Rick Fedrizzi on President Obama's proposal to reduce carbon dioxide pollution
Combating climate change is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. We will be defined by how we respond to this challenge and the actions we take today to ensure a better future for our children and our children’s children. And there is no more powerful action than leading by example.
On behalf of all of us at U.S. Green Building Council and across our global green building community, we applaud President Obama for taking the nation’s first regulatory action to set carbon pollution standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, the largest single source of carbon emissions in the United States.
The proposed guidelines are a major step towards reducing the nation’s contribution to climate change and its risks to public health, property, and the environment. This action not only demonstrates exemplary leadership on climate change, but it is also an action that will have a profound impact on the future design, construction and operation of the country’s five million commercial buildings and 120 million homes. It is poised to provide the directional certainty the market needs to be about the exciting and job-creating work of developing new products, technologies and processes necessary to achieve these ambitious goals. The innovation this kind of bold rulemaking can inspire is exciting.
The Administration’s proposal, which provides a flexible framework for states to plan and implement the carbon emission reductions, will open up tremendous new opportunities to advance energy efficiency in the nation’s building sector. Sadly, every year we’re losing $130 billion from leaky, inefficient buildings. These regulations can help change that. Over the next several years, states will determine the most appropriate mix of actions to meet their goals. We are very pleased that states will have the opportunity to accelerate and expand their energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. We believe states will choose to feature efficiency in buildings, which has been proven to be extremely cost-effective – even without the proposed rule – as a key element of their plans.
The green building movement has led the way in demonstrating that vast improvements in energy efficiency in both new and existing buildings are achievable and save money, while increasing the market and availability of efficient building materials and products and promoting domestic jobs. Indeed, numerous states have already initiated green or energy efficient building programs, which we are pleased will be recognized under the proposed guidelines. As states move forward with their planning and implementation, all of us will have an important role in supporting state efforts through technical assistance, investment, and implementing energy efficiency and building-scale renewable projects. USGBC stands poised to assist states and the entire real estate community in making energy efficiency a cornerstone of future state programs seeking to reduce climate pollution.
Today, President Obama has helped make America stronger and our future brighter. He has set us on a path that will simultaneously protect our environment, promote energy security, protect human health, and ensure our continued economic prosperity.