Climate change and sustainable energy in President Obama’s proposed FY 2010 budget

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President Obama’s FY 2010 budget overview, released February 26, contains numerous elements that support climate change-related science, technology, and action.  See Details for text from the budget overview document on “Creating a Clean Energy Economy” and on budget highlights for NOAA, NASA, the Departments of Energy, Interior, and State, and the National Science Foundation.

Following is text relevant to climate change excerpted from the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget overview document, titled A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America’s Promise.  The U.S. Government has posted the budget overview document here (2 MB download), and on the Office of Management and Budget web site in shorter sections here.  More detailed FY 2010 budget documents for federal agencies also will be issued to support the administration’s request. 

Creating a Clean Energy Economy

The high gas prices of last summer only underscored what we have known for decades: we cannot afford to depend so heavily on foreign oil and other fossil fuels to power our economy. While the national security implications have been clear for some time, the more we learn about global warming, the more we see that failure to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels also jeopardizes our economy and our entire planet.  Countries and companies around the world recognize this and are working day and night to develop clean energy technologies that will change everything from how we generate our electricity to how we power our cars and trucks. While the challenge is great, the promise of the moment is unparalleled. If we lead the world in the research and development of clean energy technology, we can create a whole new industry with high-paying jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. Some compare the promise of this sector to information technology. The difference is that with clean energy we can bring new jobs to rural areas long left behind in economic growth. Moreover, if we take the time now to start transforming our economy, we will enjoy the benefits of a lower cost and more efficient energy supply for years to come. As a down payment on an energy independent, clean energy economy, in this Budget, the Administration will:
Begin a Comprehensive Approach to Transform Our Energy Supply and Slow Global Warming. The Administration is developing a comprehensive energy and climate change plan to invest in clean energy, end our addiction to oil, address the global climate crisis, and create new American jobs that cannot be outsourced. After enactment of the Budget, the Administration will work expeditiously with key stakeholders and the Congress to develop an economy-wide emissions reduction program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. This program will be implemented through a cap-and-trade system, a policy approach that dramatically reduced acid rain at much lower costs than the traditional government regulations and mandates of the past. Through a 100 percent auction to ensure that the biggest polluters do not enjoy windfall profits, this program will fund vital investments in a clean energy future totaling $150 billion over 10 years, starting in Fy 2012. The balance of the auction revenues will be returned to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities, and businesses to help the transition to a clean energy economy.
Provide the Capital to Double Renewable Energy Generating Capacity. Renewable power has grown dramatically over the past several years. Unfortunately, the current credit crisis has brought this dynamic progress to a halt. The programs in the recovery Act will help to revive the renewable industry, doubling the amount of renewable energy generated. Collectively, the loan guarantees provided in the recovery plan and in this Budget are expected to leverage tens of billions of dollars in private capital. The recovery Act also extends the production tax credit (PTC) to 2012 for wind and 2013 for other renewable sources of energy. This extension creates three years of certainty for investors, eliminating the delays historically associated with the PTC. The Act also expands authority for clean renewable energy bonds and creates new manufacturing tax credits to spur domestic manufacturing of clean energy equipment
