(AFP) – May 15, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) — A bill to fight climate change currently before the US Congress "is a good start," Nobel laureate and environment champion Al Gore said Friday.
With the House Energy and Commerce Committee due to start its formal debate on the bill come Monday, hoping to approve it by week's end and send it to the full House, Gore said the legislation "has now reached the stage that a lot of people thought it never would."
Democrats in the House of Representatives, who enjoy a broad majority, said Wednesday they would seek to get 15 percent of US energy from renewable sources -- solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass -- by 2020 and show annual energy savings of five percent from efficiency measures.
"It is a good start," Gore told CNN. "I think the essence of this challenge ... is to set in motion the forces of change so that we shift over to renewable energy and start making the job-creating investments that are going to really get our economy going on a sustainable basis."
He added: "Once that transition begins to shift, it will be unstoppable, because countries all over the world are beginning to do what we're beginning to do."
An earlier blueprint, unveiled in late March, called for utilities to get six percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2012, rising to 25 percent by 2025. But the proposal ran into opposition from Republicans and Democrats from coal-producing and industrial states.
House Democrats late Tuesday reached an agreement on a goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 17 percent from their 2005 levels by 2020. The figure was lower than an initial goal of 20 percent reductions by 2020 included in the first draft of the bill.
"I think people understand really well that the climate crisis and economic crisis are intertwined," Gore said.
"We can't continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year overseas for foreign oil. We're already seeing a real shift toward job-creating activities that really help to solve the climate crisis."
The European Union plan calls for getting 20 percent of all electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
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