- Defining next-generation climate legislation
- EPA to reconsider denied waiver
- California's breadbasket region as yet untapped for climate advocacy
- Chapter kicking off with February EcoSalon
- Boston event focuses on climate and energy
- Global warming inextricably tied to land use, transportation, buildings
- New England member featured on Switchboard blog
|Click image to enlarge |
With a new Administration focused on addressing global warming, the momentum towards federal climate legislation is unprecedented. Though some argue that such legislation should be put on hold to avoid further disrupting our already strained economy, President Obama rejects that view: "We must take bold action to create a new American energy economy that creates millions of jobs for our people.
" (The White House Blog
, Jan. 26, 2009.) E2 and NRDC share this perspective, and believe that passing comprehensive climate legislation now can help to ensure, and even hasten, economic recovery.
Climate legislation that combines a firm cap on global warming pollution with significant incentives for investing in clean technology - a "cap and invest" program - will help to revive the stalled credit markets by encouraging capital investment in a new energy economy. First, it will sharply reduce the regulatory uncertainty that has previously limited capital investment in clean energy infrastructure. Second, upon passing such legislation, the federal government can immediately scale-up incentives for efficiency and clean energy innovation (e.g. low-cost financing for producers and purchasers of advanced-technology vehicles, incentives and credit enhancement facilities for energy efficiency investments, support for deployment of emerging clean energy supply technologies). Importantly, deficit-financed incentives could begin in 2010, or potentially even 2009, prior to the implementation of the cap. Then, once the administrative details are settled and the cap goes into effect, possibly in 2012, revenue from the sale of emissions allowances could be used to pay back the Treasury and finance further clean tech incentives going forward.
Climate legislation can thereby serve as fiscally-responsible stimulus that reduces the growing risk of falling into a protracted recession while putting us on a path to a clean and secure energy economy.
Crystallizing the details of this argument has been a key focus at NRDC. Over the past few months, with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, NRDC’s Center for Market Innovation
(CMI - of which E2 is a partner) and NRDC’s Climate Center have been collaboratively working on a project dubbed "Cap 2.0." The focus of the project is to design improved climate legislation that achieves long-term emissions reduction goals while bolstering our economy. In order to be most effective, such legislation must put a price on global warming pollution while simultaneously overcoming market barriers to investment in both energy efficiency investment and clean energy innovation. (To learn why E2 and NRDC prefer a carbon cap over a carbon tax, read CMI Finance Advisor Andy Stevenson’s January 20 blog
on the issue.)
Over time, as the carbon cap ratchets down, the price on carbon allowances will trend upward to mop up smaller and more intractable emissions sources. This implies a relatively stable long-term revenue stream, in the range of roughly $150-$200 billion per year, for new energy economy incentives, consumer dividends (e.g. income tax reductions), international priorities and debt reduction. Allocating this revenue well is the key to meeting our climate challenges while growing our economy.
Building on the U.S. Climate Action Partnership
’s January 2009 Blueprint for Legislative Action
, NRDC’s Cap 2.0 project addresses this question directly, by offering detailed recommendations for designing a smoothly functioning carbon market and investing carbon allowance revenue productively. These policy briefs
are posted online, with more coming in the next couple of weeks (including a briefing paper that futher discusses the comparisons between a carbon cap and a carbon tax).
In addition to defining effective climate legislation, the other main focus of Cap 2.0 is to model the impact of an emissions cap on the economy. The modeling effort will include sensitivity runs to determine how costs change when key parameters vary, such as the balance between investing in clean technology incentives versus distributing dividend allowance revenue back to consumers. Starting a few months ago, and continuing through the summer, NRDC’s Cap 2.0 is utilizing two separate energy system models (Department of Energy’s NEMS and the International Energy Agency’s MARKAL), which each have different architectures and thus will yield different insights into the impact.
Through this modeling effort, Cap 2.0 will be assessing the deployment potential for all key technologies, such as residential and commercial efficiency, solar and wind energy, and carbon capture and storage technology. The analysis will yield a series of sector summaries synthesizing the results of the modeling runs. In addition, follow-on macroeconomic analyses will be conducted, including such metrics as an assessment of national and state-by-state jobs impacts, oil imports to the U.S., GDP, and energy prices. Furthermore, Cap 2.0 will also study the impact on low-income families and other important stakeholders, as well as options to mitigate any adverse effects on such groups. Preliminary results from the first model will be available at the end of March or beginning of April, and they will likewise be posted on the Cap 2.0 website
Once the policy briefs have been finalized in the coming weeks, and as modeling results come in over the next several months, an essential element of Cap 2.0 will be communicating those policy recommendations and the accompanying modeling results in order to add to the momentum for smart federal carbon cap legislation. Demonstrating to battleground states that climate legislation will be a good thing for them, and thereby changing the tide of opinion in favor of action instead of the status quo, will be critical. E2 will have a strategic role to play in articulating business support for these key policies through direct advocacy, blogging and op-eds, and through our national radio interview project which is reaching both constituents and legislators in those battleground states.
