A diverse group of investment bankers, energy executives, government officials and clean energy advocates has agreed that the environmental cost of producing energy should be factored into its price, and that Congress must develop energy policies that move away from fossil fuels.
At the American Council On Renewable Energy conference, Wall St. money managers, self-described conservatives, a Bush administration official, and energy company BP spoke as one, declaring that fossil fuels have gotten a free ride in emitting greenhouse gases, and that the day of reckoning is long overdue.
The conference is focused on influencing energy and environment policymaking at the national and international levels.
Congress is now moving forward with what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls "historic energy legislation that will reduce our dependence on foreign fuels and promote energy efficiency."
"We have made significant progress toward completing this package and hope to have a final agreement next week," Pelosi said Thursday. "This energy package will lay the groundwork for the Congress to move forward next year with comprehensive action to address climate change."
Clean energy advocates should convince elected officials that promoting cleaner energy is not a risk to industry but an opportunity, said Janet Sawin, a senior researcher and director of the Energy and Climate Change Program at the Worldwatch Institute.
We "need to convince political leaders that renewable energy is about creating job opportunities," she said. Sawin said that 2.5 million jobs have been created worldwide in renewable energy.
Andy Karsner, an assistant secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, said that politicians and industry have climate change "problem identification in spades, but not enough problem solving."
While defending the Bush administration for its recent progress on renewable energy - citing the President's "addicted to oil" mantra - Karsner called for more action on fuel economy and renewable fuels to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.