Solving Climate Change Saves Billions
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — San Francisco, CA — Amidst increasingly dire news about the economy and climate change, Architecture 2030 released a seminal study at the Eileen Rockefeller Growald Symposium on Collaborative Philanthropy today, showing how a small investment of only $21.6 billion in the Building Sector would produce 216,000 permanent jobs and save 86.7 Million Metric Tons (MMT) of CO2 in a single year. This same amount invested each year for five years would net over one million permanent jobs and save 433.5 MMT.
According to Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, “Although difficult, the economic and global warming crises are the motivation we need as a nation to retool our thinking. If we’re smart enough to jump on this opportunity, we will not only solve global warming, we will set the US up for unprecedented economic success.”Ł
The study is a comparative analysis of three approaches to addressing climate change: building energy efficiency, ”śclean’ coal (coal with carbon capture and sequestration) and nuclear power. According to the study, “The economic feasibility of any proposed actions regarding climate change is a particularly important consideration in this time of looming recession. Therefore, the study is an investigation not only of the most effective actions that can be taken in addressing climate change, but also of the implications of these actions on the US economy.”Ł
The study concludes that, of the energy and climate change solutions proposed today, the one that costs the least and offers the greatest benefits to both the planet and the economy, is energy efficiency in buildings.
Buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US annually. With an investment of just $21.6 billion, building energy efficiency would replace 22.3 conventional coal-fired power plants, reduce CO2 emissions by 86.7 MMT, save 204 billion cu. ft. of natural gas and 10.7 million barrels of oil, save consumers $8.46 billion in energy bills and create 216,000 new jobs. As Mazria explained, because building is a local activity (construction jobs cannot be outsourced), the money invested in the Building Sector cycles through local economies several times, bolstering the entire US economy.
Neither ”śclean’ coal plants (with carbon capture and sequestration) nor nuclear plants can compete with the clean energy, cheap price, widespread economic benefits and job creation of building energy efficiency. Investing the same money in either ”śclean’ coal plants or nuclear plants costs significantly more (rather than saving consumers money), replaces far fewer conventional coal plants, reduces CO2 by far less and would create no new jobs, since the jobs at these new plants would be replacing existing conventional coal plant jobs.
To bring the energy use of the Building Sector under control, Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge in January 2006. The 2030 Challenge calls for all new buildings and major renovations to reduce their fossil- fuel GHG-emitting energy consumption by 50% by 2010, and incrementally increasing the reductions every five years so that all new buildings are ”ścarbon neutral’ by 2030. According to the study, by addressing several key factors, the 2030 Challenge offers a comprehensive, effective approach to the Building Sector’s role in the climate change crisis. The Challenge calls for the necessary reductions required to avert dangerous climate change, is achievable within the timeline set by scientists, centers on building energy efficiency and renewable energy as the preferred means to achieve the reductions called for, and is already widely adopted.
Based on this information, and the momentum of the 2030 Challenge, Architecture 2030 has developed the ”ś2030 Blueprint’, a roadmap for turning the global warming and economic crises into an historic opportunity. The 2030 Blueprint calls for the US to i) implement an immediate moratorium on the construction of any new conventional coal plants, and the gradual phasing out of all existing conventional coal plants by 2030 to place an immediate cap on coal plant emissions while allowing time to retrain coal workers for new jobs, ii) require that all developments using federal funds meet the 2030 Challenge targets to create additional models of building energy efficiency for the marketplace, iii) upgrade the National Energy Conservation Code Standard to the 2030 Challenge targets for residential and commercial buildings to immediately stabilize and begin reducing energy demand in the Building Sector and iv) invest $21.6 billion each year for five years in building energy efficiency measures through existing federal programs (i.e. New Markets Tax Credits; Low Income Housing Tax Credits; a five-year extension and increased funding for efficiency in the Energy Policy Act) and new energy efficiency incentives, tax credits and programs to stimulate building construction, reduce annual Building Sector energy consumption by 5 QBtu, reduce annual U.S. CO2 emissions by 433.5 MMT, save consumers $128 billion (which more than covers the cost of this solution) and create more than one million permanent new jobs and v) fund and implement a joint labor-management job training program for displaced coal industry jobs based on successful models developed over the past two decades in the tire/rubber, steel, automobile and communications industries.
The study concludes that there is a clear, simple, realistic and achievable solution to addressing climate change with significant economic benefits: building energy efficiency.
About Architecture 2030
By galvanizing and collaborating with the key players in the Building Sector, including the US Conference of Mayors (USCM), Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), and many others, Architecture 2030 is working to achieve a dramatic reduction in the global-warming-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of buildings by changing the way they are designed and constructed.
About Architecture 2030:
Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization working to achieve a dramatic reduction in the global-warming-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of buildings by changing the way they are designed and constructed.
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