As the Congress returns to DC, President Obama and Majority Leader Reid will need to keep making the case to the Senate that a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill deserves their attention now, so the President can sign a bill this year. The President has been intensifying his rhetoric in support of climate legislation, saying that
"But we’ve still got more work to do, and that’s why I’m going to keep fighting to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation in Washington. We’re going to try to get it done this year."
And as the Washington Post reported last week,
In a speech at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, Obama made one of his strongest pitches for comprehensive climate legislation, arguing that the case for breaking the nation's addiction to fossil fuels has been made clearer by the environmental catastrophe in the gulf.
"I will make the case for a clean-energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done," Obama said. "The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century."
But, knowing that some are still calling for the Senate to think small by passing a bill that just boosts energy production from clean and dirty sources, I thought it would help to outline five reasons why a comprehensive package will do more for national security, the economy, the budget and the environment than an energy-only bill.
Independent analyses show that a strong comprehensive clean energy and climate bill would:
- Cut US oil imports in half, by reducing our dependence on oil and enabling US producers to maximize the output of aging land-based wells, according to Advanced Resources International. An energy-only bill won’t.
- Cut Iran’s oil revenues by $100 million. A strong limit on carbon pollution could significantly cut the flow of petrodollars to Iran, which would lose approximately $1.8 trillion worth of oil revenues over the next forty years. Meanwhile, an energy-only bill would do little to reduce U.S. oil imports beyond opening new areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to oil drilling with all the attendant environmental problems.
- Cut our budget deficit by $24 billion between 2010 and 2019, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). An energy-only bill would increase the deficit by $13.5 billion over the same time period, according the CBO’s analysis.
- Create about 1.9 million jobs, according to independent analysis by the University of California and further substantiated by a literature review by Third Way. That’s nearly four times as many jobs as an energy-only bill would create.
- Cut 2 billion metric tons of global warming pollution from 2005 levels, by 2020. An energy only bill would at best cut just a tenth of that amount, but could also increase pollution levels depending on its details.
Anyone contemplating supporting energy-only over a comprehensive bill should bear these facts in mind. And realize that whether your top priority is national security, deficit reduction, job creation or pollution reduction, a comprehensive bill clean energy and climate bill does a lot more for our country.