Category Archives: Climate Change Legislation

New EPA Guidance Will Help Companies, States Find Cost Savings under Greenhouse Gas Permits

Yesterday E.P.A. issued guidance documents for the greenhouse gas permitting which will begin for the largest new or modified emissions sources in January. The feedback so far from the environmental community has been overwhelmingly positive.

On the New York Times Green blog, there is a great article about the guidance and initial reactions from state and local governments, environmental and industry groups. Mark MacLeod, director of special projects at Environmental Defense Fund, had this to say about the EPA guidance documents:

“Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to reduce pollution and save money, particularly in the manufacturing sector…Today’s guidance will prepare companies for the permitting process and help them find ways to cut pollution while saving money for themselves and their customers.”

Coming next on Climate411…what the guidance means for bioenergy.

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy | Comments closed

New Poll Shows Americans are More Likely to Vote for Candidates Who Support Clean Energy Legislation

Yesterday NRDC Action Fund released a new poll showing, once again, that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of clean energy legislation. The NRDC Action Fund polled voters in 23 close Congressional races and found they were far more likely to vote for candidates who support clean energy legislation.

Heather Taylor-Miesle of NRDC explains:

“In fact, a majority of voters (almost 53% on average) in tight races around the country said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports a climate bill.”

For a compelling and detailed analysis of the polling data, please read Heather’s blog.

Also posted in News | 1 Response, comments now closed

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

The Consequences of Inaction on Climate Change

What a long, hard road it has been getting Congress to pass a strong climate and energy bill. I regret to say that the news is not especially good, though the door is not yet completely closed.

After weeks of intense negotiations among EDF and other environmental organizations, Senate leaders, the White House, and some sympathetic members of the utility industry, we are still several votes short of the 60 required to break a Senate filibuster.

Because of this, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will not take up a limit on global warming pollution before the August recess, though it "may" consider it in September.

With a crowded Congressional calendar, and time running out, this announcement is discouraging. Will the Senate decide to take any meaningful steps? Right now it's a long shot, but we'll continue to work doggedly for a good Congressional outcome.

Consequences of Climate Inaction

While the politics are uncertain, the science is not. The consequences of Senate inaction are real and serious.

To name a few:

The Crisis Isn't Going Away: 2010 is on pace to become the warmest year on record, following the warmest decade on record: 2000-2009. Glacial and polar ice continues to melt at astonishing rates, worsening the threat of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and threatening the supply of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Year by year and decade by decade, these and other very serious trends will get worse and worse with no end in sight.

Squandering the House-Passed Bill: To pass legislation, you need to move bills through both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has already cast a clear, solid vote on this. If the Senate fails to act now, all that hard work will have been wasted and we'll have to start from scratch next year with a new Congress likely to be less inclined to act responsibly.

Inaction Now Only Makes It Harder Later: Science, not politics, is ultimately in charge of this crisis. And the science is very clear. We must begin cutting our emissions now to avoid even more dramatic cuts later. A delay of two or three years only makes the necessary pollution cuts all the more severe and disruptive to our economy and way of life.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Senate inaction will have very serious consequences for our environment, our economy, and, ultimately, our entire civilization.

That's the message we will continue to deliver to Senate leaders and the White House. And we will continue to let you know how you can help us in August and September as we continue to push forward.

One other thing is clear: Whatever the Senate decides in the coming days and weeks, we aren't going anywhere.

Global warming is the most serious environmental threat facing the planet and will remain our top organizational priority, one which we will continue to take on in a variety of ways, including:

  • Promoting local and state actions;
  • Getting our national policies right;
  • Working directly with businesses to improve efficiency and cut emissions; and
  • Negotiating internationally for global pollution limits.

Wherever there is a serious effort to cut global warming pollution, we will be there, fighting for the strongest possible solution.

The hour is late and the window for Senate action this year is closing. But, whatever the future holds, we will continue to fight to prevent the catastrophic threat of run-away global warming.

What a long, hard road it has been getting Congress to pass a strong climate and energy bill.

As someone who has fought with us for landmark legislation, you deserve to know where things stand. I regret to say that the news is not especially good, though the door is not yet completely closed.

After weeks of intense negotiations among EDF and other environmental organizations, Senate Leaders, the White House, and some sympathetic members of the utility industry, we are still several votes short of the 60 required to break a Senate filibuster.

Because of this, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will not take up a limit on global warming pollution before the August recess, though it "may" consider it in September.

With a crowded Congressional calendar, and time running out, this announcement is discouraging. Will the Senate decide to take any meaningful steps? Right now it's a long shot, but we'll continue to work doggedly for a good Congressional outcome.

