Feb 2, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
On Wednesday, at a joint press conference, Rep. Henry Waxman, the new Chair of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and Brad Collins, Executive Director of the American Solar Energy Society, released "Tackling Climate Change in the U.S." The 204-page report was edited by Chuck Kutscher and includes category reports by nine panels of experts.
It includes a chapter on PHEVs by Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D. and Howard Brown of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We haven't had a chance to carefully review the report; the PHEV chapter concludes,
"Plug-in hybrid vehicles have the potential to provide a wide range of benefits. The most dramatic benefit is a reduction in petroleum consumption, but they also enable significant reductions in carbon emissions. Even though the current mix of electric generation in the United States gets the majority of its electricity from coal, PHEVs emit substantially less carbon than conventional vehicles because of the increased efficiency of electric drive. They can increase the adoption of renewable energy in the electric utility sector, and they can make the nation's electric system more stable, secure, and resilient."
The report is significant on its own -- especially during the week when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its new report.
It may also be important if it represents a further evolution by the Sierra Club toward support of PHEVs. Until recently Club staff members have been quoted as being skeptics of the relative benefits of electrification of transportation compared to simply improving gasoline vehicle MPG. The Club has promoted standard hybrids, but was disappointed when Ford pulled back from its commitment to rapidly expand its hybrid fleet. (For more background on the Sierra-PHEV story, see Sherry Boschert's book on Plug-In Hybrids, which you can order from links on CalCars' home page.) Last year, the Club endorsed the "Don't Crush" campaign to rescue Toyota RAV4 EVs, and California chapters have supported resolutions for PHEVs.
The news advisory for the press event says, "ASES and the Sierra Club are teaming up to release this important ASES report that lays out a strategy for reducing U.S. global warming pollution by 60-80% by 2050. The Sierra Club will adopt the report's findings as a pivotal component of its energy policy and roadmap for tackling global warming."
We hope this means the Club's evolution is continuing!
Donwload the report is available at <http://www.ases.org/climatechange/index.htmhttp://www.ases.org/climatechange/index.htm. See the advisory press release for the event at http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-30-2007/0004516265&EDATE=, and a report on the press conference from Voice of America at http://www.voanews.com/english/AmericanLife/2007-02-02-voa57.cfm.