Tuesday, June 25, 2013 (12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Pacific) Focus Meeting read more >
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 (6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Eastern) Focus Meeting read more >
Saturday, July 20, 2013 (6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Eastern) SpecialEvent read more >
- e-StewardŽ Recyclers Will Not Dump in Developing Countries
- DiCaprio, Norton, Whitaker among the star-studded contributors
- End tax breaks for polluters, invest in the green economy
- Smart growth to help beat the crisis
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- Defying a blizzard to fight for climate and clean energy policy
- E2 NorCal meetings focus on implementation challenges
- E2 sponsors California legislation SB 26
- Advocacy on an improved RPS and more
- Implementation and advocacy update
- New England event on climate, energy, waste reduction efforts on campus
- Opportunities for National Ocean Policy
E2 Defies a Blizzard to Fight for Climate and Clean Energy Policy
Also: See a blog about this trip by E2 Co-founder Nicole Lederer at The Energy Collective
| ||From left: E2 Co-founder Nicole Lederer with E2 members Stephen Cowell, Mark Liffmann, John Cheney, Gordon Davidson and Jon Foster. Click for larger version. (Photo credit: Steven Bognar)|
In the face of flight and train cancellations and warnings of a total shut down of the eastern seaboard, eight members of our most recent E2 federal advocacy delegation fought their way into Washington DC during the blizzard of the century last week and showed true commitment to keep their appointments with Senate and Administration leaders. They arrived at a critical moment for federal carbon and clean energy policy, which is hanging in the balance. E2's message that a cap and price on carbon is a critical economic stimulus has never been timelier, as Congress is now highly focused on an economic recovery and jobs.
There was a silver lining to the bad weather: the storm provided a pause in Capitol Hill schedules that turned in to an opportunity for us. From February 9-11 we were virtually the only non-government people on Capitol Hill. As a result we were able to conduct extended meetings throughout the blizzard with key players on carbon policy. Even Senators with whom we did not have prior appointments agreed to meet with us, if for no other reason than that they couldn't believe we were there!The Delegation and Our Mission
The E2 delegation
represented a spectrum of businesses, both in and outside of the clean technology industry: large and distributed scale renewable energy project builders, energy storage technology companies, biofuels companies, energy efficiency retrofitting contractors, cleantech investors, and executives of other companies in key states that are impacted by the emerging clean energy economy. Together, the delegates are engaged in business activities in 37 states and multiple countries.
|From left: Felicia Marcus, NRDC Western Director; E2 members Gordon Davidson, David Moyar, Stephen Cowell, Bob Epstein, Mark Liffmann; Diane Doucette, E2 Climate Campaign Director; E2 members Jon Foster, David O'Leary, Nicole Lederer, John Cheney; and E2 staffers Christine Luong and Tommy Hayes. Click for larger version.|| |
Our mission was to reaffirm that a cap and price on carbon are essential to create American jobs, grow our economy and spur the innovations and products that will keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy. (Our position was summarized in the E2 Action Alert
that many of you signed in the week before the trip.) Each of the delegates developed compelling talking points in support of our agenda from their own business perspectives. As a result we were able to highlight the particular expertise of our delegates and provide support for carbon policy from a broad base of American businesses poised for growth. State of Play for Carbon Policy in the Senate
There was strong momentum for a climate and clean energy bill in the Senate last fall, after the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act
out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Senator Boxer (D-CA). Subsequently Senators John Kerry (D-MA, and Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) committed to produce a tri-partisan bill based on the carbon reduction targets of the EPW bill, but including provisions that would increase the chances of getting support for the bill from energy producing states. The provisions under discussion include increased domestic oil production, increased funding for CCS
technology and deployment, and increased funding for new nuclear deployment, along with incentives for energy efficiency and low carbon renewable energy development.
The emerging debate in the Senate on carbon reduction policy now is focusing on the mechanism for achieving emission reductions. Whereas the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman effort is based on a cap-and-trade model
, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have teamed up to write a bill based on a significantly different model which they call Cap and Dividend. In this model 75% of proceeds from a carbon auction are returned as dividends to citizens, while 25% is dedicated to the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.
