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ASES Report: Tackling Climate Change in U.S.

Sierra Club & Green Energy Ohio News Release                               

January 31, 2007                                                                               

Energy Experts Unveil Plan to Reduce Global Warming Emissions

Roadmap Details Plan for Tackling U.S. Global Warming Emissions

 by 2050 Using Efficiency, Renewables


Today on Capitol Hill the Sierra Club joined with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), key Members of Congress, and preeminent NASA climate scientist James Hansen, to unveil a new report authored by ASES that lays out a plan for dramatically reducing the nation's global warming emissions.  The roadma - now the official Sierra Club global warming strategy - details how an aggressive, yet achievable increase in the use of energy efficiency and renewables alone can achieve a 60-80% reduction in U.S. global warming emissions by 2050.


"This report shows that we can achieve the necessary reductions in global warming emissions using efficiency and renewables," said Ellen Hawkey Carmichael, Conservation Program Manager for the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter.  "Dollar for dollar, these clean energy solutions are the best choices for Ohio.  An investment in efficiency and renewable technologies will bring much needed manufacturing jobs to Ohio, reduce our global warming emissions and spur the economy.  There is no reason to invest tens of billions more in the outdated, environmentally and economically irresponsible technologies of yesterday like coal and nuclear when we can have efficient, clean energy at a reasonable cost." 


As the Ohio Chapter of ASES, Green Energy Ohio (GEO)'s Executive Director Bill Spratley noted that  "As a scientific and credible yardstick, this report shows how readily commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy can stabilize global warming."  Spratley also noted that ASES, GEO and the Ohio Dept. of Development will build on the this climate impact report as part of an Ohio-specific study of the potential jobs created from a larger state commitment to efficiency and renewables as part of SOLAR 2007, the 36th National Solar Conference set for Cleveland on July 7-12, 2007 [].  "Ohio's industrial muscle can lead the nation by making clean energy products that put Ohioans to work,"  Spratley said.


Climate scientists agree that in order to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming we need to halt the growth of our emissions immediately and begin reducing them within the decade.  The peer-reviewed report, "Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.,"  is authored by scientists from the American Solar Energy Society, many of whom are employed by our nation's national research laboratories.  It identifies the renewable energy resources available across the U.S. that can be used to transition away from the dirty, fossil fuel-based energy economy of yesterday toward the clean energy technologies that will fuel the economy of tomorrow.  The report brings together detailed analyses of various smart energy solutions, including energy efficiency solar (both photovoltaic and concentrating), wind, biofuels, biomass, and geothermal.


"This report moves the discussion from whether we can achieve the necessary reductions in global warming pollution with energy efficiency and renewable energy in this country to exactly how we should do it," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director.  "Fully three-quarters of the reductions in global warming pollution called for by Dr. Hansen and other scientists can be realized using energy efficiency, wind, and solar?all technologies we have today.  The rest can be made with geothermal, biofuels, biomass, and other renewables.  We already have the best, cheapest, and cleanest solutions at our disposal; now we just need the market and our political leaders to put them to work."


Key findings of the report:

  • We can reduce carbon emissions by 1,100-1,200 million metric tons annually by 2030 with aggressive deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy alone;
  • 82% of necessary reductions in carbon emissions can come from wind, solar, and increased energy efficiency.  Biomass, biofuels, and geothermal could comprise the rest;
  • This plan would achieve the U.S. share of reductions required to stabilize atmospheric CO2 levels at 450-500 parts per million and limit additional average temperature rise to 1°C above 2000 levels.

Consumers, business, and industry alike can benefit from the money-saving reductions in energy use that will come from increasing the efficiency of our cars, homes, offices, and factories.  Most places in the country are also able to take advantage of low-intensity solar energy for powering and heating homes and offices.  What's more, the clean energy economy of tomorrow will allow each region of the country to take advantage of the renewable energy resources most abundant in that area.  For example, here in the Midwest we have extremely plentiful solar, wind and biomass/biofuels resources offering significant economic benefits that are only beginning to be reaped 

The full report can be downloaded at:

"Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.: Potential U.S. Carbon Emission Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency by 2030,"

Softcover, 180pp.

Edited by Charles F. Kutscher

As scientists sound daily alarms about the dire consequences of global warming, Americans are asking one question: What can we do about it?

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) has an answer: Deploy clean energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies now!

This 200-page report, the result of more than a year of study, illustrates how energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can provide the emissions reductions required to address global warming.

To develop the report, ASES recruited a volunteer team of top energy experts. These experts produced a series of nine papers that examined how energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions?the main cause of global warming.

ASES collected the nine papers together and added an overview of the studies to create the report. It covers energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and industry, as well as six renewable energy technologies: concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, biofuels, and geothermal power. The results indicate that these technologies can displace approximately 1.2 billion tons of carbon emissions annually by the year 2030?the magnitude of reduction that scientists believe is necessary to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

Edited by SOLAR 2006 Conference Chair Chuck Kutscher, the report illustrates how energy efficiency measures could keep U.S. carbon emissions roughly constant over the next 23 years as the economy grows, and how renewable energy technologies could make deep cuts below today's emissions. Wind energy provides about 35% of the renewable energy contribution, while the rest is divided about evenly among the other technologies. "Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies can begin to be deployed on a large scale today to help save us from the worst consequences of global warming," said Kutscher. "With continued R&D to lower costs and a reasonable level of policy support, they have the potential to meet most, if not all, of the carbon reductions that will be required in the future."

Date Published - 2007