Author Archives: Sharyn Stein

Reflections from the Leader of our National Climate Campaign

This week, Steve Cochran took a moment to share his thoughts on the recent developments in the Senate with EDF supporters and activists.

He discusses some of the frustrations and some of the challenges ahead, such as protecting California's climate change law from a hostile ballot initiative in November's election.

He also looks at bright spots, such as the growing support for climate action within the business community. He closes by putting this moment in a historical context:

"You know, I read history and I’m getting old enough to have lived some of it, and the hard truth is that nothing, almost nothing important — and certainly nothing big — is ever easy to do. It just isn’t.

… But, when you do begin to turn the corner, things often happen much more quickly than you think."

It's heartening to see all the comments from people who share Steve's dedication and determination to keep working toward solutions.

See the full Q-and-A session with Steve here.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation | Comments closed

A Cap on Carbon is a Private Sector Stimulus Bill

About one million new jobs in the clean energy field have been created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill. That’s according the latest report from the Council of Economic Advisers.

That's good news for the clean energy economy, and for those Americans who are looking for work. But we can't rely on tax dollars to finance growth indefinitely. The stimulus bill is a jump start, not a long-term fix.

We need to harness the power of private sector investment if we hope to see long-term growth and job creation. And the best way to do that is through a clean energy bill with a limit on carbon pollution.

That’s what EDF’s president Fred Krupp says in today’s column by New York Times writer Tom Friedman:

As Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense Fund, notes: U.S. utility companies today “are sitting on billions of dollars in job-creating capital — but they will not invest in new energy projects until they have certainty on what their future carbon obligations will be. In just one state, Indiana, there are 25 power plants 50 years old or older. The fleet needs to be modernized, and Senate paralysis is keeping it from happening. A recent study from the Peterson Institute projects annual investment in the sector in the next 10 years would rise by 50 percent as a result of climate legislation — an increase of nearly $11 billion a year.”

That’s new employment from a private sector stimulus.

Political analyst Joe Lockhart is saying almost the same thing. Lockhart is quoted in the Atlantic’s blog in a piece, Cap-and-Trade: The Next Best Stimulus?

We're rapidly approaching the end-date of our near-term economic solutions – and it's not clear that we have a policy to get private dollars moving again once those solutions end. That makes movement on a utility-first cap on carbon emissions essential.

The bottom line: If we pass a climate and clean energy bill with a carbon cap, we’ll create jobs without increasing deficit spending.

Posted in Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News | Comments closed

Strong Climate Policy is Also Smart Water Policy for the West

This post is by Dan Grossman, EDF's Rocky Mountain Regional Director.

You turn on a tap, and water pours out.  You decide on the temperature – hot  or cold.  You decide on the speed – fast or slow.  This is not a luxury, just an activity of daily living.

In Boulder, we are studying how to keep that water flowing in the future  –  and we're paying close attention to federal clean energy and climate legislation because it can protect water in Western states.

A new report documents more evidence that clean energy and climate policy is also smart policy for water management in the West.

The link between energy, climate and water is not new, but droughts are now a daily reminder of the urgency to connect the dots with federal policy.

The report's release coincides with the U.S. Senate's return to Washington to take up energy and climate legislation this week.

Clean energy sources emit fewer greenhouse gas pollutants and save water, which means more water for Western cities, agriculture, businesses and recreation.   National climate policy will add weight to the worthy measures that westerners are already pursuing.

Repeat after me: clean energy and climate policy is smart water policy.  Now pass that message along to everyone you know.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News, Policy | 1 Response, comments now closed

EPA Analysis Confirms American Power Act is Very Affordable for All Americans

An analysis released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week confirms that a comprehensive solution to our dependence on oil is affordable and within reach, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

EPA analyzed the American Power Act, a comprehensive energy and climate bill sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). EPA's findings show that the American Power Act's objectives can be achieved for a few dollars a month for the average American. That's a small investment in a clean energy economy that will create jobs, reduce pollution and increase America's energy security.