While these two models are being debated, there are still those in the Senate who would prefer a carbon tax as the vehicle for carbon reductions, as well as many who view the entire concept of limiting carbon emissions as a danger to our fragile economy. Another significant contingent of the Senate prefers to pass an energy bill devoid of carbon reduction provisions as a politically feasible step toward deploying clean energy technologies. E2 argued that an energy bill alone will lack the critical long-term market signal provided by a cap and price on carbon emissions to drive investment in new energy technologies. Without this market signal, the U.S. will be at a significant disadvantage in commercializing clean energy products for domestic deployment and for export
E2's message to all of these Senators was straightforward: Whatever the mechanism, the growth and vigor of the American economy depend on our making a national commitment to a clean low-carbon energy future.Will the Next Move come from Congress or the Administration?
| ||“The trip was a wonderful opportunity to work with other E2 members to push for meaningful climate legislation this year. It was gratifying to see how well regarded E2 is on the Hill. The prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill, in the wake of partisan battles over health care, is to do less, not more, on climate legislation. At the same time, the high national unemployment rate is making increasing jobs a key focus area for Congress. Given that environment, E2’s message that strong climate legislation will help create green jobs in America – jobs that will otherwise be created overseas – is critically important to the climate legislation debate. The blizzard certainly added a twist to the trip – it’s not often you can find yourself completely alone in the hallways of Senate office buildings during a weekday!”|
| || - Jon Foster (Palo Alto, CA)|
While key Senators have continued to focus on a climate and clean energy bill, Senate leadership has made it clear that the priorities are a jobs bill and a healthcare bill. Our E2 delegation made a strong argument that carbon policy is a highly effective component of a jobs bill
. Depending on the timing of these priorities, the legislative calendar and the upcoming election season, carbon policy could slip through the cracks as a casualty of competing agendas. The primary insurance against that happening is the announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson of the Agency's intention to move forward on the Supreme Court-endorsed mandate to regulate carbon emissions as a pollutant. Under the Supreme Court decision
, carbon emissions were found to be an endangerment to human health and welfare, and thus fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA, along with other air pollutants.
While unequivocally asserting the Agency's authority to regulate carbon emissions, Administrator Jackson has sought to reassure the business community that EPA plans to issue regulations that will apply only to major emitters, such as power plants and industrial facilities, not small businesses. Nevertheless, the EPA's authority in this arena is a major concern to some in Congress. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) submitted an amendment to a budget bill seeking to strip EPA of this authority. E2 has responded with letters to both Houses urging members not to sign on to the Murkowski amendment (see E2's letter to the Senate
) or a companion bill in the House (see E2's letter to the House
). A move by Congress to strip the EPA of authority to regulate carbon emissions would be exactly the wrong market signal to American business.
Both Congress and the Administration have signaled a strong preference to have carbon policy come from the legislative rather than regulatory process. But the EPA's authority to move forward with carbon regulation remains a critical incentive to Congress to act in a timely manner on this issue.Our Meetings
We met with the following Senate and Administration offices:
|Evan Bayh (D - IN) (staff)||Lisa Jackson|
|Mark Begich (D - AK) (staff)||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|Michael Bennet (D - CO) (staff)|| |
|Barbara Boxer (D - CA) (staff)||Cathy Zoi|
|Maria Cantwell (D - WA)||U.S. Department of Energy (staff)|
|Susan Collins (R - ME) (staff)|| |
|Amy Klobuchar (D - MN) (staff)|| |
|Debbie A. Stabenow (D - MI)|| |
|Jon Tester (D - MT)|| |
|Mark Udall (D - CO)|| |
|George Voinovich (R - OH)|| |
|Ron Wyden (D - OR)|| |
Discussions in these meetings ranged from protecting American manufacturing jobs, to whether China would engage adequately on carbon emission reductions, to interest in bringing new low carbon jobs to states with high unemployment. We repeatedly heard about the intransigence and gridlock in the Senate and the difficulty in reaching 60 votes to pass any legislation.
In addition to the Senate meetings, E2 spoke with EPA Administrator Jackson to promote our members as ideal messengers in support of the Administration's clean energy agenda. The Administrator indicated her intention to draw on E2's business expertise on chemical policy reform and water quality as well as climate and clean energy issues.What's Next
Time is of the essence if we're going to get a carbon bill passed this year. We plan to keep up the pressure on Congress not to turn its back on carbon policy because of the current contentious political atmosphere, or because of an inability to agree on the economic mechanism for achieving emission reductions. The strongest argument we have, and one that E2 is uniquely well qualified to deliver, is that the best way forward to an economic recovery, job creation and an improved balance of trade is a national commitment to a low carbon clean energy future. Our greatest leverage for a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill is the fact that low carbon jobs are beginning to appear in states all across the country, creating a "bubble up" demand for action from Congress. This phenomenon is now being illustrated by a documentary film crew working with the E2 DC delegation and a number of other E2 members with businesses in key states.
