The Energy Bills Are Not Enough

The author of today’s post, Sheryl Canter, is an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.

The energy bills passed by the House and Senate may have you thinking you can relax about climate change, but think again. These bills have some important provisions and we hope they pass, but a new analysis [PDF] by Environmental Defense shows that they don’t solve the global warming problem. Even if the best fuel-saving and renewable energy provisions in the bills were combined in conference committee, greenhouse emissions would continue to rise for the next three decades.

This underscores the urgent need for this Congress to pass comprehensive climate change legislation that reduces emissions far below today’s levels.

Energy Bills Analysis

Our analysis compares three scenarios: more optimistic (the best bill out of conference and full implementation by federal agencies), less optimistic (weaker CAFE standards and fewer actions on oil savings), and business-as-usual. Under the less optimistic assessment, emissions would be 35 percent above 2005 levels in 2040. Under the more optimistic scenario, greenhouse gas emission levels still would be 11 percent higher in 2040.

As Bill Chameides pointed out in his post on the U.S. Emissions Target, the U.S. must cut emissions below current levels by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. These bills cut emissions below current levels by 0 percent.

The energy bills promote energy independence, boost renewable energy sources, and raise automotive efficiency standards, and all of these are important. But they will not solve the global warming problem.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 26, 2007 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    I see the cafe standards as a myth or a farce, in the present way that it is figured and used by the auto makers.
    The technology exists today that will make your Expedition or Caddy get 40 to 50 mpg, it will make a Kenworth get 25 mpg with a 45,000 pound load on. Its called hydrogen boosting of the fuel with compressed hydrogen gas. If you are interested in this old technology go here:
    It’s a cool site with lot’s of data about alternative energy
    production and fuels. The engineers are good, one used to work for NASA and the other is a former automotive engineer. There are thousands of sites about the subject, only a few such as this one offer you the technical data/specs on such things, and the know-how to make them work. I am a former USAF Aeronautical engineer, and I see where some aircraft systems can be used as stationary power stations for small towns. Jet engines can run on methane gas AKA sewer gas that is vented off most municipal sewer systems, give this gas a boost with some compressed hydrogen gas and it will burn real clean and efficient making power and hot water/steam to make more power, and the jet blast/exhaust can also turn a few wind turbines all from an almost free fuel supply. Folks want to give that gas away, HA HA! Oh yeah, your car can run
    on that gas too, just need to ensure it’s a direct injection fuel system for a cleaner burn of the fuel, and less waste.
    It works just like propane gas but burns hotter, so the hydrogen boosting of it makes it a cooler burning fuel, less wear on the engine parts. We could shut down about 20 coal fired plants if these hybrid power stations were built in every smaller town, and these systems can be used by bigger cities to power their city offices, street lights, traffic lights, hospitals etc. Think of the cost savings, and the less problems they might have during commercial power outages. I know this possibility scares those who are in charge of or own the current national power grid. They love the control they have enjoyed having over those of us that are tied in to their grid, as a soul source of power that can be turned off at will. To break away from this grid system would be real energy independence.
    This whole cafe standard business is hogging the headlines while big energy opens more coal fired power plants, while coal mines in Utah are caving in on the miners becoming about the worlds largest tomb, a natural pyramid for the working man. Yes, we do need to make our changes quickly
    cost should not be an issue, time is most critical right now! Hydrogen as a fuel has been around since the early
    1900’s, it was even used to power spotter balloons during the civil war, produced using a couple of natural elements that when mixed correctly will produce hydrogen gas in a semi-controlled environment. The whole hydrogen fear issue comes from it being used as a rocket fuel base. It was first used as a rocket fuel stabilizer or coolant by the Germans in the 1940’s, when hydrogen burns it produces water thus it cools the rocket engine allowing for longer burn times. OK
    enough with the “rocket science” stuff, yeah I hear ya! LOL
    But we do have a way to clean our environment up a bit while we make energy, it-turn maybe we can reverse some of the damage we as a species has done to the environment.
    This one would make the kings of Egypt envious.