Ending Global Warming and Building a New Energy Economy

by Senator John Edwards

Edwards Cites New Hampshire’s Progress

"While Washington caters to special interests invested in business as usual, the threat of global warming is rising. Regular Americans in places like New Hampshire are taking action on climate change now, showing that tomorrow begins today." -- John Edwards

Our generation must be the one that ends our nation’s dependence on oil and ushers in a new energy economy. We need energy independence from unstable and hostile areas of the world, from global warming pollution, and from the old ways of doing business. John Edwards believes – and New Hampshire residents are proving – that by harnessing American ingenuity, we can emerge from the crisis of global warming with a new energy economy that reduces greenhouse gas pollution and puts the power to create and conserve energy in more hands.

New Hampshire Leadership on Energy and Global Warming

While Washington is captive to special interests that have blocked real solutions to climate change, innovators in New Hampshire are already leading the way with policies similar to the ones John Edwards has proposed enacting nationwide:

· Capping Greenhouse Pollution: New Hampshire has broken free of the political deadlock in Washington by joining with 9 other Eastern states to voluntarily adopt a carbon cap-and-trade system for addressing global warming. Through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, New Hampshire will reduce the carbon emissions of its power plants by 10 percent by 2019. New Hampshire was also the second state in the nation to voluntarily limit its own greenhouse emissions from power plants in 2002, with the Clean Power Act. [RGGI, 2007]

· Investing in Renewable Energy Generation: New Hampshire has enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring utilities to generate 25 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025. In Rochester, the methane gas emissions from the local Turnkey landfill create enoughclean electricity to power the landfill and recycling plants, deliver electricity to 8,000 homes with power sold back to the local utility, and soon, will meet 85 percent of the University of New Hampshire’s needs. [Waste Management, Inc., 2007; UNH, 2007]

· Opening the Electricity Grids to Put the Power in More Hands: Traditionally, America’s electricity has been supplied from large, central power plants and transmitted through miles of power lines. New Hampshire’s regional electricity administrator, ISO, was the first in the nation to allow not just supply-side but demand-side sources of energy – fromenergy efficiency projects to local, on-site renewable power generation – to compete on equal footing in an auction to meet the region’s needs. New Hampshire also allows customers to sell energy they generate on-site back to the grid through net metering. [New England ISO, 2006; NH PUC, 2007]

· Using Efficiency as the Cheapest Fuel: Using efficiency to meet the growth in electricity demand reduces our greenhouse pollution and helps new renewable sources gain market share. New Hampshire’s Public Utility Commission is currently considering efforts to decouple utility companies’ profits from energy sales so that they no longer have adisincentive to help customers save energy. The state’s utilities help customers conserve with retrofits and efficiency devices paid for by the eventual energy savings. And while weatherization is critical to New Hampshire families managing high home heating costs, President Bush has cut federal funding affecting the state’s programs by 16 percent, and only about 1 out of every 8 eligible New Hampshire families who applied was served in 2005. As part of his plan to help regular families conserve energy, Edwards will reverse the Bush cuts to the weatherization program and instead double the budget, to $500 million a year. [NH PUC, 2007; NH OEP, 2007; NH OEP, 2007]

The Edwards Plan to End Global Warming and Build the New Energy Economy

John Edwards has outlined a bold plan to halt global warming, create a new energy economy and achieve zero-growth in electricity demand through efficiency for the next decade. He will:

· Halt Global Warming: Greenhouse gas pollution could create a completely different planet, with floods resulting in tens of millions of refugees every year, and hundreds of millions of people starving to death. Edwards will cap the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as determined by climate science. He will reduce emissions by 20 percent by2020 and by 80 percent by 2050. Because all nations must join the effort, Edwards will share clean energy technology with cooperating nations and, if necessary, require minimum climate-change commitments in our trade deals. [Hansen, 2/26/2007; AP, 3/11/2007]

· Create the New Energy Economy and 1 Million New Jobs: Energy technology can create an economic boom across the nation, including clean tech investments from Silicon Valley, jobs in renewable energy in rural America, and a revitalized manufacturing base and “green-collar” jobs.

  • Create the New Energy Economy Fund : Edwards will create a $13 billion a year fund to invest in renewable energy and energy-efficient technology. To raise the money, he will charge greenhouse gas polluters for emission permits and repeal subsidies for big oil companies.
  • Invest in Renewable Energy : Renewable energy like wind, solar power, biomass and ethanol are cleaner and often cheaper than traditional sources of energy. Edwards will require their use to generate 25 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2025, expand the use of ethanol in cars, and invest more resources in researching and encouraging these clean forms of energy.
  • Transform the American Auto Industry : Edwards’ plan will cut oil imports by 7.5 million barrels a day by 2025 through greater fuel economy, biofuels, and hybrid cars. He will invest $1 billion a year in helping U.S. automakers advance and apply the latest technology.

o Open the Electricity Grid to Innovation : Local, on-site production of electricity will allow more Americans – in homes, farms, businesses, schools, and neighborhood groups – to establish their own innovative renewable power sources and compete with traditional plants. Edwardswill support local renewable power by offering a $5000 tax credit for homes and small businesses, encouraging states to adopt net metering and making the renewable production tax credit permanent. He will also require utilities to consider local distributed generation as a means of lowering costs compared to new investments in centralized production and transmission.

· Achieve Zero Growth in Electricity Demand with Efficiency for the Next Decade: There are large opportunities for Americans to use power more efficiently, typically at half the cost of producing more power. However, most power companies earn profits from selling more power, not using it more efficiently. Edwards will reform utility payments toencourage efficiency rather than more production, as New Hampshire is considering. He will also invest in more efficient buildings and appliances, help families weatherize their homes, and use “smart thermostats” to help families monitor and reduce their energy.