Earth Day 2008: New Direction Congress Shows We Can Green Our Earth And Grow Economy
Today, Earth Day, Rep. Wasserman Schultz made the following statement regarding the leadership Congress has taken since Democrats gained the majority in the House and Senate.
"Our New Direction Congress is taking the lead in reducing carbon emissions, starting with making the House of Representatives carbon neutral and passing legislation that will help the environment and the economy, said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "We are investing in alternative energy and lowering carbon emissions, while moving to lower energy costs and produce green economy jobs. Here in the U.S. House of Representatives we showed that it is possible to take a large operation and make it carbon neutral in less than two years."
As chairwoman of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Wasserman Schultz played a key role in taking the U.S. House of Representatives carbon neutral.
The U.S. House of Representatives went from 91,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2006 to 24,000 metric tons by the end of 2008. The remaining carbon emissions will be offset with the purchase of carbon credits.
Nationally, the New Direction Congress has moved to improve the environment and the economy through a series of measures:
Reducing Global Warming
- The New Direction Congress passed the historic and bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to set American on the path to energy independence, respond to the global warming crisis, grow our economy, and lower energy costs. The new energy law is a critical first step in reducing global warming.
- The new law will save 5.3 billion metric tons in energy-related CO2 emissions from 2008-2030. By 2030, the emissions saved every year are equivalent to that of 130 (500 megawatt) coal burning power plants. [EIA, 3/4/08]
- Under the new law, the growth in energy-related emissions of CO2 from 2006-2030 will drop by 10 percent -- from a 35 percent increase to a 25 percent increase. [EIA, 3/4/08]
- In our next step to combat global warming, Congress has a tax bill to invest in renewable energy - the key to diversifying our energy sources with an emphasis on those that reduce emissions and bringing down energy costs over the long-term. A coalition including businesses, environmental groups, labor, public health organizations, and utilities wrote that, "The clean energy tax incentives in H.R. 5351 would help our country make the transition to this economy - an economy powered by low-carbon technologies that help solve global warming." [Coalition Letter, 2/26/08]
- The Energy Bill's solar investment tax credit alone will reduce carbon emissions by 240 million tons, or the equivalent of taking 52 million passengers cars off the road for one year." [Solar Energy Industries Association, 2/25/08]
Creating Green Jobs
- Not only is this investment in renewable energy good for the environment, but it will also create green jobs here at home. The energy tax provisions will save more than 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector, and are vital to creating hundreds of thousands more, and are fully paid for by repealing nearly $18 billion in unnecessary tax subsidies for the five large integrated oil companies.
- The historic and bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act includes key provisions to create green jobs all across America, from rural towns to big cities.
- Massive development of biofuels will support the creation of as many as 1.1 million new jobs in all sectors of the economy between 2008 and 2022;
- Job training will to prepare workers for the up to 3 million new green jobs over 10 years. Twelve states stand to gain nearly 170,000 new manufacturing jobs in wind turbine manufacturing and almost 93,000 new manufacturing jobs making the parts for solar power equipment [Renewable Energy Policy Project]; and,
- The new fuel economy standard for cars and trucks will help spur the creation of more than 170,800 new jobs in the year 2020.
Lowering Energy Costs through Greater Energy Efficiency
- The historic and bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act includes key provisions to help consumers lower their energy costs by using less energy.
- Increase vehicle fuel efficiency will save American families $700 to $1,000 a year at the pump.
- Building, appliance and lighting efficiency standards will save consumers $400 billion through 2030.