Consequences of Climate Inaction

While the politics are uncertain, the science is not. The consequences of Senate inaction are real and serious.

To name a few:

The Crisis Isn't Going Away: 2010 is on pace to become the warmest year on record, following the warmest decade on record: 2000-2009. Glacial and polar ice continues to melt at astonishing rates, worsening the threat of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and threatening the supply of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Year by year and decade by decade, these and other very serious trends will get worse and worse with no end in sight.

Squandering the House-Passed Bill: To pass legislation, you need to move bills through both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has already cast a clear, solid vote on this. If the Senate fails to act now, all that hard work will have been wasted and we'll have to start from scratch next year with a new Congress likely to be less inclined to act responsibly.

Inaction Now Only Makes It Harder Later: Science, not politics, is ultimately in charge of this crisis. And the science is very clear. We must begin cutting our emissions now to avoid even more dramatic cuts later. A delay of two or three years only makes the pollution cuts we need to reach needed reduction targets all the more severe and disruptive our economy and way of life.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Senate inaction will have very serious consequences for our environment, our economy, and, ultimately, our entire civilization.

That's the message we will continue to deliver to Senate leaders and the White House. And we will continue to let you know how you can help us in August and September as we continue to push forward.

One other thing is clear: Whatever the Senate decides in the coming days and weeks, we aren't going anywhere!

Global warming is the most serious environmental threat facing the planet and will remain our top organizational priority, one which we will continue to take on in a variety of ways, including:

  • Promoting local and state actions;
  • Getting our national policies right;
  • Working directly with businesses to improve efficiency and cut emissions; and
  • Negotiating internationally for global pollution limits.

Wherever there is a serious effort to cut global warming pollution, we will be there, fighting for the strongest possible solution.

The hour is late and the window for Senate action this year is closing. But, whatever the future holds, we will continue to fight to prevent the catastrophic threat of run-away global warming.

We will keep you fully posted on events as they develop.

Thank you for your continued activism and support,

Posted in Climate Change Legislation | 3 Responses, comments now closed

From the blogosphere: the latest on the climate bill

Not surprisingly, a number of blogs today talked about Senator Reid’s (D–Nev.) statement that he’ll move forward with a somewhat scaled-back energy bill. The legislation is slated to include a response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and energy efficiency incentives, but omit a carbon cap or many of the broader climate change measures that were part of the House version of the bill. For the state of play, CleanTechies includes a helpful bulleted list of “highlights of legislation introduced in the Senate that may contribute language to the final package.”

The Vine questions the political strategy of splitting a response to the oil spill from a broader energy and climate bill while acknowledging that an oil spill response is far more likely to receive the bipartisan support necessary for passage. Post Partisan regrets that the Senate is passing on what it calls “the most efficient policy available – placing a price on carbon.” On Firedoglake, David Dayen says the oil spill response must move, irrespective of the fate of the larger climate and energy bill.

Also posted in News | Comments closed

July 20th, 2010 – The voices of a new clean energy future

In its editorial, “Energy savings and the climate and energy bill,” The Keene Sentinel starts with discussion of local efforts to cut energy use in government buildings but stresses that these alone aren’t enough, pivoting onto a discussion of the climate bill. The piece is particularly interesting in that in targets Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), whose support could be vital to the bill’s success:

[Gregg is] done with campaigning now — this is his last summer in the Senate — and he should feel comfortable in his coloration, and join the majority in support of the bill. In recent years, advances have been made in the energy and climate arenas; he can help assure more such advances by backing the bill.

The Voices of a New Clean Energy Future is a series from individuals who understand the importance of passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation – business leaders, politicians, policy experts, and concerned citizens like you. EDF is proud to highlight their voices and contributions to the climate and energy debate.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation | Comments closed

From the blogosphere: new green jobs, a proposal on low carbon fuel standards, and VoteVets supports clean energy legislation

Treehugger and CleanTechnica both wrote on the new Council on Economic Advisors report finding that nearly 1 million new jobs were created by the stimulus bill, and “one of the areas where Recovery Act funds are stimulating the most private investment is the clean energy sector.”

In response to reports that senators are considering adding a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) into the pending climate and energy bill, Michael Levi blogged about what impact this might have on the legislation, potential obstacles and opportunities. While he lauds the goal of reducing emissions, he recommends adding a price ceiling on the tradable permits refiners, blenders, and importers would be required to hold.

Grist posted the new ad from VoteVets, in which Brigadier Gen. Steven Anderson, “who served under Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq, calls clean energy legislation not only a military priority, but an American mission.”

