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“Our generation must be the one that says, ‘we must halt global warming.’ Our generation must be
the one that says ‘yes’ to renewable fuels and ends forever our dependence on foreign oil. And our
generation must be the one that builds the new energy economy. It won’t be easy, but it is time to ask
the American people to be patriotic about something other than war.” – John Edwards

Our generation must be the one that ends our nation’s dependence on oil and ushers in a new energy
economy. We need energy independence from unstable and hostile areas of the world, from global
warming pollution, and from the old ways of doing business. If we harness American ingenuity to
reach for transformative change, we can emerge from the crisis of global warming with a new energy
economy that stimulates innovation, brings the family farm back to life, and creates more than
1 million jobs in America’s farms and industries. Today, John Edwards called for America to embrace
three great goals for this generation:

 Halt global warming by capping and reducing greenhouse gas pollution and leading the world to a
new global climate change treaty.

 Create a new energy economy and 1 million new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy,
sparking innovation, a new era in American industry, and life in family farms.

 Meet the demand for new electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing
more power.

As a result of the Edwards plan, by 2025 America will import 7.5 million fewer barrels of oil a day,
produce 65 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels a year, generate 25 percent of our electricity
from renewable sources, and produce more than 2 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions a
year. Within a generation, America’s cars and tracks will be virtually petroleum-free.


The planet has gotten nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit hotter over the past 30 years and will get another
degree hotter due to greenhouse gas pollution already in the atmosphere. The ten hottest years on
record have all occurred since 1990. If we don’t change course soon, we will see dramatic climate
changes and a different planet. The last time the Earth was 4 or 5 degrees warmer -- 3 million years
ago -- there was no ice in the Arctic and sea levels were 80 feet higher. [Hansen, 2/26/2007; NRDC, 2007]

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• Earlier this year, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- an international network
of over 2,000 climate scientists -- concluded that evidence of global warming is “unequivocal” and
human activity is “very likely” the cause. [NYT, 2/3/2007]

• Next month, the panel is expected to report that, without changes, within decades climate change
could cause hundreds of millions of people to suffer water shortages and tens of millions to be
flooded out of their homes annually. By 2080, hundreds of millions could starve. [AP, 3/11/2007]

The Edwards Plan:

• Cap and Reduce Global Warming Pollution: Edwards will set an economy-wide limit on the
emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. He will build on the precedent of the
Clean Air Act of 1990 -- which limited pollution causing acid rain through a sulfur dioxide cap-
and-trade system -- to reduce pollution in a cost-effective and flexible manner.

o Use Science to Set the Caps: Edwards will cap greenhouse gases at levels that the latest
climate science has determined to be necessary to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
He will cap greenhouse pollution starting in 2010, reduce it by 15 percent by 2020, and reduce
it by 80 percent by 2050, consistent with the most aggressive plans under consideration in

o Make Polluters Pay: Edwards will auction off a portion of the pollution permits to raise $10
billion a year for a New Energy Economy Fund to jumpstart clean, renewable, and efficient
energy technologies and create 1 million jobs. Other permits will be sold or given away.

• Lead the World toward a New Global Climate Change Treaty: Climate change is an
international problem and the U.S. can never solve it alone. China is building the equivalent of one
large coal-fired power plant a week and is expected to pass the U.S. as the world’s largest polluter
of carbon dioxide in 2009. [NYT, 3/17/2007; WSJ, 3/3/2007]

To lead the world toward a new, effective climate change treaty, Edwards will:

o Make Our Own Commitments to Restore Our Moral Leadership: The U.S. has 4 percent
of the world’s population but produces a quarter of its carbon dioxide emissions. It is one of
only three developed nations that has refused to limit its greenhouse gas pollution. By adopting
caps, Edwards will help the U.S. regain credibility in the world without sacrificing American
competitiveness. [Irish Times, 2/14/2007; Greenwire, 10/31/2006]

o Involve Developing Economies: Any climate change treaty must include developing
countries, which emit significant amounts of carbon and could otherwise serve as a haven for
polluters. However, these nations are poorer than the U.S. and emit far less carbon per capita.
To bring them to the table, Edwards will share America’s clean energy technology in exchange
for binding greenhouse reduction commitments. If necessary, he will insist that strong labor
and environmental standards in our trade deals include commitments on climate change. This
new deal will require global participation, promote shared responsibility, and let American
workers and businesses compete on a level playing field.

