We Need A Mix
Why Did Third Way Make This Video?
The mission of Third Way’s Clean Energy Program is to develop and promote policies that will help in the fight against climate change. We’ve only got a few decades to cut our emissions by at least 80%, so the pressure is really on. That’s why we’re so concerned by growing calls for a “renewables-only” solution to this massive challenge—a strategy that would intentionally take other climate tools off the table and lock them in the toolbox. Our odds of keeping global warming below 2 degrees are eroding rapidly. And analysis from the world’s preeminent climate authorities indicates that our task will become even harder if we fail to take advantage of low-carbon technologies like nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Because we won’t get a second chance at stopping climate change, Third Way felt an urgent need to spread the word about the mitigation strategy that is most likely to get the job done. When it comes to generating low-carbon electricity, “we need a mix.”
Does Third Way Oppose Renewables?
Not at all! We believe that renewables play an essential role in the effort to fight climate change, and we’ve promoted a number of federal policies aimed at deploying more renewable technologies. Over the years, Third Way has pushed federal legislators to issue clean energy bonds, create a national clean energy standard, and allow renewables to take advantage of the Master Limited Partnership tax status that has been such a boon for America’s oil and gas producers. Roughly half of the policies Third Way suggested for power sector decarbonization in the PowerBook apply to renewable electricity, with specific sections for advancing wind, utility-scale and distributed solar, hydro, geothermal, energy storage, enhanced transmission, and smart grid technologies.
Why Focus so Heavily on Non-Renewable Technologies, Then?
In short, because renewables are already in very good hands. Thanks to the work of countless advocates in the NGO and policy worlds, renewable technologies like wind and solar are growing rapidly and have a prominent and unquestioned place in global climate mitigation efforts.
Of course, there is more that must be done to help these important technologies reach their full potential. We applaud the efforts of our friends at World Resources Institute to deploy distributed generation in the developing world; the work being done by organizations like Environmental Defense Fund and Advanced Energy Economy to promote a smarter grid and regulatory framework that enable higher penetration of renewable electricity; the dedicated advocacy from the Union of Concerned Scientists for policies to expand the market for renewable technologies; and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s calls for market and financing innovation to better support renewable technologies.
Despite their importance in achieving our climate goals, low-carbon baseload technologies like nuclear and CCS don’t have nearly the same level of clout behind them from the climate advocacy community. Third Way wants to help fill that void while also continuing its support for renewable energy.