Oceana Wins $10,000 Clean Energy Gulf Challenge

Guest Blog | July 19, 2010 | Press Releases

Jacksonville, FL, July 19, 2010 – After expert review and a public vote, Oceana’s Vision 2020 has won the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s $10,000 Clean Energy Gulf Challenge.

Oceana’s common-sense plan would allow the United States to displace the more than 20 percent of oil that we currently consume from the Gulf of Mexico and import from the Persian Gulf.

“The oil disaster has unleashed devastation on the Gulf of Mexico, ruining coastal communities, economies, habitat and livelihoods. We hope the outcome of this contest will help spur serious, thoughtful discussion on how to move beyond risky oil drilling and imports from hostile nations,” said SACE’s Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Smith.

Oceana, which won the challenge, is the world’s largest organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation.

“Even before the spill in the Gulf, Oceana called for an end to offshore drilling,” said Jackie Savitz, Senior Campaign Director for Oceana. “The Clean Energy Gulf Challenge asked us how it could be accomplished. So we accepted this urgent challenge.”

The plan is especially relevant as the U.S. Senate prepares to take up climate and energy legislation next week, and the Florida Legislature goes into special session tomorrow to consider a ban on offshore drilling.

The details of Oceana’s Vision 2020 plan were outlined in a teleconference call sponsored by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“Oceana Vision 2020 aims to eliminate the need for offshore oil drilling and oil imports from the Persian Gulf by cutting oil consumption in residential and commercial heating, power plant generation, shipping, and light duty vehicles and offsetting oil with alternatives such as advanced biofuels and offshore wind energy,” said Simon Mahan, Campaign Analyst for Oceana.

“Using public and private partnerships like loan guarantees, tax credits, research and development, Oceana’s vision of ending offshore oil drilling and all oil imports would save the American consumer some $374 billion by 2035,” Mahan added.

With this vision, some 74 percent of oil consumption would ultimately be curtailed, consumers would save money, new jobs would be created and the worst effects of climate change and ocean acidification could be averted. Oceana’s plan highlights the multitude of opportunities to eliminate the need for offshore oil drilling.

Oceana is especially concerned about oil consumption because of its role in ocean acidification.

“The oceans are absorbing about one third of the carbon dioxide we’re releasing. And while the oceans are doing us a great service, it is also making them sick,” said Savitz of Oceana.

“Carbon dioxide makes the water more acidic, and that makes it hard for animals like coral, oysters and lobsters to build their shells and skeletons. The only way to stop ocean acidification is to stop producing carbon dioxide, which means we need to stop burning fossil fuels and quickly transition to clean energy sources.”

SACE’s Clean Energy Gulf Challenge attracted a wealth of practical ideas from business, academia, individuals and non-profit organizations.

“SACE has been pleased with the outpouring of support for our Clean Energy Gulf Challenge,” SACE’s Smith said. “It was a difficult decision between the three finalists as all of the plans showed promising aspects to displace the oil we consume from the ‘Gulfs.’” # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a non-profit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.www.cleanenergy.org Related Links:

Oceana’s Vision 2020:http://www.cleanenergy.org/multimedia/webinar-archive/ Oceana’s websitehttp://www.oceana.org Oceana’s webinar/podcast of Vision 2020:http://www.cleanenergy.org/multimedia/webinar-archive/ SACE’s website:http://www.cleanenergy.org SACE’s blog:https://cleanenergy.org/