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February 22, 2013

Contact: Ruth McCormick
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BCSE Suggests Federal Actions to Address Effects of Climate Change

Washington, DC -- The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released a letter today to the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change regarding actions the federal government can take to address the effects of climate change.  The Bicameral Task Force, co-chaired by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), requested input from industry groups and other stakeholders, including the BCSE, regarding action that could be taken under existing authorities as well as suggestions for new authorities to be enacted by Congress.

In the letter to the Bicameral Task Force Council President Lisa Jacobson said,

 “The Council believes the optimal policy for regulating greenhouse gas emissions is for Congress to enact comprehensive market-based legislation that allows for flexibility and cost-effective emissions reductions, including carbon offsets. There are, however, a number of areas where Congress has already provided legislative authorities to federal agencies that when fully implemented would make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Federal actions outlined in the Council’s letter range from implementing energy efficiency standards, providing energy efficiency financing options for homeowners, implementing environmental regulations in a way that would allow existing power plants to achieve target emission rates through renewable energy capacity additions, energy efficiency, switching to lower greenhouse gas fuels, and investing in carbon offsets, recognizing the benefits of and making greater use of biogas and biomass, and assisting states identify and remove barriers to greater use of combined heat and power and waste heat to energy.  Federal agencies could also help significantly lower installed costs of clean energy systems (such as solar, wind, biomass, renewable natural gas/biogas, combined heat and power and waste heat to energy, hydropower and fuel cell and hydrogen energy systems, and increased energy efficiency) by aggregating procurements within federal agencies, between federal agencies, and leveraging with state and local government procurements.

“The federal government can also help make our nation more resilient to the effects of climate change,” Jacobson said,

“Federal agencies should support development of distributed generation able to operate when the grid is down, such as combined heat and power, fuel cells, and appropriately-configured solar photovoltaics, sited to support critical assets such as disaster centers, hospitals, transit operations, and gasoline stations. Agencies should also explore the ability of alternative fueled vehicles to provide transportation services in situations when the primary fueling infrastructure of disaster areas is adversely affected. ”These clean, reliable energy systems can keep critical infrastructure up and running during an extreme weather event.”