Congress hears pitch for energy efficiency
Energy efficient light bulbs are just one of the technologies that make energy efficiency the nation's second largest power source
May 24, 1999
Web posted at: 12:00 PM EDT
Energy efficiency by its nature is beneficial to efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, Alliance to Save Energy President David M. Nemtzow testified Thursday before a joint hearing of Senate and House subcommittees concerning the Clinton administration Climate Change Technology Initiative.
The climate change initiative would allocate $6 billion in tax credits and federal grants to promote energy efficiency investments and research, development and deployment.
"Energy efficiency has been repeatedly cited as a key solution to slow the loading of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We now have a quarter-century track record of showing how energy efficiency reduces emissions of criteria air pollutants as well as carbon," Nemtzow testified.
Nemtzow also made it clear in his testimony that enhanced federal energy efficiency efforts are important for the nation's future regardless of energy efficiency's impact on climate change because of its contributions to the economy.
"The tough choices on energy and climate must be made with a clear eye on the contribution to the environment, the economy, national security and international competitiveness delivered in the past and promised for the future by energy-efficiency," said Nemtzow.
Energy efficiency, which is best defined as getting more output per unit of energy input, was the number two energy source in the United States in 1997, said David Hamilton of the Alliance to Save Energy.
However, he said the public has a hard time seeing how energy efficiency is the same as an energy source like petroleum, coal or nuclear power. "Upgrades in energy efficiency made to home appliances, industrial equipment, building systems or car and truck fleets serve as an energy source that increases our overall supply of electricity, coal, oil an natural gas," Nemtzow testified.
Hamilton said that budget cuts required under the 1998 Balanced Budget Agreement will cause deep cuts in the government funding of energy efficient programs, research and development. Therefore, Nemtzow, in his testimony, took extra care to point out energy efficiency's benefits beyond its contributions to climate change.
"This is a very strange appropriations year," said Hamilton. "We are dealing with a surplus and budget cuts. The question is who is gong to take the pain for spending cuts?"
An out to the problem may be a breaking of the budget caps set by the Balanced Budget Agreement, but whoever breaks the caps will be blamed for robbing social security, said Hamilton.
Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved
RELATED ENN STORIES:
Environmental institute goes emissions free
'Energized' students cut energy costs
Energy Star houses save owners big bucks
Researchers try hot air to cool global warming
Study touts benefits of energy efficient houses
Testimony Of David Nemtzow, President Alliance To Save Energy
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.