We are planning our next delegation trip to DC and seeking E2 delegates who currently do business, or have expansion plans or supply chain relationships in the following states: Massachusetts, Virginia, Maine, Montana, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan.
Thanks to the intrepid E2 delegates of February 2010, and to the E2 and NRDC DC staff who worked long hours to support this trip.
E2 Northern California hosted a pair of Focus Meetings on February 18 to discuss the status of the landmark California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), the economy-wide benefits to its ongoing implementation and political threats to its implementation in the coming year. E2 members joined Kristin Grenfell Eberhard, Legal Director of Western Energy and Climate Projects at NRDC, and Annie Notthoff, NRDC Director of California Advocacy, to hear about the strides already made toward implementation of greenhouse gas reductions across the economy, many of which carry net negative cost options through increased efficiency and savings.
The conversation also included a political update on challenges that AB 32 may encounter in 2010, including the possibility of a ballot measure in the November elections designed to suspend the law and effectively halt California's progress toward an economy based on clean, safe and domestic energy. E2 has provided a broad and deep business voice in support of AB 32 since its passage and will play an important role in its continued success.
E2 is the originator and sponsor of SB26 - "PACE Program Financing Acceleration and Jobs Bill". Introduced in the California legislature by Senator Fran Pavley (D-23) (with joint authors Senators Gilbert Cedillo (D-22), Loni Hancock (D-9), Alex Padilla (D-20), Lois Wolk (D-5) and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-6)), Senate Bill X8 26, the PACE Program Financing Acceleration and Jobs Bill, would enhance credit for voluntary energy efficiency retrofits in California homes and businesses through a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing
mechanism. This bill, sponsored by E2, could catalyze $1 billion worth of projects, spur the creation of 10,500 direct jobs (as well as 10,000 indirect), and drive $68 million in revenue to the state through resulting income and sales tax.
SBX8 26 passed the Senate’s Energy Committee 9 to 0, the Appropriations Committee 8 to 0 and on February 25 it passed the Senate 32 to 0!E2 has written a support letter
for the bill and is now focused on getting the bill through the Assembly and on to the Governor. Because the bill is part of a special session of the legislature, it is possible to have the bill go into effect quickly and even help create jobs as early as this summer.
On February 4, E2 Rocky Mountains Chapter Members Andrew Currie and Joel Serface were at the Colorado State Capitol to support House Bill 10-1001, which was heard in the House Transportation and Energy Committee, and will increase the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from 20 percent to 30 percent by the year 2020. Local E2 members also signed a support letter
, which was entered into the committee's public record.
The RPS bill is of such high importance to the state and its efforts to establish a New Energy Economy that Governor Bill Ritter testified in support of the bill. E2 Rocky Mountains members are also supporting legislation to approve financing districts for energy efficient and renewable energy improvements, to expand Colorado's Clean Development Authority's financing powers to include renewable transmission projects, and to establish a Green Jobs Training Program, which will provide grants to applicants who train individuals for jobs in wind, solar, renewable energy, and energy efficiency industries. For more information, or to get involved, please contact Jamila Rockette at firstname.lastname@example.org
MA on track to lower GHG emissions 18% below 1990 levels
The Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act, signed into law in July 2008, requires that the state reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 10 to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. A recent report prepared for the state by Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) of Lexington, determined that a combination of pre-existing programs that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, have put Massachusetts on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 18 percent below 1990 levels in the next decade.
The draft report was submitted to the State's Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee on which E2 New England Director Berl Hartman serves. The committee will review and comment on the report, which outlines more than two dozen existing strategies, laws and policies projected to move the Commonwealth toward an 18.6 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from the 1990 level by 2020.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), energy efficiency, renewable energy incentives, green transportation and smart growth, clean energy business development and workforce training, policies affecting large-scale private development, and reform of government operations are among the broad categories of programs moving Massachusetts toward a low-carbon future, according to the draft report. Specific measures that contribute to this projected reduction include expanded and nation-leading energy efficiency programs, a more ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard, the popular Commonwealth Solar rebate program, adoption of smart growth/smart energy policies, and adoption of a statewide energy efficient building code.
