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Ian Bowles
State Secretary, Energy & Environment Affairs

Ian Bowles

Ian Bowles is the Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs. Previously, he served as associate director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Clinton administration. ALL POSTS

Present Concrete Steps Taken

Since taking office, President Obama has changed the U.S. landscape on clean energy and greenhouse gases (GHGs) fundamentally.  Instead of ignoring MA vs. EPA as the last administration did, President Obama has moved forward with numerous steps: sweeping auto efficiency standards, new GHG regulations and a significant new (recovery act) investment in clean energy to name a few.

In addition, unlike in Europe, energy is largely regulated by the states. Part of the reaction to the last administration was major steps forward by states.  The regional greenhouse gas initiative is showing that a 100 percent auction policy works and delivers results.  In addition, Massachusetts has already returned back to 1990 levels of GHG emissions and is on a trajectory to be at least 10 to 15 percent below them by 2020 (probably more once we institute economy wide measures under our state GHG law). Half of the U.S. has a renewable mandate -- in New England, our competitive energy markets have produced results (our third year in a row with more renewables than mandated) and a large development pipeline and a lot of new jobs.

The U.S. delegation has some things to point to -- including some things that go beyond what other nations are doing.  Obviously, we would be in a much stronger position if Congress had completed action on a clean energy/GHG law -- but the reality is such a law would take a decade or more to catch up to what many states have already done. 

So, lay the cards on the table and lets make as much progress as possible. The bottom line is we need much stronger federal action, but we are off to a strong start under the Obama administration.

By Ian Bowles  |  October 8, 2009; 3:18 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I'm not going to doubt your sincerity, but the scientific basis for the Al Gore thing is suspect at best and when examined skeptically there really is no basis. That being said, I think green house gases are the wrong goal. What the goal should be is energy independence.

To achieve energy independence, a broad based approach should be used. First, increase energy output. Put tax incentives in place for all new houses to have solar cells. Next, make use of the idea that T. Boone Pickens advocates, creating massive solar cells in the great plains and using that to generate electricty across the country. Invest in the distribution network so that the excess solar/wind power can be redistributed where it is needed. Upgrade cars to run on the natural gas freed up by generating electricty with solar/wind. Make nuclear power plants. Upgrade the roads. Build light rail systems.

Now for the controversial part. Drill, baby drill. Get domestic oil. Dig, baby, dig. Get more coal. Liquify coal, and use it to run cars, as well as using natural gas.

Upgrade the cars. Use multiple fuels (gasoline, natural gas, ethenol, coal derivatives), or diesel. Also, upgrade the vehicles to be hybrids.

One of the things about hybrids. A single car will never receive any payback from being a hybrid. If the entire fleet becomes hybrids, it will.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | October 11, 2009 8:21 AM
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