President Bush is to sign a compromise Energy Bill (HR6) this morning, which will help reduce US dependence on foreign oil and scratch the surface on climate change impacts by cutting about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say the US must slash.
Highlights of the Bill:
-New auto fleets must average 35 miles/gallon by 2020 -- a 40 percent increase in fuel-efficiency standards
-Mandate use of 36 billion gallons/year of ethanol and other biofuels by 2022, a six-fold increase over today's ethanol production.
-Phase-out conventional incandescent light bulbs by mid-teens, replaced with CFs and LEDs.
Those of us interested in alternative energy development were disappointed by the failure of congressional supporters to roll back US$13.5 billion in tax breaks for oil companies. The savings were to be used to create incentives for wind, solar and biomass energy development, as well as energy conservation.
The Bill actually represents the first increase in auto fuel economy since 1975 and the compromises made on both sides represents a true bi-partisan effort. So the House, Senate, and President Bush should be applauded for making this happen.