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New initiatives take climate control by storm

As Earth Day approaches, think about the simple, everyday steps that can help the environment: Trade plastic or paper bags for reusable ones, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, bike to work, or avoid certain types of food. And while Washington ongoings may seem above your head and/or you don’t want to wrap your head around them, also take this opportunity to read up on what’s happening with energy and climate control beyond your local five-day forecast. Here are the latest White House initiatives—but even if you stop reading here (I trust you won't!), take action from home.

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal features a cap-and-trade plan, in which the government sets limits on emissions and allows companies to trade permits and credits to meet the cap. His proposal includes billions for renewable energy investments and a “climate revenues” section that projects $79 billion coming into the Treasury in 2012 from auctioning carbon credits.

The House and Senate introduced budget resolutions proposing a “reserve fund” that could be used for clean energy development—but didn’t include cap-and-trade.

The Climate Bill aims at cutting greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Polluters would buy permits but wouldn’t be able to sell them.

Home Improvement. National Home Energy Savings Revolving Fund Act would create a $10 billion fund for local governments to provide homeowners with up to $10,000 in zero-interest loans that they could use for making home energy-efficiency improvements.

Banks to go green? Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s latest bill would create a green bank that would fund clean-energy and efficiency projects.

Leading the way for corporate green energy, Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced the Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership and Energy Efficiency Act that would give loans to manufacturers to help them get energy-efficient equipment and processes.

What’s the brightest idea in climate control? Let us know what you think.

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