Develop Low-Carbon Emission Technologies.  The recovery Act provides funding to meet the President’s campaign commitment to build five commercial scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and storage technology through public-private partnerships. The Energy Department will also scale up its demonstration projects for geologic storage for carbon dioxide. Combined, this funding will set the foundation for significant efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Modernize Federal Buildings and Slash the Federal Government’s Energy Bill by 25 Percent. The Federal Government is the largest energy consumer in the world. Making substantial investments to reduce Federal energy consumption can spur job creation while delivering long-term Government savings through lower energy bills. The Budget will build upon the more than $11 billion provided for building moderization in the recovery Act to achieve the President’s 25 percent energy efficiency improvement goal by 2013.
Weatherize Low-Income Homes, Saving Working Families on Average $350 Per year. Across the Nation, families spend a significant portion of their budget running their furnaces and air conditioners as well as keeping the lights on. By upgrading a home’s furnace, sealing leaky ducts, and adding insulation, a homeowner can cut their energy bills by 20 to 40 percent, and the substantial savings accrue in summer as well as winter and for years to come. By adding energy-efficient appliances and lighting, the savings are even greater. The Department of Energy’s weatherization budget of $227 million in 2008 could only provide benefits for 76,000 U.S. homes. While the Nation has weatherized about six million low income homes since 1976, more than 28 million remain eligible. The Budget will build upon the $5 billion provided in the recovery Act for weatherization assistance in order to spur development of an industry that will have the capacity to meet the President’s goal of weatherizing one million homes annually.
Use Title Xvii Loan Guarantee to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Loan guarantee volume under Title XVII of the Energy and Policy Act of 2005 will support innovative and advanced technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants. The Budget will support a wide-range of eligible projects such as renewable energy systems, electric system transmission projects, and carbon capture and sequestration projects that will result in a cleaner environment and potentially, a transformed energy sector.
Help State and Local Governments be More Energy Efficient. After the Federal Government, State and local governments are some of the largest users of energy. Facing budget shortfalls, many States and local governments now lack sufficient financial resources to tap the full potential of clean energy development and deployment. This situation is exacerbated by private sector financing drying up as a result of the recent credit crisis. The Budget will build upon $6.3 billion provided for clean energy and energy efficiency grants to state and local governments in the recovery Act to help support their efforts to reduce their energy use.
Green Our Nation’s Farms. The Budget increases funding levels over those provided in previous years for programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program that provide incentives for farmers to better conserve their lands and reduce pollution such as from animal feeding operations. In addition, USDA intends to work with farmers to help them take advantage of opportunities to participate in emerging markets for carbon credits, alternative energy and in other environmental services, such as wildlife habitat, clean water, and clean air.
Modernize the Electric Grid. We know that the existing electricity grid today is insufficient and outdated. In order to bring significant amounts of renewable energy online, tens of thousands of miles of new, high-voltage national transmission is necessary. For example, North Dakota—a State with significant wind energy potential—cannot carry the energy to the population centers that need the electricity without a new transmission superhighway. The Budget will build on efforts in the recovery Act to create this new, smarter electric grid for the integration and use of greater amounts of renewable energy; increased utilization of innovative efficiency technologies; and a reduction in the electric congestion that costs ratepayers billions of dollars each year. The recovery Act includes funds to complete additional significant work in improving the national grid with regional transmission planning and interconnection based transmission planning. Included is a $100 million workforce training program. To make the grid smarter, millions of Smart Meters—a key first step to a Smart Grid—will be deployed as well as investments in a host of other smart grid technologies.

