March 30, 2008

Policy- Presidential Climate Action Plan

The Presidential Climate Action Plan has developed a non-partisan plan for presidential leadership within 100 days of Inauguration. PCAP presents a specific and comprehensive blueprint for bold leadership, rooted in climate science and designed to ignite innovation at every level of the American economy.

The University of Colorado Denver has facilitated the development of the plan with the advice of a prestigious board of top climate science and policy experts. PCAP incorporates many of the best ideas put forward by the presidential candidates, universities, non-governmental organizations and others, as well as new ideas based on original analyses commissioned by the project. PCAP’s comprehensive plan encourages a more creative level of public discussion about how the nation will address global warming. A final plan will be issued to the candidates in September 2008, reflecting new policy ideas, science, research and federal action that emerge during the campaign.

PCAP is rooted in the conviction that we must build an innovative environmentally sound economy for the new realities of the 21st Century. That economy must achieve three goals for this and future generations: security, opportunity, and stewardship.

The Presidential Climate Action Plan will consist of four parts:

1) Goals and milestones for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
2) Actions the President can take under his/her executive authority during the first 100 days in office
3) Actions for the Administration's first 1,000 days in office
4) Initiatives the President can include in his/her first budget and legislative package to Congress.

The PCAP will not be prescriptive; rather, it will consist of a menu of action options, each accompanied by an estimate of its impact on GHG emissions to the degree possible. This will allow the President to create an action plan of his/her choosing, while meeting recommended targets for GHG emission reductions.

Action options in the PCAP will include changes in Federal programs, policies, budgets, statutes and regulations, subsidies and incentives, agency authorities and personnel. The PCAP also will include actions to improve the energy efficiency and GHG emissions profile of the Federal government itself -- the nation’s largest energy consumer and due to its size, a potential market-shaper for low-carbon products and services.


Engage the best thinking of America’s leaders in government, science and civil society to identify actions that will empower all elements of society to meet the challenges of energy security and climate change;

Define achievable but effective greenhouse gas reduction goals and timeframes for the United States;

Create a sound portfolio of action options, including policies, programs, statutory and regulatory changes, and budget and staffing options for the 44th President and the 111th Congress;

Collaborate with many of the multiple efforts underway to improve the nation’s energy economy, GHG emissions profile and national security so that collectively, respective efforts will result in a more effective whole;

Set the stage for candidates running for public office in 2008 to take positions on specific proposals to address climate, energy and national security;
Focus the nation’s attention and catalyze concrete action on the most important issues of our time.

Security: Stabilizing the climate, the economy and the international community

To achieve true security, the people of all nations must achieve a decent and sustainable standard of living. This cannot be done with the same carbon-intensive energy resources that powered the industrial era. Those resources are moving us to the threshold of dangerous climate change. Further, we cannot be secure in a future of global resource conflicts as developed and developing nations compete for the same finite fossil fuels. We must make a rapid transition to unprecedented levels of energy efficiency and to low-carbon, renewable resources. PCAP’s recommendations include:

-To stop subsidizing war, conflict and terrorism, cut America’s oil consumption in half by 2020 and eliminate all petroleum imports by 2040 without increasing domestic production. Create an international Organization of Petroleum Importing Countries (OPIC) to collaborate on reducing international dependence on oil.

-Redirect federal subsidies for fossil fuels to dramatically increase our investment in low-carbon energy technologies, designs and products.

-Conduct a national security analysis on the implications of increasing America’s reliance on imported resources such as natural gas and uranium, and the homeland security implications of constructing additional LNG import facilities and nuclear power plants.

-Seek the declaration of the Persian Gulf as a “zone of international interest” protected by a multi-national peacekeeping force that guarantees the free flow of oil as OPIC nations reduce dependence on petroleum imports.

Opportunity: Unleashing the marketplace

Millions of new jobs will be created to stabilize the climate, sequester carbon and adapt to climate changes already underway. The federal government should align, synchronize and create incentives, bust barriers and help correct price signals in the marketplace. It also should launch new public-private partnerships to build a robust low-carbon economy.

PCAP’s recommendations include:

-Set life-cycle performance standards for new power plants, buildings and vehicles – the principal sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Starting immediately, new power plants must
be carbon-neutral. By 2020, America’s passenger vehicles must average at least 50 miles per gallon. By 2030, all new buildings must be carbon-neutral.

-Establish an oil price floor of $45 per barrel to encourage and protect capital investments in renewable energy.

-Offer $1 billion in incentive awards for breakthrough technologies.

-Create 40 million new jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries by 2030.

-Provide $1 billion annually to states and localities to implement their own aggressive plans for energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate action, including rate reforms that allow
utilities to profit from energy efficiency.

-Replace the U.S. Department of Energy with a small dynamic agency that merges DOE’s technology programs with the U.S. Small Business Administration to create the new businesses and jobs that will transform our energy economy.

-Redirect federal rural development programs, including the Rural Utility Service loan program, to invest in the technologies and infrastructure that will make America’s farms and rural communities the rich new frontier for renewable resources.

Stewardship: Marrying Ecology, Economy, and Equity

Global warming proves that economic and ecological health are interdependent. The impacts of climate change on natural systems and their services affect not only our species but all species; not only this generation but those that will follow. These adverse impacts will hit some nations, industries, communities and families more than others. For these reasons, stewardship – in other words, caring for natural systems, the disadvantaged and future generations – forms an essential component of the 21st Century economy.

PCAP’s recommendations include:

-Reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 3% each year until 2020 and 2% annually thereafter to achieve a 30% reduction by 2020 and a 90% reduction by mid-century.

-Engage the international community to set similar goals for the world’s five largest developing nations, starting in 2020. Implement a cap-and-auction system involving the 2,000 “first providers” of fossil fuels to achieve carbon pricing in 100% of the economy.

-To guarantee early reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while the cap-and-auction regime is taking hold, direct EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions immediately under the Clean Air Act.

-Champion a 10-fold increase in the Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income families.

-Create a Green Jobs Corps to train 35,000 underprivileged youth each year in the “green trades” essential to the new energy economy.

-Make the nation’s largest energy user – the federal government – carbon neutral by 2050.

-Propose omnibus legislation to reshape federal programs and update current environmental laws to address global warming and climate adaptation.

-Reform U.S. lending and development programs to stop funding carbonintensive
projects overseas and champion changes in international trade agreements to remove the
barriers to climate action.

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