If the president were serious about reducing America's gasoline consumption, he's ask us to drive less (by driving smarter – carpooling, combining trips, you know, all the stuff you thought about doing when gas was $3 a gallon – and taking more public transportation where possible) and change our lifestlyes, but I seriously doubt we'll hear that message tonight.
Still, it's nice to have these consumption reduction messages coming during a SOTU address. You can tell somethings stirring by the number of press releases that are floating around right now from corporate and other sources about ethanol and saving energy. I've posted two after the jump – one from the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) and the other from E3 BioFuels CEO Dennis Langley – just so you can see what I'm talking about.
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Major Businesses and Environmental Leaders Unite to Call for Swift Action on Global Climate Change
U.S. Climate Action Partnership Cites Environmental and Economic Benefits
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A diverse group of U.S.- based businesses and leading environmental organizations today called on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to achieve significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The group said any delay in action to control emissions increases the risk of unavoidable consequences that could necessitate even steeper reductions in the future.
This unprecedented alliance, called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), consists of market leaders Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, and PNM Resources, along with four leading non-governmental organizations -- Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and World Resources Institute.
At a news conference today at the National Press Club, USCAP issued a landmark set of principles and recommendations to underscore the urgent need for a policy framework on climate change. The solutions-based report, titled A Call for Action, lays out a blueprint for a mandatory economy-wide, market- driven approach to climate protection.
"The time has come for constructive action that draws strength equally from business, government, and non-governmental stakeholders," said Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric. "These recommendations should catalyze legislative action that encourages innovation and fosters economic growth while enhancing energy security and balance of trade, ensuring U.S. leadership on an issue of significance to our country and the world."
USCAP's recommendations [http://www.us-cap.org/ClimateReport.pdf] are based on the following six principles:
* Account for the global dimensions of climate change;
* Recognize the importance of technology;
* Be environmentally effective;
* Create economic opportunity and advantage;
* Be fair to sectors disproportionately impacted; and
* Recognize and encourage early action.
The principles and the recommendations outlined in A Call for Action are the result of a year-long collaboration motivated by the shared goal of slowing, stopping and reversing the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the shortest period of time reasonably achievable.
This unique cooperation of business and environmental leaders is a clear signal to lawmakers that legislative action is urgently needed. This non- partisan effort was driven by the top executives from member organizations- companies with a combined market capitalization of more than $750 billion and environmental groups with more than one million members worldwide and global policy influence.
A Call for Action reflects a growing public concern about global warming. A recent TIME magazine/ABC News/Stanford University poll finds that a significant majority of Americans, about 85 percent, say they believe global warming is probably happening. An even larger percentage, 88 percent, say they think global warming threatens future generations.
USCAP urges policy makers to enact a policy framework for mandatory reductions of GHG emissions from major emitting sectors, including large stationary sources and transportation, and energy use in commercial and residential buildings. The cornerstone of this approach would be a cap-and- trade program. The environmental goal is to reduce global atmospheric GHG concentrations to a level that minimizes large-scale adverse impacts to humans and the natural environment. The group recommends Congress provide leadership and establish short- and mid-term emission reduction targets; a national program to accelerate technology research, development and deployment; and approaches to encourage action by other countries, including those in the developing world, as ultimately the solution must be global.
"The Climate Action Partnership recognizes that the undertaking to address climate change is an enormous one, and should not be underestimated," said Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute. "But enacting environmentally effective, economically sustainable and fair climate change law must be a national priority."
USCAP believes that programs to encourage efficiency and to promote cleaner technologies in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 enacted by the last Congress and supported by the President were a good step. However, they alone cannot get us to where we need to be on the climate change issue. A mandatory system is needed that sets clear, predictable, market-based requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The members of USCAP pledge to work with the President, the Congress and other stakeholders to confront this vital global challenge.
[Source: United States Climate Action Partnership]
A full copy of A Call for Action may be found at www.us-cap.org
Ethanol Production and the State of the Union
Statement from Dennis Langley, CEO of E3 BioFuels, on New Closed-Loop System that Will Help Meet Ethanol Goals
MEAD, Neb., Jan. 22 /-- Dennis Langley, CEO of E3 BioFuels, released the following statement on reports that President Bush will propose a "massive" increase in U.S. ethanol usage in his State of the Union address this Tuesday:
"We welcome the President's proposal for a huge increase in use of biofuels, and E3 BioFuels is uniquely prepared to supply the ethanol needed in a way that is environmentally sound.
In a few short weeks E3 BioFuels will be producing commercial quantities of ethanol in the heartland of America in a way that's never been done before, virtually eliminating the need for fossil fuels in ethanol production.
Our Genesis plant in Mead, Nebraska, combines the proven technologies of an ethanol refinery, a cattle feedlot or dairy, and anaerobic digesters that turn cow manure into biogas fuel, into a radically new closed-loop system that is the only one in the world ready to produce ethanol with a minimal environmental footprint. It has multiple benefits beyond producing ethanol: It removes large volumes of methane (23 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. It also greatly reduces agricultural runoff, the leading source of water pollution in the United States.
Ethanol producers need a level playing field to compete against Big Oil. New policies can help rapidly expand cutting-edge ethanol production methods such as ours. And while other visionary companies, such as cellulose-to- ethanol producers, hope for a breakthrough within the next five to 10 years, E3 BioFuels is starting commercial production now. Our Genesis plant will serve as a template for many more such plants of increasing size that we intend to build and license in the next five years.
We call on President Bush to work with the new Congress to come up with a biofuels policy that can be embraced by Republicans and Democrats from the Midwest to the coasts. We understand there are some critics of ethanol. We invite them to come to Mead and see the E3 difference. It's a new day, and there's a new way to make ethanol.
We believe America can get 25% of its liquid fuel needs from domestic agriculture by 2025, and 50% by 2050, including ethanol and biodiesel. This will have a profound impact on the way we produce and use energy, and help wean the country from its dependence on foreign oil, curb global warming pollution, and revitalize rural America. This is a great moment when all the factors are coming together for American technology to lead the world in an energy revolution."
[Source: E3 BioFuels]