Wind Energy Siting Reform Passes in the Massachusetts Senate
Massachusetts is almost entirely dependent on out-of-region fossil fuel sources for its energy needs. Along with vastly increasing energy efficiency, increasing local sources of renewable energy is critical to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. However, a recent report documented the fact that the state's laws "do not adequately facilitate the siting of renewable energy and alternative energy facilities" and instead, "make it more difficult to site renewable energy facilities than fossil-fueled energy facilities."
Among the problems cited by the report are the fact that there are no statewide siting standards, so wind energy developers do not know what criteria they need to meet in order to develop a wind facility; at both the state and local level, there are a large number of permits and approvals that are required and obtaining all of these approvals takes significant time. Current laws allow for judicial appeals of virtually all permits, and these appeals take years to resolve even when they lack merit. In fact, for siting purposes, current law discriminates in favor of fossil-fueled facilities.
The Wind Energy Siting Reform Act of 2009, which passed in the Massachusetts Senate this month, directly addresses all of these problems. It mandates that the Siting Board establish clear and predictable siting standards for wind facilities. The standards must be as protective as existing state laws. For wind projects over 2 MW, it provides for one-stop permitting at the local and state levels.
Supporters, including E2 New England, will now focus advocacy efforts on the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the bill's next hurdle before reaching the governor's desk.
Colleges and universities, both large and small, have made major commitments to significantly improve carbon footprints of their campuses. On February 4, E2 New England members and guests gathered for a luncheon to hear presentations from three individuals who are at the forefront of this movement.
John Cusack, Executive Director of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability (NJHEPS), a consortium of more than 40 higher education institutions in NJ, presented the business case for climate change management by colleges and universities. Mr. Cusack explained that academic leaders believe sustainability - the integration of economic, environmental and social issues into all decision-making processes of an organization - is fundamental to higher education. Colleges and universities can integrate climate actions into campus operations, curricula, and basic and applied research in order to change the mindsets and behaviors of students, faculty and the community at large. Noting that these efforts are not easy, Mr. Cusack described the challenges of changing curriculum, identifying the decision-maker(s) and working across department boundaries.
Heather Henriksen, Director, Harvard Office for Sustainability (and member of NRDC), presented Harvard's approach to addressing climate change. Key goals for Harvard are campus sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 30% over base year 2006 by 2016, behavior and cultural change campus-wide and support for green building standards. Ms. Henriksen outlined some recent sustainability achievements at Harvard and described how its Revolving Loan Fund for Energy Conservation, strong support from Harvard's President and faculty, and campus outreach and educational programs will continue to be critical to implementing a culture of sustainability for the University.
Rob Pratt, Founder, Chairman and CEO of EnergyClimate Solutions (ECS), a company dedicated to helping colleges and universities become climate leaders, pointed out that sustainability is a major marketing tool for colleges - many prospective students now consider this an important criterion for college selection. Many of the smaller colleges have joined the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which provides a vehicle for sharing climate action information among the member institutions. Click here for the online resource
. Many larger institutions have not become members of ACUPCC, but have adopted and are implementing aggressive climate plans. Mr. Pratt emphasized that because today’s college students will be tomorrow’s leaders, higher education has a critical role in showing them how much needs to be done and that each student has an impact.
E2 would like to thank our host for this event, Brown Rudnick LLP.
On February 3, E2 hosted a TeleSalon featuring Mike Boots, Associate Director for Land and Water Ecosystems at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Sarah Chasis, Director of NRDC's Oceans Initiative. Sarah began by describing the needs and motivations behind federal efforts - including at the White House level - to establish a national ocean policy, pointing out that our oceans are economic engines providing valuable jobs, food, energy resources, and recreation and tourism opportunities. She reviewed the structure of the Administration-appointed Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, as well as highlights of the group's interim report on policy goals and interim framework for coastal and marine spatial planning
. She emphasized that E2's support would continue to be crucial to moving national ocean policy forward and urged members to sign E2's latest petition supporting a national policy
to protect, maintain and restore the health of our oceans.
Mr. Boots spoke about the reasons a national ocean policy has risen to the top of the Administration's environmental agenda - the too-long silence from the federal government on comprehensive oceans management, the dearth of positive results from the uncoordinated efforts of the existing array of agencies, increasing attention toward the ocean impacts of global warming and the reality of ever-increasing demands on ocean and coastal resources. He acknowledged that sufficient, high-quality work has already been done researching and evaluating ocean management needs, and that now is the time to move to implementation. Mr. Boots also discussed how marine spatial planning is recognized by both sides of the political aisle as a positive for commercial and recreational users alike, in that its goals are to ensure predictability, sustainability, and reduced costs and conflicts in the management of marine resources.
