By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Moving to create clean energy jobs, fight climate change and set America on a path to energy independence, Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Todd Platts (R-Pa.) on Wednesday introduced the American Renewable Energy Act, which would require America to generate one-quarter of its energy from “clean energy sources” by 2025.

“With our economy in crisis, renewable energy can create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs, revitalize declining manufacturing sectors and decrease global warming pollution,” said Rep. Markey, chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, in a news release.

Twenty-seven states have already passed similar benchmarks and a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 84 percent of Americans support requiring utilities to increase their use of renewable energy. Many believe such requirements will create jobs, improve American security and address climate change.

The American Renewable Energy Act would be a catalyst for quicker development of clean energy technology and create an estimated 350,000 jobs, according to the news release.

Citing “numerous studies”, The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that the new law, if passed, would increase clean energy generation by 135 percent over what current state and federal policies would produce. The UCS also projects that this “electrifying standard” would work to lower utility bills for consumers.

A 2007 study by the federal government “found that consumers would save $2 billion on cumulative electricity and natural gas bills from 2009 to 2030 under a 25-percent-by-2025 standard, while reducing power plant global warming pollution by 22 percent or 724 million metric tons by 2030,” the UCS reported.

“The 25 percent target is entirely achievable and will lower consumers’ energy bills along the way,” said Alan Nogee, UCS Clean Energy Program director.

“President Obama campaigned for this standard, and now Congress should pass it. Everyone will benefit.”

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