Updated: Bill Richardson's Energy Policy
As promised, here is the text of Governor Richardson's speech this morning to the New America Foundation, in which he rolled out his energy plan.
As former Secretary of Energy, and as Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson is uniquely positioned as the only candidate who has experience working on energy issues and negotiating with foreign nations, something that is desperately needed to reduce the effects of climate change and stop America's addiction to foreign oil.
Bill Richardson has the experience and the results to prove that he will change the direction of United States energy policies.
- Cut oil demand: 50% by 2020
We must reduce oil imports from around 65% to 10%. We can reach these goals in part by getting the 100 mile per gallon (mpg) car into the marketplace, push fuel economy standards to 50 mpg by 2020, and set a life-cycle low-carbon fuel standard that reduces the carbon impact of our liquid fuels by 30% by 2020, including increasing use of alternative fuels.
- Change to Renewable Sources for Electricity: 50% by 2040
I am calling for a national renewable electricity source portfolio standard of 30% by 2020 – which will rise to 50% by 2040. This is aggressive, but necessary as we start using more electricity for automobiles. I will push for an energy productivity law requiring a 20% improvement in energy productivity by 2020. We could easily save customers $21 billion a year by 2020. Also, my market-based cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions will create incentives for the electric and industrial sectors to make significant reductions in their carbon emissions.
- Dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions: 80% by 2040
20% by 2020, and 80% by 2040 -- ten years faster than scientists say is necessary because we must lead the world, and we can’t afford the possibility of backsliding and inaction. We will start with a market-based cap and trade system. Economists say the world can protect itself from drastic climate change at a cost of 1-3% of our economic activity. We can afford to protect the climate. Given the risks of catastrophic climate change, we can’t afford not to do it.
- Lead by example and restore America as the world’s leader
We must return to the international negotiating table and support mandatory world-wide limits on global warming pollution. We will work closely with fast-growing nations and, as President, I will cooperate with the European Union, the World Bank, and other allies to help finance the small incremental cost of “doing it right.” I will create a North American Energy Council with Mexico and Canada, which supply about 20% of our oil, and make sure our relations with these neighbors are firm and friendly. As we reduce our demand for foreign oil, we should work with the Gulf nations, and our partners at the UN, to create a multilateral system for protecting the Gulf so that within ten years the U.S. presence in the Gulf could be sharply and safely reduced.
- Get it all done without breaking the bank
We will raise some revenue from the sales of carbon permits, for example. Further, I will get out the “green scissors” to cut back on wrongly-placed tax subsidies. Over time, this program will yield huge productivity increases in our economy, as well as significant budget savings and revenues. We will create more than ten times as much value in the American economy, by reducing our oil imports, as we spend to make this program happen.