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Energy and the Environment


As part of the Strengthening America’s Future Initiative, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) periodically gathers experts from the Executive and Legislative branches of government, corporate and university research, the public policy community, and capital market firms to examine and create policy recommendations on energy production, technology, efficiency, investment and climate impacts. Sessions to-date have focused on developing a federal climate change policy and implementing an R&D investment strategy. Future sessions will examine options for domestic energy production, energy and international finance, and U.S. multilateral and bilateral agreements on technology transfer. Findings will be shared with the President, Congressional leaders and the public policy community.


No "silver bullet" exists to improve energy supplies, security or climate policy. The best course of action would be to work with Congress, industry, research organizations, environmental groups and capital markets to: increase domestic energy production to maintain economic growth and national security, and articulate a domestic and global climate policy comprised of four inter-related pathways: mitigation, adaptation, technological innovation and finances and markets.

Efficiency gains need not be high-tech. Federal and state efficiency standards can drive job growth and efficiency gains. Stiffer building codes and large tax breaks to local businesses, home owners and governments that insulate their buildings or install more efficient HVAC equipment would create jobs, reduce imports, and increase U.S. energy security.

Finally, 85 percent of the U.S. energy production and distribution system is investor-owned; 90 percent of the ROW’s energy systems are wholly or partially owned by governments. Both economic models tend toward economic and/or environment excess. Cooperatives, by contrast, harness economic incentives (produce/buy in bulk), build a sense of community, produce economic returns (shares/dividends/credits) and can foster environmental stewardship.

The group is co-chaired by David G. Victor, Director of Stanford University’s Program on Energy and Sustainability, and Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute, with other participants including: Carl O. Bauer, Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy; William Bonvillian, Director of the Washington Office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences; Wayne Clough, former President of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Richard A. Meserve, President of the Carnegie Institution; Patrick Mulloy, Advisor at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; David Myers, Vice President of Engineering and Technology at the Research Triangle Institute; Frederick C. Smith, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy; Charles M. Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineers and Vice Chairman of the National Research Council; Gerry Waldron, Chief of Staff of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; Lew Watts, President & CEO of PFC Energy; and Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund.