Despite the recent surge in sales for environmentally friendly cars and other eco friendly products, the United States isn't necessarily in a position to brag about its energy efficiency. According to a recent study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), out of the twelve largest economies in the world, America ranks ninth in efficiency. The report analyzed energy use and conservation in a number of areas, including transportation, building codes and power distribution, and found that the United States lags behind the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, the European Union, Australia and China.
In an effort to move the country to the top of that list, U.S. Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have proposed new legislation that would address the problem by having the federal government adopt energy conservation practices, while also encouraging the manufacturing industry to become more efficient as well.
This legislation will be the subject of a Congressional briefing this week, at which representatives from the ACEEE will discuss the advantages to the economy of reducing energy consumption and promoting green technology.
"There's always more to do," Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "Our economy is doing well while we're also saving energy and reducing emissions."
Although the country has its work cut out for it in the years ahead, one positive note is that the United States has made huge strides in this area over the last 40 years. The ACEEE says that it takes half of the energy used in 1973 to produce the same level of gross domestic product in 2013. This contradicts the oft-repeated claim that efforts to protect the environment necessitate a slowdown in economic growth.
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