Americans set to gazump Australian clean energy jobs Media Release

Apr 01, 2009 - 10:09am

The powerful Chair of the US Energy and Commerce Committee Congressman Waxman last night released a draft “Clean Energy and Security” Bill containing stronger, smarter and more ambitious provisions than the Australian Government’s current CPRS and clean energy policy agenda, the Climate Institute said today.

“This continues a trend of stronger legislation from within the US Congress which could leave Australia well behind the Americans in securing and creating clean energy jobs, reducing energy costs through energy efficiency and driving investment in low carbon business and technology,” John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute said.

“It is a package better geared to the global climate negotiations with provisions for some revenue from the emissions trading scheme to help stop the destructive and polluting logging of global forests, an effort to be added to their overall pollution reduction targets.”

The US draft legislation commits America to reducing carbon pollution by 30% off 2005 levels that would equate to Australia effort of 25% reduction off 1990 levels by 2020, from a preliminary analysis.  The package contains the equivalent combination of 20% national reductions with some international offsets, topped up with another 10% reductions through forest protection efforts funded with 5% of emissions trading permit revenues.

“This move by the Americans should jolt the Australian Government, Coalition and Senate crossbenches into a new urgency to get on with amending the current CPRS, boosting clean energy and energy efficiency policies and strengthening pollution reduction targets,” Mr Connor said.

“Strengthening our legislation and policies can not only help the negotiations for an effective global climate agreement in Copenhagen at the end of the year, it will help drive the growth of clean energy and other jobs and investment so we can prosper in the emerging global low carbon economy.”

The US Bill has measures to increase renewable energy proportions from 6% in 2012 to 25% in 2025 and contains a package of broader energy efficiency measures targeted at commercial and residential buildings.

The summary of the legislation has the following introduction:

The legislation will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution.

The legislation has four titles: (1) a “clean energy” title that promotes renewable sources of energy and carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon transportation fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission; (2) an “energy efficiency” title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry; (3) a “global warming” title that places limits on the emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and (4) a “transitioning” title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

One key issue that the discussion draft does not address is how to allocate the tradable emission allowances that restrict the amount of global warming pollution emitted by electric utilities, oil companies, and other sources. This issue will be addressed through discussions among Committee members.

The press release for the US package is here, with the full American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 Discussion Draft Full Text: 

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