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The Common Agenda

Priority Action 4

Promote Energy Security and Independence with an Agenda
for Renewable Energy and Efficiency

This action promotes policies and programs that phase out the use of dirty, risky, and unsustainable fuel technologies, replacing them with clean, renewable energy sources for transportation, electricity generation, and other large-scale needs while promoting energy efficiency and conservation. A priority is to ensure well-paid new jobs, and appropriate training and/or compensation for people who might otherwise be displaced by the transition to sustainable energy.

Specific initiatives include:

  • establishing national, near-term renewable electricity targets, and promoting policies to achieve them, including incentives for deploying and overcoming the barriers to renewable energy technologies;
  • aligning and focusing tax and other financial rules, regulations, and policies to favor clean and sustainable energy choices over fossil fuels (for example, using production and consumer tax credits to promote and fund investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including research and development);
  • establishing and enforcing stringent efficiency standards and sustainability standards for fossil and renewable fuels and technologies as well as for products, appliances, homes, utilities, commercial and industrial buildings, transport and other large systems;
  • providing information, tools, ideas and incentives for communities and individuals to reduce energy consumption and access alternative sustainable energy (e.g., passing local ordinances to make buildings energy neutral within a generation);
  • expanding, supporting and incentivizing public transportation systems that are pollution-free and powered by renewable energy, and promoting steps that make public transportation more viable such as mixed-land uses and cluster development;
  • identifying and meeting needs for assistance of those impacted by the transition to a more sustainable and less carbon-intensive economy, including: retraining and green jobs programs developed in partnership with trade unions, industry, and community groups; and financial assistance for low-income communities, displaced workers and other groups adversely impacted by the transition;
  • phasing out existing coal-fired power plants and the construction of new coal-fired plants as well as barring federal funding and permitting for “clean coal”, carbon capture and storage, and liquefied coal and shale, until these and other experimental technologies have been proven to be non-polluting throughout their lifecycle;
  • ensuring that revenues from auctioning carbon emission allowances are used to benefit the public and those disproportionately impacted by resulting emissions; this includes using them to support renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures;
  • providing climate adaptation assistance to communities detrimentally impacted by climate change.