NOAA
Improves Weather forecasting, Climate Monitoring, Fisheries Management and Ocean Programs. The Budget helps ensure continuity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite coverage needed for weather forecasting and climate data records by providing over $1.3 billion to fund the development and acquisition of vital weather satellites and climate sensors. Funding is also provided to advance climate and ocean research, including efforts to understand and monitor ocean acidification. In addition, the Budget fully supports implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its requirement to eliminate overfishing by 2011. All of these activities build upon the recently enacted recovery Act, which provides $600 million for the construction and maintenance of NOAA research. facilities, vessels, and satellites, as well as $230 million for habitat restoration, hydrographic services, research, and management operations.
Department of Energy
Invests in the Sciences. As part of the President’s plan to double Federal investment in the basic sciences, the 2010 Budget, along with the $1.6 billion provided in the recovery Act for the Department of Energy’s basic science programs, provides substantially increased support for the Office of Science. The Budget increases funding for improving our understanding of climate science and continues the United States’ commitment to international science and energy experiments. The Budget also expands graduate fellowship programs that will train students in
critical energy-related fields.
Encourages the Early Commercial Use of New, Innovative Energy Technologies that Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The Budget supports loan guarantees for innovative energy technologies including renewable energy projects, transmission projects, and carbon sequestration projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants and greenhouse gases while simultaneously creating green jobs and contributing to long-term economic growth and international competitiveness.
Advances the Development of Low-Carbon Coal Technologies. The Budget supports Carbon Capture and Storage technology, and along with the $3.4 billion provided in the recovery Act for low-carbon emission coal power and industrial projects, these funds will help allow the use of our extensive domestic coal resource while reducing the impacts on climate change.
Invests in Smart, Energy Efficient, Reliable Electricity Delivery Infrastructures. The Budget provides support for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy reliability as part of the President’s investment plan to modernize the Nation’s electric grid. It includes: energy storage; cyber-security and investments in research, the development and demonstration of smart grid technologies that will accelerate the transformation of the Nation’s energy transmission and distribution system; enhancement of security and reliability of energy infrastructure; and facilitating recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.
Invests in Clean Energy Technologies to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil and Accelerate the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy. The Budget provides support for accelerating research, development, demonstration, deployment, and commercialization of clean energy technologies, including biofuels, renewable energy, and energy efficiency projects. These investments will reduce dependence on foreign oil and create long-term, sustainable economic growth in the green industries of the future.
Department of Interior
Assesses and Responds to the impact of Climate Change on Wildlife. Climate change poses a threat to America’s fish and wildlife, as natural habitats are modified more rapidly than plants and animals can adjust. Scientific analyses are needed to understand the breadth of these changes. Federal land management agencies, States, and Tribes all need to update land management and species recovery plans to reflect the impacts of climate change on wildlife. They also need to monitor how wildlife is adapting and accelerate projects, such as protecting migration corridors, to help wildlife adjust. The Budget includes increases of more than $130 million, of which $40 million is shared with the States for wildlife adaptation. Additionally, the Budget increases funds by $10 million for North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) activities to acquire, restore, or protect wetlands used by migratory waterfowl and other birds. This is the first step in fully funding NAWCA at $75 million by 2012.
Department of State and Other International Programs
Begins a Comprehensive Approach to Transform Our Energy Supply and Slow Global Warming. The Administration is developing a comprehensive energy and climate change plan to invest in clean energy, end our addiction to oil, address the global climate crisis, and create new American jobs that cannot be outsourced. After enactment of the Budget, the Administration will work expeditiously with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide emissions reduction program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. This program will be implemented through a cap-and-trade system, a policy approach that dramatically reduced acid rain at much lower costs than the traditional Government regulations and mandates of the past. Through a 100 percent auction to ensure that the biggest polluters do not enjoy windfall profits, this program will fund vital investments in a clean energy future totaling $150 billion over 10 years, starting in fiscal year 2012. The balance of the auction revenues will be returned to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities, and businesses to help the transition to a clean energy economy. The Budget includes a $19 million increase for EPA work on a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission inventory and to work with affected industry sectors to report high-quality GHG emission data. This will also allow for work on the necessary steps toward implementing a comprehensive climate bill.
NASA
Advances Global Climate Change Research and Monitoring. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) investment in Earth science research satellites, airborne sensors, computer models, and analysis has revolutionized scientific knowledge and prediction of climate change and its effects. Using the National research Council’s recommended priorities for space-based Earth science research as its guide, NASA will develop new space-based research sensors in support of the Administration’s goal to deploy a global climate research and monitoring system. NASA will work to deploy these new sensors expeditiously while coordinating with other Federal agencies to ensure continuity of measurements that have long-term research and applications benefits.
National Science Foundation
Makes Climate Change Research and Education a Priority. The Budget supports research to improve our ability to predict future environmental conditions and to develop strategies for responding to global environmental change. The Budget establishes a climate change education program to help develop the next generation of environmentally engaged scientists and engineers.

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