09/03/2009 05:26:55 PM EST
Studies of House climate bill understate energy efficiency benefits, including GHG emission reductions, claims ACEEE
Studies that claim that the House GHG legislation will result in economic harm have ignored or greatly understated the potential gains from energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, an advocacy group. ACEEE did a review of eight "studies" of HR 2454 that found, on average, that GDP would decrease by $229 billion by 2050. [Given that the U.S. GDP is currently in the range of $13-14 Trillion, even this decrease is a tiny number, basically static. Put in the perspective of the financial system bailout, it is also small potatoes.]
For example, ACEEE notes that the EPA analysis did not include technological improvements in waste heat conversion (e.g., cogeneration). A general criticism by ACEEE is that the models used in some analyses assume that markets are so efficient and well functioning that any improvements in energy efficiency have been thought of and are incorporated already. Be that as it may, ACEEE claims that half of the 83% in greenhouse gas reductions called for in HR 2454 by 2050 can come from energy efficiency improvements.
The benefits of energy efficiency have been known for many, many years, but (let's face it) energy efficiency is not sexy. We are still obsessed with generation technologies. To its credit HR 2454 recognizes the enormous benefits that can arise from energy efficiency.