Photo via JacobEnos
Greenpeace has commissioned a carbon footprint analysis of the projects proposed within the economic recovery package, and that analysis shows that the stimulus would cut a minimum of 61 million tons of CO2 every year. That is equal to the greenhouse gases from electricity use in 7.9 million American homes or taking over 13 million cars off the road.
But, there's a big area where even more impact could be made. Transportation.
Read on for details of the report's findings. ICF International — a leader in climate and energy consulting for governments and major companies — conducted the analysis, looking at those parts of the package where measurable greenhouse emissions was possible. Parts of the package where measuring the carbon footprint was impossible were left out. This means about $24 billion of the $51.9 billion detailed in the energy portion of the stimulus package could be quanitified. The findings are something greenies can smile about. This portion of the package equates to eliminating about 61.5 million metric tons of annual CO2 emissions.
"The fact that the federal government could spend so much money and actually help slow global warming means we've really turned the page as a country," said Kert Davies, Greenpeace's Research Director. "This is a real sign that we're starting to move beyond the era of fossil fuels."
The report shows findings such as $2.5 billion spent on energy efficiency upgrades to homes could reduce carbon emissions by 7.3 million metric tons and save $1.25 billion in annual utility costs. Also, a $6.9 billion investment in assisting state and local governments in boosting energy efficiency could mean a $3 billion savings every single year and cut carbon emissions by over 20 million tons per year.
Highlights from the findings include:
• Energy Effciency Housing Retrofts generate $1.25 billion in savings on a stimulus nvestment of $2.5 billion and save 87.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the programs' energy effciency improvements.
• Home Weatherization spending of $6.2 billion investment could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 8 million metric tons annually and 131 million metric tons over the lifetime of the insulation improvements.
• Helping consumers install forescent light bulbs would provide immediate payback in terms of carbon and energy savings.
However, The transportation provisions of the bill could be altered to have a bigger impact on fighting global warming. If funds were spent on new highway construction instead of highway repair or public transit, then transportation projects could reduce the benefits by up to 5 million tons annually. $30 billion is allotted for transportation, and what happens with that money is important to climate change.
After looking at the analysis findings, Greenpeace is recommending:
1. Since the job-creation potential of clean energy is virtually limitless, Congress should increase funding for these projects still further. Investments in energy efficiency create 4.4 times the number of jobs as the same investment in nuclear energy and 2.6 times the number of jobs as coal. (http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/assets/binaries/green-job-creation-table)
2. Make the renewable energy tax credits recession-proof. Today, some clean energy companies aren't earning enough profits to pay taxes and claim the credit. Congress should make the tax credit fully refundable.
3. Eliminate the wasteful and environmentally damaging loan guarantees for nuclear power and liquid coal, which generate far fewer economic and jobs benefits than clean energy.
Via Press Release
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