"This new analysis is the latest in a series of studies confirming that we can readily afford a comprehensive climate and energy bill that would boost our economy, reduce our dependence on imported oil and help solve climate change," said Nat Keohane, EDF's Director of Economic Policy and Analysis.

EPA's new analysis shows that the clean energy development in the American Power Act can be met for $79 to $146 per year per household, amounting to three to five dollars a month for the average individual American. The cost will be even lower at first; EPA projects that key provisions, including those for energy efficiency improvements, will lead to lower household energy bills over the next two decades.

Those families expected to be most affected by price changes will receive extra compensation under the American Power Act, so they'll have an extra layer of protection. The EPA analysis also confirms that the carbon limits in the legislation will help to prevent dangerous climate change, a key environmental objective.

Like most economic modeling, EPA's estimates look at only one side of the ledger, which means they do not take into account the huge costs of inaction. Factoring in the costs of unchecked climate change and continued oil dependence only reinforces the economic case for action.

"The BP oil disaster in the Gulf is a stark reminder of the high costs of relying on oil," said Keohane.

"We need a comprehensive approach to energy and climate legislation that sparks technological innovation and spurs a new generation of cleaner, homegrown energy sources. Today's EPA analysis confirms just how affordable a comprehensive approach will be. The investments we make will put this country onto a new clean energy path, ensuring a cleaner and more secure future for our children and grandchildren."

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Economics, Jobs, News, Policy | 1 Response, comments now closed

EPA Proposes New Rules for Reporting Methane Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules for reporting greenhouse gas emission, including some that would require the oil and gas industry to collect data on its emissions by this coming January.

One of the public benefits of the new rules would be more disclosure about methane emissions.  Methane has a warming potential 24 times that of carbon dioxide.

EDF attorney Pamela Campos says:

Rigorous emissions data is the foundation of well-designed public policy … The public has been left in the dark about methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. EPA's leadership in requiring disclosure of this potent greenhouse gas will mean more rigorous information and smarter policies to address pollution.

Read more from EPA here, and EDF's reaction here.

Posted in News | 1 Response, comments now closed

Weyerhaeuser Joins USCAP

The USCAP family has grown again.

Weyerhaeuser, one of the world's biggest timber and paper products companies, announced today that it has joined the United States Climate Action Partnership.

That brings USCAP's membership to 29 companies and NGO's. The widely diverse members have all banded together to support passage of strong climate and clean energy legislation in Congress.

Weyerhaeuser joins such "strange bedfellows" as Shell Oil, Duke Energy, PepsiCo, General Electric, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy– and, of course, EDF.

In a statement, Weyerhaeuser CEO Dan Fulton said:

The role of forest fiber in a low carbon economy will depend on the public policy concepts under debate in Washington, D.C. … we believe our membership [in USCAP] will help positively position sustainable forestry, biomass and forest products in these important policy discussions.

EDF is always happy to welcome another ally in the fight for a strong climate policy. We don't always agree with Weyerhaeuser — or the other USCAP companies — on every issue. But the fact that such divergent voices all agree on this issue underscores how vital a climate bill is to our entire economy.

More details are in the New York Times and The Hill.

Posted in News | 1 Response, comments now closed

Can the U.S. Compete with China? Fred Krupp Says "Yes"

China's growing economic power is a growing concern for many Americans. Can the U.S. continue to compete with China in the global marketplace?

In a new piece for Reuters, EDF President Fred Krupp says "yes" — through the power of comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

Fred talks about the new "tripartisan" effort to pass a climate and clean energy bill in the U.S. Senate.

He also talks about how that effort is our best hope to beat China in the world's clean energy markets — and win the jobs those markets create:

Along with Sens. Graham, Kerry, and Lieberman, I believe we can match the scale of China’s centralized industrial policy by fully deploying the engine of American prosperity: our marketplace. It is the only tool we have with the scale and capital to compete with China. If the U.S. puts a limit on carbon pollution, we will send a clear signal to the marketplace that will unleash a massive wave of private investment in low-carbon energy sources and technologies like carbon capture and storage that would allow us to compete with the Chinese. Only when American policy creates a profit motive for investors, inventors and entrepreneurs, will we have a chance to win the race.

