Proposed measures represent first step in carrying Wisconsin toward a clean energy future

SUN PRAIRIE — The Governor’s Global Warming Task Force met today and finalized recommendations that will help Wisconsin reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a clean energy economy. Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental organization, voted in favor of the final recommendations but vows to push for stronger reform.

“Climate change is the number one environmental issue that we must address here in Wisconsin and around the world,” said Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director of Clean Wisconsin. “These recommendations represent an excellent first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but we must do everything within our power to mitigate the disastrous effects of global warming.”

The recommendations include a three to four fold increase in Wisconsin’s investment in energy efficiency; a renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2013 and 25 percent by 2025; a 75 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050; and the implementation of a clean cars standard.

“These strong reduction targets, the increased investment in energy efficiency, and the strong renewable portfolio standard are essential elements of addressing global warming and transitioning into a clean energy economy,” Reopelle said.

The Task Force’s recommendations include modifying Wisconsin’s nuclear moratorium law to ensure that any nuclear plant must meet stringent waste disposal standards.

“Nuclear power remains environmentally risky and unacceptably costly,” Reopelle said. “Clean Wisconsin will continue to oppose the construction of nuclear plants in Wisconsin until a permanent, safe federal storage facility is available and all nuclear reactor safety issues are resolved.”

The Task Force further recommends developing a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Wisconsin advocated for an auction-based cap-and-trade system that requires utilities to purchase carbon credits rather than the utility-recommended system of freely allocated credits. The final recommendation sends the ultimate decision on allocation to the Midwestern Governors Association, where a regional cap-and-trade system will likely be developed.

“Meeting the strong reduction goals set in these recommendations requires a strong auction-based cap-and-trade system,” Reopelle said. “Clean Wisconsin will continue to advocate for an auction-based system at the Midwestern Governors Association.”

Governor Doyle created the Global Warming Task Force through executive order to provide policy recommendations that will address global warming, create new jobs in the clean energy industry, and identify goals for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The Task Force includes a broad spectrum of stakeholders including environmental organizations, electric utilities, auto manufacturers, paper producers and members of the university research community.

“Climate change is a problem that individuals from all walks of life must address on a local and international level,” Reopelle said. “Today’s recommendations represent a positive first step in ensuring we take significant and immediate action to ensure future generations inherit a clean and healthy environment.”