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, News, Policy | Comments closed

The Evidence Continues to Pile Up: Climate Legislation is Affordable. The Time to Cap Carbon is Now.

As the debate on climate legislation gears up in the Senate, evidence continues to accumulate that a climate bill will be affordable and provide a much-needed boost to our economy.

A new analysis released by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the comprehensive climate and energy legislation introduced by Senators Kerry and Lieberman (the American Power Act or APA), confirmed that under the bill, the American economy would continue to grow robustly, and the cost to households would be minimal.  Here are the facts:

  • Under climate policy, U.S. GDP would grow by a third over the period 2008-2020, and would nearly double by 2035. A “business as usual” scenario with no climate policy would add only a tiny fraction to output — just two-tenths of a percent (0.2%) in total over the next two decades.  To put this in perspective, GDP is projected to reach $27.8 trillion by New Year’s Day 2035 under business as usual; under climate policy, it will get there by the middle of February.
  • Under climate policy, U.S. employment is projected to grow 8% by 2020 and 22% by 2035, relative to 2008.
  • The estimated cost to the average American household is $167 in the year 2020 (in 2009 dollars) – less than six dollars a month per person.  (The EIA also reports an annualized figure of $206 over the entire period.)
  • Estimated electricity prices would be only 4% higher in 2020 under the policy than they would be without it.
  • Allowance prices in 2020 and 2030 are even lower than EIA projected under the House-passed climate legislation (HR2454).

The EIA’s analysis also points out that the vast majority of reductions would come from the electric power sector.  That’s relevant to current debates, as the Senate is currently considering a scaled-down version of the cap included in APA that would only cover the power sector.  Under such a policy, allowance prices would be lower — making household costs and other economic impacts even smaller.

All of EIA’s projections are consistent with an array of estimates from the most credible analyses available, in particular, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  EPA’s estimates for the cost to the average American household are comparable to EIA’s (amounting to just a few dollars a month for the average individual American).  And just last week, CBO reported that APA would reduce future deficits by approximately $19 billion over the next decade.  It also estimated even lower allowance prices under APA than under HR2454, which CBO also projected would cost the average American just a few dollars a month by the year 2020.

That is a small investment in a clean energy economy that will create jobs, reduce pollution and increase America’s energy security.  And it’s always important to remember that all of these analyses only look at one side of the ledger – they do not take into account the huge costs of inaction on climate change.

Studies like those from EIA, EPA, and CBO confirm that we can readily afford a comprehensive climate and energy bill that would boost our economy, reduce our dependence on imported oil and help avert dangerous climate change.  There is no more time to waste – the Senate needs to pass a cap on carbon now.

Also posted in Economics, News, Policy | Comments closed

Climate legislation highlights from the blogosphere

In his online journal, Al Gore stressed his support for the American Power Act and its potential to reduce the deficit. Treehugger’s support was less enthusiastic although they still regard it as a step in the right direction.

The Center for American Progress highlights the green job creation and economic stimulus potential of the climate bill. The piece points especially to provisions that “target jobs toward construction workers, women, and people of color, while also supporting job training programs, educational grants, and investments in clean energy technologies.”

Also posted in Policy | Comments closed

July 19th, 2010 – The voices of a new clean energy future

Norwich Bulletin- “Our view: Energy bill deserves bipartisan support”

“Cap-and-trade has come to take on a negative connotation. It shouldn’t. Connecticut, along with the other New England states, has been actively involved in the sale of emission allowances for several years — successfully, and profitably.” 

“Essentially, we get cleaner air, less harmful pollutants damaging the environment, less dependency on fossil fuels, more jobs created through emerging alternative energy programs, less debt passed on to future generations and ultimately, cheaper energy.”

The Huffington Post- “Time to Unleash American Innovation on Energy and Climate Change”

By Lowell Feld, Communications manager of NRDC Action Fund

“We need to start now, with comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation. We need to encourage the transition from a fossil-fuel, carbon-based energy economy to one powered by energy efficiency, solar, wind, and possibly even cutting-edge new technologies like microalgae-to-oil plants.”

“The potential for multiple, simultaneous "wins" – on national security, environment, jobs, the economy, the trade deficit, etc. – is clearly there. The only real question is, what are we waiting for to seize that potential?”

 The Voices of a New Clean Energy Future is a series from individuals who understand the importance of passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation – business leaders, politicians, policy experts, and concerned citizens like you. EDF is proud to highlight their voices and contributions to the climate and energy debate.

Also posted in News, Policy | Comments closed
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