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Calling For Government Mandates

August 3, 2012

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has issued a report critical of the United States for the amount of energy it uses.

The ACEEE report ranks the United States 9th out of 12 world economies for energy efficiency.

The economies include the European Union (EU) and four members of the EU, so the report actually compares the United States with six economies – the EU, Australia, China, Canada, Brazil and Russia. One could say the ACEEE tried to distort the report’s conclusions.

The ACEEE report calls for greater government involvement in telling Americans how to live.

ACEEE’s recommendations include:

  • Enact a national [energy] savings target
  • Pay for miles driven, a tax that the report calls “insurance”
  • Increase financial incentives, i.e., subsidies
  • Build more efficient power plants, e.g., distributed generation with solar and windmills.
  • Increase spending for transit and non-motorized transportation

The ACEEE report uses a methodology that includes non-tangible and non-monetary policy issues, such as whether a government has enacted the types of legislation desired by the ACEEE.

Here is their table for evaluating a country’s energy efficiency.



Possible Points

National Efforts 25
Buildings 28
Industry 24
Transportation 23

Each sector has sub-categories. For example, National Effort includes a category for Tax Credits and Loan Programs worth 3 points.  Also included is a category for whether a country is spending enough on energy efficiency, worth 5 points.

Under Buildings, the sub-categories include residential and commercial Building Codes that can earn 6 points, and Building Labeling that can earn 3 points.

Under Transportation, Public Transit can earn 4 points. Vehicle Miles Traveled per person (lower the better) can earn 3 points.

There are other subjective measurements, but these few alone account for 24% of the total evaluation.

These mostly subjective measurements are part of the ACEEE evaluation that says the United States ranks ninth.

The Building Rating requirement is the same type of rating required by the Waxman-Markey, Cap & Trade legislation. Every building, including your home, must be assigned a publicly disclosed numerical rating for building’s efficiency. Waxman-Markey was calling for this rating to be on your deed. Think of how this will affect the selling of homes, especially those more than 25 years old.

Big Brother at work.

What’s truly galling about the ACEEE report is that the media adopts the headline, US Ranks Ninth in World.

A closer look at the ACEEE report, in addition to its arbitrary use of policy measures as part of their evaluation, is that the data shows the United States does very well when measured by its GDP.

Here are a few rankings by GDP per capita:

United States $47,241
EU $32,265
Russia $10,582
China $4,409


In reviewing the report’s information on energy use in the industrial, building and transportation sectors, the United States is competitive in the industrial sector.

However, the United States does not rank as well as the EU for the Building and Transportation sectors.

It’s well known that Europe has very little air conditioning, a major use of energy in the United States. In addition, European homes are smaller, requiring less heating and lighting. On a per capita basis, Europe has fewer appliances, such as washing machines, driers, microwave ovens and VCRs … all of which consume energy.

The ACEEE would therefore require Americans to reduce their standard of living by using less air conditioning, living in smaller homes and abandoning the use of washing machines, driers, etc.

In so far as transportation is concerned, Americans think nothing of driving from New York to Miami or San Francisco to Los Angeles. As noted above, an “insurance” fee for miles driven would force Americans to stop driving these long distances.

Big Brother is hard at work.

The ACEEE uses personal opinion as a substitute for objective analysis in much of their evaluation.

For example, the United States is penalized for its distribution of electricity. The fact is, the United States is a large country where people live in suburbs. Suburbs are an anathema to environmentalists who want Americans to live in concentrated areas, usually referred to as mixed use communities.

Government shouldn’t decide where people live, but restricting the use of energy or penalizing people for driving will force people to live where the government wants.

ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said the United States lags Europe in energy efficiency, but this is based on a biased report using subjective policy inputs.

If the ACEEE paper was merely an intellectual exercise, it would be quickly dismissed as seventh grade nonsense.

Unfortunately, it’s being used to influence Congress, the media and unwary citizenry.

The ACEEE paper is even more egregious than I have made it out to be.

It’s available for downloading from the ACEEE web site at:

I hope you will read the full report and see what these people have in store for you.

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