DOE says emissions reduction achievable at no great cost

A major new report by five national laboratories of the US Department of Energy (DOE) finds that the United States can meet almost three-quarters of the emissions reductions required under the Kyoto Protocol by encouraging the use of clean energy. According to "Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future," issued in mid-November during the climate change talks in The Hague, Netherlands, several elements are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so dramatically. They include a doubled federal budget R&D for renewables, stronger domestic energy policies and international carbon trading. Also vital for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, are restructuring of the electricity industry -- including renewable portfolio standards and production tax credits -- as well as more stringent and widespread energy efficiency. The Kyoto climate change agreement requires the US to reduce it emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2010. "While previous studies have established the technical potential for significantly cutting greenhouse gases and enhancing energy security, this study shows the ability of policies to help realise this potential," says Marilyn Brown, director of the energy efficiency and renewables program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was another of the five laboratories contributing. The study's other key finding is that costs of such policies would be no higher than their economic benefits. Under a "clean energy future," some sectors of the economy will suffer, notes the report, while others will bloom. Jobs in wind, biomass, energy efficiency and other green industries could be liekly to grow significantly, while jobs will be lost in coal and transportation.