CMI Director Rick Duke will be providing briefings on the Cap 2.0 project in person in New York on February 3, and via national TeleSalon on February 18 (check our Events calendar
). E2 members are encouraged to attend and/or dial in to learn more about Cap 2.0. Rick will also lead briefings on the results of the modeling efforts shortly after they become available in late March/early April.
E2 thanks Jacqueline Wong of CMI for her research for and preparation of this article. We, again, encourage you to check the Cap 2.0 project website
frequently for updates and new policy briefs.
On January 26, President Barack Obama issued a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks, and the Transportation Department to begin drawing up rules imposing higher fuel-economy standards on cars and light trucks. California’s "clean cars" bill (AB 1493
), which would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles, was signed into law in July 2002. NRDC helped draft the language of the bill and E2 advocated its passage
. Twenty other states have either formally adopted the California regulations or are in the process of doing so. Despite the clear benefits of the standards, California and other states are prevented from enforcing them because the EPA refused
in December 2007 to grant a waiver from federal statute and thereby allow the more stringent tailpipe emissions standards to take effect. California and other states have taken the federal government to court to overturn the denial of that waiver.
Thanks to the great work of the E2 Climate Campaign (Bob Epstein and Diane Doucette), E2 received funding from the Hewlett Foundation to expand its business network in the Central Valley. On December 17, the E2 Climate Campaign traveled to the Central Valley with E2 member Rick Degolia and E2 Staff Christine Luong to kick-off the new Central Valley effort which will be focused on building more business support in the valley for clean energy policies. Craig Scharton, CEO of the Central Valley Business Incubator, organized a series of presentations from several Central Valley clean energy entrepreneurs for our trip. We met with business leaders throughout the day and had a very inspiring dinner session with John Bellizzi, Morgan Stanley; Philip Erro, Owner, Erro Farms; Brady Matoian, General Manager, OK Produce; Craig Scharton, CEO, Central Valley Business Incubator; John S. Shegerian, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Electronic Recyclers International, Inc.; Laura Fultz Stout, San Joaquin Valley Campaign and Outreach Associate, Coalition for Clean Air; and Mark Stout, Director of Renewable Technology Planning, Cleantech America, Inc.
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|E2 member John Shegerian at his new Electronics Recyclers International, Inc., facility in Fresno. || |
Earlier that day, E2’s first member in the Central Valley, John Shegerian, opened a brand new, 125,440-square-foot Electronic Recyclers International, Inc. (ERI), electronic waste recycling facility in Fresno. E2 had the opportunity to tour the new plant, which boasts the largest electronic waste shredder in North America. The new shredder can handle over 15,000 pounds of e-waste hourly. The seven-foot-wide and six-foot-long throat is capable of handling batch-fed consumer and commercial electronics scrap. John also announced a partnership with Brady Matoian of OK Produce to reduce the number of empty trucks on the road. When OK Produce trucks leave Fresno with produce deliveries, they will return with electronic waste for ERI. E2 commends members and friends like John and Brady for their entrepreneurial approach to resource management and efficiency.
If you are interested in learning more about or supporting our California Central Valley efforts, please contact Christine Luong, E2 Program Manager, at email@example.com
or (415) 875-6100.
The Rocky Mountains Chapter welcomes new members Cameron Brooks, Tim Connor, Dan Friedlander, Clark Gates, Jon Gordon and Eric Kloor. With 25 outstanding members representing the business voice of the Rocky Mountains, and new representation at the state and federal levels, we are positioned for a successful start to our state-level advocacy.
E2 Rocky Mountains is currently scheduling meetings with Colorado state legislators, as well as legislators representing Colorado at the federal level, to begin building relationships, raise awareness of our network and our unique voice, and develop a mutual awareness of Colorado environmental policy and politics. E2 members are invited to attend these meetings. If you are interested, please contact Chapter Leader Andrew Currie at (303) 448-1951.
On February 11, E2 Rocky Mountains will hold an EcoSalon, "Moving Toward a New Energy Economy," in Denver, for E2 members only. This special event will feature Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Senior Attorney at NRDC and one of Time Magazine
’s "Heroes for the Planet," and Ned Farquhar, Senior Policy Advocate for Energy at NRDC. If you are interested in attending this EcoSalon, but are not yet a member of E2, please call Andrew Currie at (303) 448-1951.