You can read the full piece here.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News, Policy | 5 Responses, comments now closed

Hall of Fame Goalie Mike Richter Calls for Action on Climate Change

A new voice has joined the chorus demanding action on climate change — one that will be familiar to any winter sports fans reading this.

Hockey legend Mike Richter says he worries that future generations of children won't be able to skate on frozen ponds the way he did when he was young.

The Hall of Fame goalie, who led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup victory in 1994 and helped the U.S. Olympic team win a silver medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, just wrote an op ed about climate change that ran in the Buffalo News, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Juneau Empire, among other papers.

In it, he says:

I wish we could turn back the clock. I want my boy's generation to enjoy the same rich opportunities as I had. I worry for the future of the game that I love. I worry for the future of our economy, our national security and our planet.

Richter, who has spoken out about other environmental issues in the past, has also talked about climate change in radio interviews he did during this year's Winter Olympics. You can hear some of his comments on Philadelphia's WPEN radio.

Richter was also a guest speaker at a recent Business Advocacy Day, when 200 small business leaders from around the country came to Washington to lobby for a strong clean energy and climate bill. Check out this picture of Richter talking to the audience of business pioneers (and EDF staffers who worked on the event).

Posted in Partners for Change, What Others are Saying | Comments closed

Help EDAF Get 100,000 Letters for Climate Action

If we want to fight climate change, improve our national security, boost our economy and create jobs, then we need the Senate to pass a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill — and do it soon.

That's why EDAF has launched a campaign to get 100,000 letters for climate action.

One of our interns returning from a trip to the mailroom.

One of our interns returning from a trip to the mailroom.

We want to make sure your Senator knows that a climate bill is a priority for you. So we're collecting your letters and carrying them to Capitol Hill.

Our goal is 100,000 letters from across America. The good news is that we've already got 87,000. But we need your help to put us over the top.

Check out our web site for more details, updates, and tips to make writing easier. Then send us a letter, and spread the word to your friends and fellow climate action supporters.  (If we get more than 100,000 letters, that's even better! We'll keep delivering them as long as you keep sending them).

Posted in News | 5 Responses, comments now closed

Weather and Climate in the Face of the "Snowpocalypse"

While Washington was buried under several feet of snow, we all needed some entertainment. Fortunately, leaders of the anti-science movement were happy to provide it.  Sen. DeMint (R-SC) said: "It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries 'uncle,'" while Sen Inhofe (R-OK) built an igloo dubbed "Al Gore's New Home." Sean Hannity reported "it's the most severe winter storm in years, which would seem to contradict Al Gore's hysterical global warming theories."

I suppose it doesn't matter to them that the National Academy of Science and all major scientific organizations who have studied the question have concluded that pollution is causing changes to our climate.  Or that there is some evidence that climate change could make blizzards like this more common, even as the world continues to warm. According to TIME:

"Hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall."

One day's weather does not define our climate. It's one slide in the filmstrip — meaningful when strung together, but relatively uninformative on its own. (See our previous post on this.) That is why it is so important to follow the scientists unearthing past weather, recording present weather and modeling future weather — a theme The Colbert Report and the Daily Show picked up in their shows last week.

Unfortunately, some people are attempting to exploit the recent snow to mislead the public about a carbon cap. There's an ad attacking Congressmen Boucher (D-VA) and Perriello (D-VA) for voting for the House climate bill. Far from "kill[ing] tens of thousands of Virginia jobs," this bill would bolster the Virginian and American economies. LessCarbonMoreJobs.org shows just shy of 100 Virginian companies — already employing over 16,000 — are poised to grow under a carbon cap. That's just one snapshot of the United States could achieve with climate legislation.

Posted in News | 1 Response, comments now closed
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