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Making the case: Climate as new driver for energy policy

Out of the Closet is an important paper that articulates a framework for viewing energy efficiency through the goal of GHG emission reductions. It makes the case that climate protection is the new driver for public energy policy.

Out of the Closet: Climate Change as a Driver for Energy Efficiency
Ned Raynolds, Clean Air-Cool Planet
August 2004
Paper presented at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy


This paper takes its cue from the subtitle of the Energy and Environmental Policy panel at the 2004 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Changing the Climate for Energy Efficiency. The author contends that the climate has indeed changed for energy efficiency: that experience in the Northeast demonstrates that the time has arrived for energy efficiency advocates and practitioners throughout the country to begin placing the issue of climate change at the forefront of their policy arguments for energy efficiency. He begins by describing the broad historical context of energy efficiency policy in the United States and why, as climate change "came on the scene" in the 1990's, the two issues were largely kept segregated. The argument that this segregation should end is supported by citing a range of specific examples of climate change policies and initiatives from across the region, highlighting the prominence of energy efficiency in their promulgation. While this information may not be new to many people in the energy efficiency field; it is hoped that the paper serves a useful function by pulling it together in one place for easier reference and stronger appreciation of its collective magnitude and significance. The author hopes that the prominence and explicit role of climate change as a basis for energy efficiency policies and programs in the Northeast will embolden those in the energy efficiency community and environmental advocates throughout the country to similarly embrace and uphold the issue in their respective arenas as a compelling basis for new and more aggressive energy efficiency policies and programs.

Read the paper


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