House Stimulus More Effective Fighting Climate Change

Energy Package Could Save $3 Billion More a Year in Utility Costs

Media release - February 10, 2009
UPDATE: A new ICF analysis commissioned by Greenpeace shows that the House version of the stimulus package would be more effective in fighting global warming, cutting approximately 12 million metric tons more greenhouse gas emissions than the Senate version. Furthermore, the House version’s energy package would save government and consumers approximately $3 billion more in utility bills annually. See original release below for details on the provisions studied and methodology.

"At a time when Congress must make every dollar it spends count, this analysis shows that the biggest bang for the taxpayer's buck is in energy efficiency and conservation. We urge negotiators to put the money back where it creates jobs, reduces energy bills and protects the climate," said Kert Davies Greenpeace USA Research Director.

For a side-by-side comparison of the two bills' carbon impact, visit:

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/side-by-side-comparison-of-ghg

Kert Davies, Greenpeace USA Research Director, 202-319-2455, and Steven Biel, 202-319-2468, Greenpeace USA Global Warming Campaign Director, are available to discuss the implications of the bills' to the economy and environment or Mike Crocker, Greenpeace USA Press Officer, 202-215-8989.

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Greenpeace & ICF: Stimulus Will Fight Global Warming

Recovery Package Would Cut At Least 61 Million Tons of CO2 Every Year

WASHINGTON - A new Greenpeace-commissioned carbon footprint analysis of the economic recovery package projects that the bill's energy efficiency and conservation provisions alone could cut carbon dioxide emissions by over 61 million metric tons annually, equivalent to the greenhouse gases from electricity use in 7.9 million American homes or taking over 13 million cars off the road. However, the transportation provisions of the bill, if spent on new highway construction instead of highway repair or public transit, could reduce the benefits by up to 5 million tons annually.

The analysis was conducted by ICF International, a leading climate and energy consulting firm for governments, Fortune 500 companies, and non-profits (http://www.icfi.com/).

"The fact that the federal government could spend so much money and actually help slow global warming means we've really turned the page as a country," said Kert Davies, Greenpeace's Research Director. "This is a real sign that we're starting to move beyond the era of fossil fuels."

Any effective economic stimulus must address global warming. Climate change will create a $271 billion drag on the U.S. economy by 2025 according to NRDC, and cost 5 - 20 percent of global GDP by 2100, according to the U.K. government's Stern Review.

The report projects how different provisions of the recovery package could affect US greenhouse gas emissions. Across the board, of the measures analyzed, energy efficiency offers the biggest potential for carbon reductions, as well as significant cost savings to consumers and local municipalities.

For example, the report found that $2.5 billion spent on energy efficiency upgrades to homes could reduce carbon emissions by 7.3 million metric tons and save $1.25 billion in annual utility costs. Similarly, a $6.9 billion investment to help state and local governments invest in energy effiiency could generate $3 billion in savings every single year and cut carbon emissions by over 20 million

tons per year.

In contrast, if the $30 billion allotted for transportation were spent on new highways, which create sprawl and paradoxically attract more cars, it would cause 10-50 times the global warming pollution than a similar expenditure on light rail or repairing existing roads. Previous research found that investments in mass transit create 19 percent more jobs than new highway construction.

(http://www.transact.org/library/decoder/jobs_decoder.pdf)

In order to maximize the recovery package's economic and environmental benefits, Greenpeace recommended the following measures:

1. Since the job-creation potential of clean energy is virtually limitless, Congress should increase funding for these projects still further. Investments in energy efficiency create 4.4 times the number of jobs as the same investment in nuclear energy and 2.6 times the number of jobs as coal.

(/usa/Global/usa/binaries/2008/10/green-job-creation-table.pdf)

2. Make the renewable energy tax credits recession-proof. Today, some clean energy companies aren't earning enough profits to pay taxes and

claim the credit. Congress should make the tax credit fully refundable.

3. Eliminate the wasteful and environmentally damaging loan guarantees for nuclear power and liquid coal, which generate far fewer economic and jobs benefits than clean energy.

The full report can be downloaded at

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/ghg-impact-of-the-economic-sti

Greenpeace's analysis can be downloaded at

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/highlights-of-icf-internationa

Background

The report examined the Economic Stimulus Package proposal circulated to Congress on January 20, 2009. ICF was able to quantify the carbon

footprint for roughly $24 billion out of the $52 billion in energy spending detailed in the original proposal. For the transportation spending, which was slated to be distributed by states, ICF analyzed four different scenarios: spending all the money on new highway construction, spending half on new highways and half on road repair,spending it all on repair, and spending on light rail mass transit.

The majority of the remaining spending was determined likely have a beneficial effect on global warming pollution that was not quantifiable with the details provided at the time. For instance, several provisions provide money for research that will likely have long-term global warming benefits, such as a "Smart Grid" that will improve the efficiency of electricity distribution.