We are looking forward to working with all E2 members and friends to build our membership and advocacy efforts in Colorado. If you are interested in getting involved with E2 at a greater level, please contact E2RockyMountains@gmail.com
or (303) 902-4525.
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| ||NRDC Legislative Director Karen Wayland (second from left) with E2 New England Chapter Leaders (from left) Dan Goldman, Berl Hartman, Dave Miller and Don Reed. |
On January 14, E2 New England members and guests enjoyed a lunch discussion, "The Future of Climate and Energy Policy," with NRDC Legislative Director, Karen Wayland. According to Karen, the Obama transition was considered one of the smoothest transitions in history. Over the past months, NRDC has had a tremendous opportunity to share recommendations with President Obama’s transition team. Several new cabinet members, and those still in the nominee phase, are considered to be a "Green Dream Team," headlined by the appointment to Secretary of State of Hillary Clinton, who emphasized energy security as a main priority during her confirmation hearing. In the Senate, the Environmental Public Works Committee is now comprised of a strongly environment-friendly group.
There are some potential obstacles. It will be imperative that essential climate and energy bills pass with significant bipartisan backing to ensure lasting support to avoid the risk of a backlash during the 2010 elections. Also, the Democratic fiscal conservative caucus - known as the Blue Dogs - threatens to be critical of any environmental and/or stimulus package that involves significant spending without offsetting costs with cuts in programs or increased revenue.
The energy bill will be the new Administration’s second priority after an economic recovery package, which raises the question of whether there is sufficient time and bandwidth to complete both an energy and climate bill this year. The Administration believes they can do both. The economic recovery package will be the largest fiscal package in world history, with approximately $100 billion devoted to energy, including transportation (batteries, fueling infrastructure, advanced vehicle technology), electricity grid (reward states utilizing smart grid strategies) and renewables.
In addition to climate and energy bills, NRDC will also be focusing on the transportation bill, scheduled for renewal this year, because of the significant role transportation plays on climate change.
E2 gratefully thanks Nixon Peabody for generously hosting this event.
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|Cavallo Point, Marin County, California || |
On January 8, more than 100 E2 members and guests gathered at historic Cavallo Point in Marin County for an E2 Northern California EcoSalon, "Fighting Global Warming Through Smart Growth: A New California Model." The event featured The Honorable Mark DeSaulnier, California State Senator (D-Antioch) and co-author of Senate Bill 375 - California’s smart growth bill - the nation’s first law to control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl; Peter Calthorpe, Principal at the urban design, planning and architectural firm Calthorpe Associates, and leader in the field of urban revitalization, suburban renewal and sustainable regional planning; and Daniel Tishman, Chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction Corp., Chairman of the Board of NRDC, and Construction Manager for Freedom Tower at New York City’s 1 World Trade Center, which is seeking LEED
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| ||From left: California Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Peter Calthorpe and Daniel Tishman |
All three speakers recognize that no global warming solution is complete without strategies to reduce emissions from both the transportation sector and buildings. The silver lining of the current housing crisis is the unprecedented opportunity to step back and reassess the way we build our communities, and to actively insert public transit as an incentive - or even a mandate - into development plans in regions big and small. Additionally, the wild swings in energy prices over the past year emphasize the need for buildings - which consume 39 percent
of energy in the U.S. - to become more energy-efficient. Both transportation and buildings can, if planned and built with environmental sustainability in mind, contribute to significant reductions in vehicle miles traveled, fossil fuel use, and unnecessary expenditures on roads, sewers, power lines and other infrastructure - ultimately saving taxpayers billions of dollars. E2 supported the 2008 passage of SB 375
, the main provisions of which include making reductions in global warming emissions an explicit factor in regional land use planning, aligning transportation funding to support smart growth and linking land use decisions and transportation planning across the state in a single, regional-scale and comprehensive process. Additionally, NRDC has recently launched a new smart growth mini-website
as well as a series of before-and-after photo slideshows of communities that have been revitalized
by redevelopment driven by smart growth principles.
E2 thanks Mike Freed for hosting us at Cavallo Point Lodge and Dave Sorokowsky of Toasted Head Winery for donating wine for the evening. E2 members interested in helping NRDC and E2 bring smart land use planning legislation to the federal level and/or other states can contact E2 Manager Christine Luong at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (415) 875-6100.
In a January 21 blog article, NRDC’s Director of Communications Phil Gutis writes about what he learns about energy efficiency from E2 New England member Stephen Cowell. Steve’s Massachusetts firm, Conservation Services Group, has long been a national leader on energy efficiency and, according to NRDC Energy Program Director Ashok Gupta, "is one of the best at delivering energy efficiency, especially in the affordable housing sector." The blog describes how economic stability, energy policies and energy efficiency are all related, and what steps can be taken at home to save energy. Click to read the full blog
. For more about Steve and his views on energy efficiency, read his Huffington Post article
from December 2008.
