Over the next four weeks, things are going to be climate crazy at the White House.
The Obama Administration is speaking with a number of greentech executives to discuss what to include, and what not to include, in its final energy proposals. The administration, ideally, wants to have something it can discuss publicly the week of September 21.
During the same week, a large number of heads of state will visit the United Nations for an event on climate change. The Clinton Global Initiative will also take place this week.
This week, for instance, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Special Advisor for Green Jobs Van Jones met with executives from solar, wind, biofuel, green building and other sectors at the White House. Attendees included Charlie Bacon, CEO of Limbach Facilities Services, one of the largest contractors in the U.S., and Marc Porat, chairman of Serious Materials and other green building startups.
"The major of the discussion was on renewable – solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels," said Bacon. Green retrofits were not discussed much. Bacon, though, added that he was going to start working with mechanical engineering trade associations to get the message out about how energy efficiency retrofits can reduce energy consumption.
Buildings, he noted, consume 39 percent of the power in the U.S.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, otherwise known as the Waxman-Markey Bill, passed the House of Representatives in June, but it still faces an uphill battle. The centerpiece of the legislation as it currently stands is the controversial carbon cap-and-trade system. It's controversial because many industrialists oppose the caps and several environmental groups believe it does not restrict emissions tightly enough.
The all-encompassing bill – all 1,201 pages of it – includes various provisions for clean transportation, renewable fuel standards, green building standards and smart grid roll-outs. To get it through the Senate, some portions of the bill may have to be trimmed back.
In a more dire alternative, it could be scrapped and various portions with more popular support would be re-proposed on their own, mused a source.