More than one-hundred green-energy company executives went to Washington, D.C., this week to urge members of Congress to pass a sweeping climate change bill, reports Mercury News. Clean-tech entrepreneurs and investors believe a bill that includes a cap on carbon emissions will help drive billions of dollars in clean-energy investments and ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, according to the article.
The investor coalition Ceres and the Clean Economy Network organized this week’s fly-in of executives from more than 100 companies, reports the New York Times. Executives met with the Senate’s “Gang of 16” including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Director Carol Browner.
In June, the House passed legislation designed to combat global warming, and now the focus has shifted to the Senate, but legislation faces an uphill battle due to regional concerns among senators from oil- and coal-dependent states, reports Mercury News.
The Kerry-Boxer bill calls for a 20 percent reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, while the House-passed bill (H.R. 2454) calls for a 17 percent reduction by 2020, reports the New York Times. Both bills include long-term emissions reductions of 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050.
John Doerr, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capitalists, attended these meetings. Doerr and other supporters predict that a cap on carbon emission would trigger a significant shift away from oil and toward solar and wind and batteries, spurring billions in new investments and creating new jobs, reports Mercury News. Opponents call the cap-and-trade system a huge tax increase on energy.
Opponents may be out of luck on this point.
At the Clean Energy Economy Forum in Washington, Commerce Secretary Locke made it very clear that a carbon cap is here to stay, reports the Examiner. Locke said this will send a signal to business in America that “it’s safe and profitable to make long-term investments in clean energy,” according to the article.
Chu said at the Forum that if Congress fails to pass climate and energy legislation soon, the United States runs the risk of falling behind China as a global leader in producing wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and other clean-energy technologies, reports the New York Times.
Chu also announced that the Energy Department will provide up to $750 million from the stimulus package to accelerate the development of conventional renewable energy generation projects, according to the New York Times. The stimulus commitment includes the DOE’s launch of its Financial Institution Partnership Program, which is designed to speed the agency’s loan guarantee underwriting process and leverage private-sector expertise and capital, according to the article.