This article was first published by National Wildlife Federation on March 31, 2009.
President Obama has asked Congress to deliver comprehensive energy legislation that invests in clean energy, creates millions of green jobs, cuts our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, and holds energy companies accountable for reducing global warming pollution.
We can’t afford to wait to invest in better ways to power our future and to protect the planet. But oil companies are fighting back with an all-out advertising campaign to stall progress and keep America’s energy policy stuck in the status quo.
Here are five things you should know about the campaign:
The scare campaign is bankrolled by Big Oil. The oil industry has launched a desperate media blitz attacking President Obama’s energy plan – the same oil companies that made $155 billion in profits in 2007 (far more than the President’s plan to spur clean energy investments would cost).
Our dependency on fossil fuels is stalling America’s economy. We’re already spending more than $400 million every day on foreign oil. If we don’t act now, the Energy Dept. says America’s energy bill will increase by $420 billion annually within the next five years. That amounts to $3,500 every year for every family in the nation.
Clean energy creates jobs. Clean energy solutions are economic solutions. The clean energy and energy efficiency industries in America already employ 3.7 million people, and we’ve only scratched the surface of its potential.
Clean energy delivers better energy choices. The more we invest in technologies that harness renewable energy and use energy more efficiently, the cheaper these technologies become. Renewable technologies are following a “learning curve” similar to computers and other modern technologies that get cheaper and more powerful as manufacturers innovate. For example, the cost of solar technologies has been reduced by 90% in the last two decades.
Investing in a clean energy future is the only affordable path for America. According to a detailed technology analysis by McKinsey & Company, the United States can reduce global warming pollution by 30% through investments that, in their entirety, save as much money through lower energy bills as they cost. And let’s not ignore the rising cost of inaction. Electric power companies right now are trying to raise electricity rates across the country because of the high cost of coal – for example, as much as a 50% increase over the next three years for parts of Ohio, West Virginia and the Midwest.
We need new energy policies to spur investment at the scale needed to break our dependency on fossil fuels. At the heart of any energy plan, we must hold energy companies accountable to limit and reduce their global warming pollution. Most global warming pollution comes from oil and coal. Placing enforceable limits on global warming pollution will immediately drive private investment in renewable energy technologies as well as efficient technologies that use energy smarter.