Fall Spotlight on Energy

On June 26, 2009 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) to address the role of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in perpetuating climate change. Most notably, the bill features a 'cap and trade' initiative to set the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions at a predetermined level, and a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) mandating large, state utility companies produce an increasing percentage of electricity from renewables (i.e. 17% below 2005 levels by 2020). Though multiple bills addressing similar concerns have been drafted in the Senate none have made it to the floor.


The current energy debate is focused – in part – on the impact that limiting GHG emissions will have on businesses and consumers. Though the House was able to pass comprehensive energy legislation it only did so by a slim margin, 219-212. The inability of the Senate to pass a similar bill underscores the depth of division on the proposed solutions.


What people are saying about The American Clean Energy and Security Act


'Cap-and-Trade' Initiative


  • The 'cap-and-trade' program will significantly reduce GHG emissions by establishing a ceiling for GHGs through standard emission allowances and tradeable permits. By 2020, the result will be comparable to taking twice the number of U.S. cars on roads today out of service. (American Center for Progress)


  • The 'cap-and-trade' program is ultimately a tax on consumers redistributing wealth to persons and businesses chosen by the government. These include people of low income and clean energy businesses. (The Heritage Foundation)

Clean Energy


  • ACES in tandem with American Recovery Act funds will directly and indirectly create 1.7 million clean energy jobs. (The American Center for Progress)


  • Though the bill will create a number of jobs, it will destroy a disproportionately greater amount of jobs in energy intensive industries such as manufacturing, transportation, trade and agriculture. By 2035, the manufacturing industry will have lost 1.17 million jobs. (The Heritage Foundation)

Climate Change


  • In order for there to be a significant slow down of climate change a global effort is required. ACES outlines the steps the U.S can take to contribute to the work other nations have already begun. (PEW Center on Global Climate Change)


  • The proposed initiative is not strong enough. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, emissions need to be cut 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. (Greenpeace International)


The numbers behind energy: these and many more available in NPP's publications and tools

  • In 2009, 2.5 cents of your federal income tax dollar was spent on the combined category of energy, the environment, and science. Only education, international affairs, and transportation received a smaller portion of the same dollar.

  • Since the 1950s, U.S. energy use per person has increased more than 57%.

  • More than 85% of energy in the U.S comes from limited fossil fuels. The remainder comes from a combination of nuclear derived power and renewable sources.

  • 2008 marked the first time in 25 years spending on Renewable Energy research and Development exceeded spending on Fossil Fuel Research and Development. Even then, expenditures on renewable research only exceeded fossil fuel research and development by 37%.


How NPP can help you learn more about energy:


Tax Day 2010

Track how the federal government spent your 2009 federal income-tax dollar on energy, environment and science.


NPP Database

This one-of-a-kind database contains state and local level data on federal spending correlated with ten broad issue areas including energy, environment and science. Utilize it to see how the federal government allocated expenditures in your state, county, or school district.


The President's Budget: Fiscal Year 2011

This publication reviews Presidential budget requests spanning fiscal years 2008 to 2012 which include requested spending authorities from the final Bush budget to the Obama administration's projected 2012 budget. See the breakdown of energy, environment and science expenditures over the five year span.


More Food for Thought


The Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is a liberal public policy think tank addressing 21stcentury challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. http://www.americanprogress.org


The Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank concerned with formulating and promoting public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. http://www.heritage.org/issues/education


Greenpeace International

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization acting to change attitudes and behavior, protect and conserve the environment, and promote peace. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/