On January 15, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership
(USCAP) unveiled a detailed roadmap for the development of national climate legislation that would serve to tackle the formidable challenges of a warming globe and a sagging economy at the same time. The landmark document, A Blueprint for Legislative Action
, represents two years of analysis and consensus-building on the part of 26 corporations and five environmental organizations. Echoing the sense of urgency that President Obama has expressed for a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, the recommendations detail steps to achieve an economy-wide cap-and-trade program, coupled with cost-containment measures and complementary policies to stimulate technology research and deployment in the areas of coal, transportation, and building and energy efficiency. NRDC President Frances Beinecke played a major role in the shaping of this important effort.
After years of litigation with the U.S. Navy due to its refusal to undertake environmental impact statements (EIS) for sonar training exercises, NRDC announced on December 27 that a compromise was achieved that will commit the Navy to follow a schedule of full environmental reviews associated with major training exercises around the world. In addition, previously classified information regarding the use of mid-frequency sonar use will be disclosed and a process for negotiating future disagreements will be followed in attempt to avoid further litigation. The Navy, which acknowledges that sonar can be deadly to whales and other organisms, has agreed to fund nearly $15 million in new research to benefit marine mammals. The settlement does not address mitigation measures or training limitations at stake in Winter v NRDC
, recently decided
by the U.S. Supreme Court. Joel Reynolds, Senior Attorney, directs NRDC’s Marine Mammal Program and continues to play a lead role in marine sonar litigation.
The Cape Wind Project, a first-of-its-kind offshore wind energy facility of utility scale, got the green light on January 16 when it completed its last stage of environmental review, and can now set out to power thousands of homes in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed 130-turbine project in Nantucket Sound and concluded that the environmental benefits will outweigh any negative impacts. Cape Cod will draw 75 percent of its power from this project, which will also highlight the economic effectiveness of investing in clean, domestic and renewable energy at a time when both jobs and energy security are high national priorities. See E2’s support letter
from May 2008. NRDC’s Nathaniel Greene, Senior Energy Policy Specialist, will continue to help this project progress while keeping ocean impacts to a minimum.
A January 18 decision in Federal Court will save more than 110,000 acres of Utah wilderness from damage by oil and gas production. By granting a temporary restraining order preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from going forward with the sale of controversial auctioned land leases, a U.S. District Court judge sided with a coalition of conservation groups, of which NRDC is a part, contending that irreparable harm to public lands and the environment outweigh the need to develop the energy resources in the contested areas. Hastily approved resource management plans in the final days of the Bush administration made 3 million acres of public lands, including pristine wilderness adjacent to National Parks throughout Utah, available to the highest bidder. Last month, NRDC and ally organizations intervened and earned a last-minute delay of the leases, allowing the court to fully consider the consequences of the sale of the lands. Sharon Buccino, Senior Attorney in NRDC’s Lands Program, will continue to play a leading role as the merits of the case are heard later in 2009.
NRDC’s new web feature, Picturing Smart Growth
, demonstrates through lifelike illustrations how communities ripe for transformative change can grow and develop while saving open spaces, revitalizing neighborhoods and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NRDC teamed up with Urban Advantage
to map 70 locations across the country that represent a cross-section of American geography as well as a diversity of existing site types and envisioned smart growth characteristics. For each location, a slide show details how the site can be converted, step-by-step, from sprawl, vacant property or disinvestment into a lively, beautiful neighborhood using improvements to walkability, public transportation, public safety and infill development. To see the visualizations, open the map
, zoom in on a location and, without leaving NRDC’s website, get a Google Maps satellite view of the existing site and some context about the metro area. Featured scenarios
show how simple changes like sidewalks, shade trees and streetlamps turn an unappealing residential road into a pedestrian-friendly, safer neighborhood. NRDC Smart Growth Director, Kaid Benfield, provides a detailed overview of Picturing Smart Growth on his blog (see "Visions for Transforming America
" and "Inside NRDC’s new smart growth web feature
"), where he writes daily about community, development and the environment.
As George W. Bush’s presidency came to a close this month, new analysis of his administration’s environmental record confirms what many predicted: America’s environment suffered one of its worst periods in history over the last eight years. During the final weeks of Bush in office, NRDC experts culled through countless policies and actions taken by the government and created a dynamic timeline
that highlights a systematic undermining of environmental protections. Abuses of the air, land, water, public health and climate demonstrate willful neglect of important safeguards for both the planet and its people.