A 2008 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not doing more to promulgate and enforce rules to stem the tide of hazardous old computers, TVs, monitors and other electronic waste currently flooding African and Asian countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and China.
To date little has changed and a market-based solution is seen as more necessary than ever. On February 9, NRDC announced its endorsement of the first-ever certification program for electronics recycling created jointly by the environmental community and business leaders. The new e-Stewards
Certification and Standard was created by the Basel Action Network (BAN) and the program is calling on all electronics recyclers to become e-Steward Certified recyclers and all businesses to become designated "e-Steward Enterprises
." The e-Steward Certification is a fully accredited certification that relies on independent, third-party auditors to verify safe and ethical e-waste disposal. It is awarded to companies that recycle electronics without using municipal landfills and incinerators, exporting to developing countries, or using U.S. prison labor for disposing of toxic old electronics. Senior Scientist Dr. Allen Hershkowitz directs NRDC's national solid waste and paper industry reform projects.
| ||NRDC Trustee Leo DiCaprio in a video call-to-action.|
On January 28, the NRDC Action Fund launched This is Our Moment
, a web-based video campaign urging Congress to pass the first-ever climate and clean energy bill, currently pending in the Senate. The campaign kicked off with the release of a star-studded video call-to-action that includes Jason Bateman, Chace Crawford, Leonardo DiCaprio (an NRDC Trustee), Felicity Huffman, Justin Long, Edward Norton, Emmy Rossum and Forest Whitaker. This is Our Moment enables citizens to become participants by uploading their own videos in support of a clean energy economy and sending direct emails to their Senators. This is Our Moment is designed to create a virtual army of climate activists through an emphasis on social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, a rotating display of user-generated videos, and the video player itself, which is an embeddable widget for websites, social networking pages and blogs.
The interactive video campaign has smashed records: as of February 16, it has had 2.6 million views, 93,000 visits to the Action Fund site and more than 40,000 letters to Senators demanding passage of clean energy legislation. Rolling Stone has called it "Brilliant...the best PSA ever." Congratulations to NRDC's creative team: Daniel Hinerfeld, Francesca Koe, Lisa Whiteman, Jenny Powers, Lisa Goffredi, Will Tam, Sherry Goldberg, Phil Gutis and Heather Taylor.
On January 28, a coalition of 34 conservation and wildlife organizations - including NRDC - released a "Green Budget
" report outlining what Congress can do to create jobs while strengthening key environmental programs - including cutting wasteful spending by nearly $20 billion per year. The wide-ranging spending cuts indentified would save billions of dollars per year by ending tax breaks and other giveaways to heavily polluting industries that are enjoying record-breaking profits. The savings outlined in the Green Budget are just a sampling of the ways our tax dollars subsidize pollution and could instead be invested in environmental protection and clean, renewable energy. The organizations producing the Green Budget believe the money saved by eliminating wasteful spending can be used to invest in creating a green economy - one that creates jobs and protects natural resources. Their plan details what federal agency funding is needed to sustain clean air and water, protect lands, oceans and wildlife, and solve energy and transportation problems.
As the American economy continues to be dragged down by the mortgage crisis, a new NRDC report shows a direct link between the transportation costs associated with a given neighborhood or community and its foreclosure rate. "Location Efficiency and Mortgage Default
," focuses on the impact of "location efficiency," a concept pioneered by NRDC and other groups in the 1990's, on mortgage performance in key cities. It shows that, because transportation costs are a significant household expenditure, rates of vehicle ownership - largely determined by neighborhood compactness, walkability, and access to public transit - is key to predicting mortgage performance and should be taken into account by mortgage underwriters, policymakers and real estate developers. The effect of location efficiency is clear when comparing foreclosure probabilities for two homebuyers with exactly the same profile in terms of credit score, debt-to-income ratio and loan-to-value ratio in differing neighborhoods. The research shows that the buyer in the more location-efficient area will be less likely to default. The report suggests policy changes in land use, infrastructure and transportation, as well as mortgage underwriting practices.
This study has been peer-reviewed and accepted for academic journal publication. A briefing document
is available for press and public consumption. David Goldstein, co-director of the Energy Program at NRDC, has written a blog about the study
. Also available is a recording of a telebriefing
about the report's implications hosted by NRDC staffers, experts in the field and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).