The ball has dropped, the fireworks have gone off and the champagne's been drunk. Now it's time for New Year's revelers to start turning their resolutions into reality.
Greentech groups are among those determined to make a change this year. And when Greentech Media asked industry organizations about their resolutions for 2008, there was one thing they all had in common -- an emphasis on greener policy.
News in December underscored both the growing global political push toward green and the long road still ahead for green lobbyists.
In Bali, representatives from more than 180 countries hammered out an agenda and a timetable for how the world will negotiate the fight against global warming after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. But the United States blocked a nonbinding goal of lowering emissions 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and the plan instead only acknowledged that "deep cuts in global emissions will be required."
And in Washington D.C., President George Bush signed an energy bill that mandated better fuel economy for vehicles and required fuel producers to use more biofuel -- but excluded such provisions as $21.5 billion in renewable incentives and a national renewable-energy standard.
Here’s what solar, wind and biotech groups plan to do next:
Rhone Resch: President, Solar Energy Industries Association
"We are entirely focused on policy in 2008. Our top priority is a long-term extension and expansion of the investment tax credits for solar. We are going to do everything in our means to make sure they are passed early in ’08.
The second legislative priority is for us to focus on national net metering and interconnection policies.
The third area is to help shape climate change legislation to ensure that solar and other renewable-energy sources can participate in the carbon markets and receive carbon allocation for new projects.
And finally, it’s a major election year. We are going to work hard to keep clean-energy policy on all of the candidates’ agendas. And frankly, there were a number of key senators with significant solar manufacturing in their state that voted against us in the energy bill. We are going to make sure that is not forgotten in the election."
Robert Gates: President, American Wind Energy Association
"We need to extend the production tax credit. Secondarily, we want to continue the push toward a national renewable portfolio standard. [We want] more transmission capability and modification in the existing transmission rules to provide the means to get the abundant renewable energy from wind resources to where the people need the energy. These short-term goals are part of the longer-term strategies of making the legislative and policy modifications to get renewables to account for a significant portion of the nation’s electricity supply -- a fifth or a quarter, something significant like that."
Brent Erickson: Industrial and Environmental Executive Vice President, Biotechnology Industry Organization
"What we are going to focus on [this] year is the passage of the farm bill, because that has several provisions dealing with building the infrastructure we need to make [the 36 billion gallons of biofuels called for in the energy bill] and to help farmers start transitioning to dedicated energy crops.
For the farm bill, we are tying to push to include tax credits, not only for biofuels, but for bio-based products like green-plastic products.
The other thing we’ll focus on is the actual implementation of the energy bill through the federal regulatory process."