A Roadmap for a Secure, Low-Carbon Energy Economy
February 4, 2009
At first glance, improving energy security and addressing climate change may seem irreconcilable goals: achieve an adequate, reliable, and affordable energy supply for the United States, while at the same time reducing emissions of dangerous global warming gases into the atmosphere. After all, most of the world’s energy comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas--which are also major sources of greenhouse gases. Without scalable low-carbon replacements for these fuels, actions to reduce emissions could destabilize the current energy system. On the other hand, continued dependence on these fuels will jeopardize our climate.
The hard truth is that the United States--and the world--must now figure out how to achieve energy security and protect Earth’s climate.
This report presents the results of a difficult process to reconcile the priorities of two sometimes conflicting constituencies. The resulting recommendations are designed to be implemented as a package. Policymakers must not simply pick the recommendations they favor or that are most politically palatable. The balanced approach recommended in this brief would greatly increase the United States’ chances of meeting both its energy security and climate goals.