Plan for a Clean Energy Future
“Well, I don’t believe that climate change is just an issue that’s convenient to bring up during a campaign. I believe it’s one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation. That’s why I’ve fought successfully in the Senate to increase our investment in renewable fuels. That’s why I reached across the aisle to come up with a plan to raise our fuel standards… And I didn’t just give a speech about it in front of some environmental audience in California. I went to Detroit, I stood in front of a group of automakers, and I told them that when I am president, there will be no more excuses — we will help them retool their factories, but they will have to make cars that use less oil.”
— Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, October 14, 2007
At a Glance
* Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
* Invest in a Clean Energy Future
* Support Next Generation Biofuels
* Set America on Path to Oil Independence
* Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
* Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change
1. Foreign Oil: America’s 20-million-barrel-a-day oil habit costs our economy $1.4 billion a day, and $500 billion in 2006 alone. Every single hour, we spend $41 million on foreign oil.
2. Climate Change: As a result of climate change, glaciers are melting faster; the polar ice caps are shrinking; trees are blooming earlier; more people are dying in heat waves; species are migrating, and eventually many will become extinct.
Barack Obama’s Plan
Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
* Cap and Trade: Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Obama’s cap-and-trade system will require all pollution credits to be auctioned. A 100 percent auction ensures that all polluters pay for every ton of emissions they release, rather than giving these emission rights away to coal and oil companies. Some of the revenue generated by auctioning allowances will be used to support the development of clean energy, to invest in energy efficiency improvements, and to address transition costs, including helping American workers affected by this economic transition.
* Confront Deforestation and Promote Carbon Sequestration: Obama will develop domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Invest in a Clean Energy Future
* Invest $150 Billion over 10 Years in Clean Energy: Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. A principal focus of this fund will be devoted to ensuring that technologies that are developed in the U.S. are rapidly commercialized in the U.S. and deployed around the globe.
* Double Energy Research and Development Funding: Obama will double science and research funding for clean energy projects including those that make use of our biomass, solar and wind resources.
* Invest in a Skilled Clean Technologies Workforce: Obama will use proceeds from the cap-and-trade auction program to invest in job training and transition programs to help workers and industries adapt to clean technology development and production. Obama will also create an energy-focused Green Jobs Corps to connect disconnected and disadvantaged youth with job skills for a high-growth industry.
* Convert our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders: Obama will establish a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize and Americans learn the new skills they need to produce green products.
* Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund: Obama will create a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund to fill a critical gap in U.S. technology development. Obama will invest $10 billion per year into this fund for five years. The fund will partner with existing investment funds and our National Laboratories to ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S
* Require 25 Percent of Renewable Electricity by 2025: Obama will establish a 25 percent federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 25 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S. is derived from clean, sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal by 2025.
* Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology: Obama will significantly increase the resources devoted to the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies. Obama will consider whatever policy tools are necessary, including standards that ban new traditional coal facilities, to ensure that we move quickly to commercialize and deploy low carbon coal technology.
Support Next Generation Biofuels
* Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.
* Expand Locally-Owned Biofuel Refineries: Less than 10 percent of new ethanol production today is from farmer-owned refineries. New ethanol refineries help jumpstart rural economies. Obama will create a number of incentives for local communities to invest in their biofuels refineries.
* Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Barack Obama will establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard to speed the introduction of low-carbon non-petroleum fuels. The standard requires fuels suppliers to reduce the carbon their fuel emits by ten percent by 2020.
* Increase Renewable Fuel Standard: Obama will require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be included in the fuel supply by 2022 and will increase that to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030.
Set America on Path to Oil Independence
Obama’s plan will reduce oil consumption by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030. This will more than offset the equivalent of the oil we would import from OPEC nations in 2030.
* Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will double fuel economy standards within 18 years. His plan will provide retooling tax credits and loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that they can build new fuel-efficient cars rather than overseas companies. Obama will also invest in advanced vehicle technology such as advanced lightweight materials and new engines.
Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
* Set National Building Efficiency Goals: Barack Obama will establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. He’ll also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade to help us meet the 2030 goal.
* Establish a Grant Program for Early Adopters: Obama will create a competitive grant program to award those states and localities that take the first steps to implement new building codes that prioritize energy efficiency.
* Invest in a Digital Smart Grid: Obama will pursue a major investment in our utility grid to enable a tremendous increase in renewable generation and accommodate modern energy requirements, such as reliability, smart metering, and distributed storage
Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change
* Create New Forum of Largest Greenhouse Gas Emitters: Obama will create a Global Energy Forum — that includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa –the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. The forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues.
* Re-Engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change: The UNFCCC process is the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate problem and an Obama administration will work constructively within it.
Barack Obama’s Record
* Renewable Fuels: Obama has worked on numerous efforts in the Senate to increase access to and use of renewable fuels. Obama passed legislation with Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) to give gas stations a tax credit for installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps. The tax credit covers 30 percent of the costs of switching one or more traditional petroleum pumps to E85, which is an 85 percent ethanol/15 percent gasoline blend. Obama also sponsored an amendment that became law providing $40 million for commercialization of a combined flexible fuel vehicle/hybrid car within five years.
* CAFE: Obama introduced a bold new plan that brought Republicans and Democrats, CAFE supporters and long-time opponents together in support of legislation that will gradually increase fuel economy standards and offer what the New York Times editorial page called “real as opposed to hypothetical results.”