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In the past, America squandered opportunities to lead the world in energy technology. Bell Labs
invented the solar cell in New Jersey in 1954, but today 90 percent of solar panels are manufactured
overseas. GM made the first modern electric car, but today Toyota and Honda lead the world in hybrid
cars. Oil companies are slow to sell alternative fuels at their gas stations, while Brazil increased the
share of new cars that run on ethanol from 4 percent to 70 percent in only three years. [Economist,
3/10/2007;, 2007; GM, 2007;, 2007; Khosla, 2006]

John Edwards believes that American entrepreneurs, farmers and manufacturers can lead the world in
technology to generate clean, reliable energy and use it more efficiently. “Clean tech” is the hottest
new area of venture capital funding. California-based Tesla Motors sells an electric roadster that gets
135 miles a gallon and can go from 0-to-60 in four seconds. In rural America, hundreds of small
renewable energy companies are generating new jobs in ethanol and other biofuels, wind, and solar.
The increased demand for the machinery of renewable energy -- such as wind turbines, solar panels
and biomass engines -- is an opportunity to create “green collar” jobs and reenergize America’s
manufacturing sector. [Newsweek, 6/21/2006; Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, 2006; Makower, Pernick, and
Wilder, 2006; Apollo Alliance, 2006]

The Edwards Plan:

• Create the New Energy Economy Fund: To jumpstart our investment in the future, Edwards will
create the $13 billion-a-year New Energy Economy Fund. The fund will be financed by
greenhouse gas polluters through the sale of emission permits and by ending taxpayer giveaways
for big oil companies, including special tax subsidies and sweetheart terms in offshore drilling
leases. The resources will double the Department of Energy’s budget for efficiency and renewable
energy, accelerate new energy technologies to market and help new businesses get started,
encourage consumers to buy efficient products, and provide transition assistance to workers in
carbon-intensive industries.

• Invest in Renewable Sources of Electricity: Renewable energy has been seen as socially
desirable but costly. However, wind is already competitive with conventional sources in many
markets. Solar could be competitive within three to eight years. [RAND, 2006; Economist, 3/10/2007]

o Make 25 Percent of Our Energy Renewable: Edwards will require power companies to
generate 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. A large expansion of
renewable energy can reduce costs under current trends, according to a 2006 RAND study. In
Texas, a similar requirement achieved its goals quickly with negligible costs through the
accelerated development of wind power. [RAND, 2006]

o Dedicate Resources to Renewable Energy: Edwards will double the Department of Energy
research budget, allowing it to reduce the cost and accelerate the marketability of current
technologies to put clean solar, wind, and biomass into more communities. He will also
encourage private investment by making permanent tax credits for the production of renewable
energy; they currently expire at the end of 2008.

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o Maximize the Potential of Cleaner, Safer Coal: Coal will be an important source of U.S. and
global electricity for decades, but it is responsible for more than 30 percent of America’s
carbon dioxide emissions. Edwards will invest $1 billion a year to research ways to burn coal
cleanly and recycle its carbon underground permanently. He will also strengthen mine safety
laws to ensure it is mined safely. Two large power companies, TXU and American Electric
Power, recently announced plans to build experimental plants to capture carbon. [NYT, 3/15/2007
and 3/17/2007; McFarland, Herzog, and Jacoby, 2007]

• Transform the Auto Industry to Lead the World in Cars of the Future: Edwards believes that
everyone should be able to drive the car, truck or SUV of their choice and still enjoy high fuel
economy. American automakers have the ingenuity to lead the world in building the clean, safe,
economical cars of the future.

o Reduce Oil Imports by 7.5 Million Barrels a Day by 2025: America’s need for imported oil
forces it to rely on unstable and even hostile countries. Edwards called for a national goal to
reduce oil imports by 7.5 million barrels a day by 2025 – nearly a third of the oil projected to
be used in 2025 -- and get us on the path toward energy independence. [DOE, 2007]

o Help U.S. Automakers Modernize: Edwards will provide $1 billion a year to help U.S.
automakers advance and apply the latest technology, including biofuels, hybrid and electric
cars, hydrogen fuel cells, ultra-light materials, and drive train improvements. These resources
will be financed from the New Energy Economy Fund and also help manufacturers meet higher
fuel economy requirements. With a strong ethanol industry that includes cellulosic ethanol and
hybrid and electric technology, American cars and trucks can be virtually petroleum-free within
a generation.

o Produce 65 Billion Gallons of Ethanol a Year by 2025: However, although millions of

ethanol-ready cars are on the roads, only about 600 of the 169,000 gas stations have pumps for
E85, a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Edwards will require oil companies to install ethanol
pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations and require all new cars sold after 2010 to be “flex
fuel” cars running on either gasoline or biofuel. The New Economy Energy Fund will develop
new methods of producing and using ethanol, including cellulosic ethanol, and offer loan
guarantees to new refineries. [RAND, 2006; DOE, 2005; USDA, 2005]

o Raise Fuel Economy Standards: American cars and trucks are less efficient than they were
two decades ago, despite the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Standards in
China, Japan, and the European Union are between 40 and 100 percent higher. Edwards will
raise standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2016, a step that could single-handedly reduce oil
demand by 4 million barrels per day. [Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2004; Reicher, 2007]

