What did the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 accomplish, if anything?



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    The text of the bill requires that, starting in 2012, electricity suppliers would be expected to achieve a “total annual energy savings” of 6 percent. The savings will come from renewable energy credits, effectively forcing electrical producers to invest in renewable energy. By 2021 through 2039, providers are expected to achieve 20 percent reductions. The bill also encourages the establishment of a Carbon Storage Research Corporation, which would be an organization of private concerns established to promote carbon sequestration research. An additional function of this board would be to establish a system for trading carbon credits. This appears to be an attempt to set up a carbon economy, which has met with strong opposition from corporate America. Another large part of the bill addresses methane releases from landfill and mandates that landfills must install gas capture systems. The fact that landfills are required to install gas capture systems, which theoretically addresses the issue of landfill methane emissions, therefore would restrict or eliminate alternative organic waste management systems such as composting and municipal anaerobic digestion from being eligible for carbon offsets. Revenues from carbon offsets help developers of composting and municipal anaerobic digestion projects — where the organic wastes currently are landfilled — attract investment capital. That financial benefit may no longer exist under ACES.

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