Federal Climate Change Policy is Needed Now and Must Leverage the Private Sector

For years, the rapid growth we have seen in energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy drove down U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (now 10% below 2005 levels) while the economy grew. That’s why it was frustrating to see energy productivity (the ratio of U.S. GDP to energy consumed) stagnate and 2018 economy-wide U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increase by over 2 percent from the previous year.

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s recently released 2019 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook documents strong trends in clean energy but also makes the case for continued federal policy support that leverages private sector investment to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Natural gas and renewable energy surged in 2018. Amidst continued price drops for renewable power and storage, over 19 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable installations came online corporations signed contracts for a record 7.7 GW of renewable power. 2018 also saw growth in the number of businesses joining new initiatives to demonstrate leadership in energy efficiency.

While the carbon intensity of the US power sector continues to decline, the urgency of the challenges in infrastructure, resilience, and emission reductions appear to be increasing the appetite for clean energy and climate change policy at the local, state and federal levels.

If we get the policies right — working to leverage private sector investment –we can see faster clean energy development, leading to more jobs, economic growth, and reduced emissions across the U.S. economy.

Please see OurEnergyPolicy.org for more information.

-Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and Charles Hernick, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum