ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has a different outlook on U.S. energy policy and renewable energy than President Barack Obama. Is there a way to close the gap and achieve success on this important issue so exchange traded funds (ETFs) can begin to benefit?

Chu believes that the 30%-40% emission reduction goal in the United States is an aggressive but technically possible goal. Matthew McDermott for TreeHugger reports that developing nations such as China, Brazil and India are calling on the United States to make these changes happen.

The big business and politics in the United States makes what is politically achievable (in terms of emission reduction commitments) far, far lower than what it is other nations. Foon Rhee for Political Intelligence reports that Rep. Edward J. Markey (D – Mass.) supports the Obama administration for their latest higher fuel efficiency and emissions requirements for cars and tracks. The proposed standards include:

  • The auto industry’s fleet of new vehicles to average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.
  • Vehicle model years 2012 through 2016 are included and allow automakers to comply with all federal requirements as well as standards pushed by California, Massachusetts, and about a dozen other states.
  • The consumer demand for fuel-efficient cars was evident in the “cash for clunkers” program. The bill will help keep showrooms stocked with these vehicles.
  • The administration estimates the requirements would cost up to $1,300 per new vehicle by 2016, but would save the average driver $3,000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle.
  • The new standards would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles purchased during 2012-16 and would cut global warming pollution by 950 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, according to Markey’s office.

The Green Investor on Seeking Alpha has some ways to invest in the green movement, and capture some of the effects of the recent legislation:

  • Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (NYSEArca: GEX): up 13.8% year-to-date

  • PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio (NYSEArca: PZD): up 33.2% year-to-date

  • iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund (NYSEArca: ICLN): up 13.2% year-to-date

For more stories about green energy, visit our alternative energy category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.