Federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Laws
John C. Dernbach
Widener University - School of Law
Vermont Law School
September 19, 2010
LAW OF CLEAN ENERGY: EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLES, Michael B Gerrard ed., Forthcoming
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-30
This paper provides an overview of U.S. law and policy concerning energy efficiency and conservation. The United States appears torn between two narratives - one expressing the abundant demonstrated opportunities provided by energy savings and the other based on a fear of deprivation from using less energy. Rather than choosing between the two, U.S. law and policy splits the difference - embracing efficiency and conservation more or less halfheartedly. Energy efficiency and conservation policy thus has a Groundhog Day aspect, in which the same or similar arguments are made year after year, decade after decade, and often (it appears) to little effect. In recent years, however, the federal government has strengthened the nation’s commitment to efficiency and conservation.
The paper first discusses federal laws and policies that are intended to support efficiency and conservation as well as laws that are antagonistic to those goals. It then describes energy efficiency and conservation features of proposed climate change and clean energy legislation. Finally, this paper discusses energy conservation under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and in the European Union.
Keywords: energy efficiency, energy conservation, climate change, sustainable development, sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Policy and Conservation Act, Clean Air Act, cap-and-trade, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Framework Convention on Climate Change
JEL Classification: K10, K20, K29, K32, K33, Q20, Q21, Q28, Q30, Q31, Q38, Q40, Q41, Q43, Q48, Q54, Q58, Q01Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 29, 2010 ; Last revised: April 12, 2013
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