• Open the Electricity Grids to Distributed and Renewable Generation: Traditionally,

electricity has been produced at large, central power plants and transmitted through miles of power
lines. Distributed generation of electricity promises reliable, clean, cost-effective production that is
less vulnerable to natural disasters and attacks. Farms, factories, schools, and communities ought
to be able to establish their own power sources and compete with traditional plants to sell
wholesale capacity, as New England has pioneered. [DOE, 2000; New England ISO, 2006]

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To open up the grid to innovation, Edwards will:

o Create Millions of Local Sources of Renewable Energy: Edwards will provide up to a

$5,000 tax credit for homes and small businesses that invest in onsite generation of renewable
energy like solar, wind, and geothermal power. He will also encourage local generation of
renewable energy through “net metering,” which allows families to sell extra power back to
utilities for credits against their electricity bills.

o Encourage Distributed Generation: Edwards will cut the red tape that hinders new energy
producers from selling their power to the grid. He will require utilities to consider distributed
generation as a means of lowering costs compared to new investments in centralized production
and transmission.

o Research the Next Generation of Small Scale Renewable Energy: Edwards will invest in
researching more profitable sources of renewable energy generation. For example, biomass
engines producing both heat and power that can be three times more efficient than traditional
distribution. [Hill, 2001]


Americans can get more power out of the electricity now available, typically at half the cost of
producing more supply. Duke Energy CEO James Rogers calls efficiency the “fifth fuel,” and energy
expert Amory Lovins says that “efficiency is cheaper than fuel.” Between 1977 and 1985, the
economy grew by 27 percent while oil use fell by 17 percent. Once again, there are large energy
savings possible today in energy generation, transmission, and use in homes, factories, and offices.
For example, if every home installed five compact fluorescent lightbulbs, it would eliminate the need
for 21 power plants. However, in our current system, utilities earn profits by selling power not
meeting energy needs more efficiently. Ordinary Americans often lack the tools they need to use
energy more efficiently. [ACEEE, 2006; Reicher, 2007; Globe and Mail, 2/24/2007; The New Yorker, 1/22/2007;
McKinsey, 2006]

The Edwards Plan:

• Meet New Demand for Electricity through Efficiency for the Next Decade: Electricity demand
is projected to increase by 1.5 percent a year between 2008 and 2018, on average. Edwards called
for a national goal of meeting this demand by getting more power out of the electricity we use now,
instead of producing more electricity. As a result, electricity use would be 15 lower by 2018 and
renewable energy would have a better opportunity to gain market share. Increased efficiency
includes managing peaks in demand and modernizing the electric grid and is largely achievable
with current technology. [DOE, 2007; EPA Energy Star, 2006]

• Make Efficiency Profitable for Utilities: Most utilities profit from selling electricity, even when
it would be cheaper to help their customers use less energy. Edwards will call on states to
decouple utilities’ energy profits from sales, as California and nine other states have done, so they
can focus on serving customer needs. States can also reward utilities for meeting green energy
targets. [National Regulatory Research Institute, 2006]
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• Expand Smart Meters and Smart Grids to Use Energy More Wisely: By simultaneously
displaying energy use and price, smart meters encourage consumers to use less energy and to use
energy when it can be generated less expensively. Utilities can also use information technology to
monitor electricity demand, allowing them to plan their production more efficiently. [Nemtzow,
2007; Regulatory Assistance Project, 2006]

• Invest in Weatherized Homes and More Efficient Buildings and Appliances: Upgrading home
furnaces, ducts, windows, and insulation can cut energy bills by 20 to 40 percent, year after year.
However, the existing Department of Energy weatherization program reaches only 100,000 homes
a year while more than 28 million remain eligible. Similarly, appliance efficiency standards have
greatly reduced the energy use of refrigerators and air conditioners, but better use of the Energy
Star program could save even more. Edwards will reverse the Bush budget cuts to the
weatherization program and instead expand it to $500 million a year. He will call on states to
create updated energy building codes. Finally, he will raise federal efficiency standards for
appliances and maximize the potential of the Energy Star program by working to get more efficient
appliances in stores and educating buyers and builders. [Reicher, 2007; ACEEE 2005]

• Reduce the U.S. Government’s Energy Use by 20 Percent and Make the White House Carbon
Neutral. The U.S. government is the nation’s single largest energy consumer, with a $15 billion
energy bill in 2005. However, its investments in energy efficiency have been cut in half since
2001. Edwards will overhaul federal buildings and vehicles to emphasize efficiency, reducing the
use of energy by 20 percent, and expand the government’s use of renewable sources. After taking
energy efficiency steps at the White House, he will purchase carbon offsets to make it carbon-
neutral. [DOE, 2006; Alliance to Save Energy, 2007]

• Create GreenCorps: Idealistic young Americans can help fight climate change by conducting
volunteer energy audits, weatherizing homes, installing home solar panels, and training
neighborhood groups to do the same. Edwards will create a GreenCorps within AmeriCorps to
create opportunities for them to serve.

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