November 7, 2008

Scientists Urge President-Elect Obama to Strengthen U.S. Energy Security

American Physical Society Says Major Gains in Energy Efficiency Can End Dependence on Foreign Oil

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Physical Society, a leading organization of physicists, including 60 Nobel Laureates, today urged President Elect-Barack Obama to make investing in energy efficiency a top priority after he takes office in January.

"Energy efficiency is the cheapest, easiest and fastest way to achieve energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Nobel Laureate Burton Richter, Ph.D., Stanford University professor emeritus and chairman of the APS panel that recently released an energy efficiency study.

In his "New Energy for America" plan, Obama said he would create 5 million jobs by investing $150 billion during the next 10 years in basic research, the commercialization of plug-in hybrids and development of green technologies, among other initiatives. The plan also calls for a national goal to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030.

APS has scheduled meetings with Obama’s Transition Team and members of the next Congress to implement these plans that will help the nation achieve energy security, reduce global warming and lay the groundwork for a bustling green economy.

The organization’s landmark report, Energy Future: Think Efficiency urges U.S. policy makers to "tap the hidden domestic energy potential found through energy efficiency." The year-long study by leading scientists and energy policy experts offers practical, scientific-based ways the U.S. can tap into a significant energy efficiency reserve. They include urging the federal government to establish policies to ensure that new, light-duty vehicles average 50 miles per gallon by 2030, increasing research and development for the advanced batteries that are needed to make plug-in vehicles more affordable, and adopting an integrated building design to achieve "zero energy use" buildings by 2020 except in hot climates. Together, transportation and buildings account for two-thirds of U.S. energy use.

According to the study, greater energy efficiency would provide the U.S. with the following benefits:

  • Eliminate the need to import oil from the Middle East and Venezuela at a savings of $700 billion a year.
  • Reduce gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions via more energy-efficient vehicles.
  • Save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs and create jobs.
  • Decrease energy consumption through national energy efficiency building standards; require green building rating systems to give energy efficiency the highest priority; and report energy consumption data.

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.