (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for local governments (pdf) (Scribd)

Download the solutions for the private sector (pdf) (Scribd)

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