Monthly Archives: September 2009

PG&E Leaves the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over Climate

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been one of the loudest opponents of the American Clean Energy and Security Act — in spite of the objections of some of its members. Now one of those members has decided the rift is too big to ignore. PG&E just announced that it has dropped out of the Chamber because of “fundamental differences” over climate change.

According to a PG&E blog:

  • In a letter, PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee criticized the Chamber for taking an extreme position on climate change, which Darbee said does not represent the range of views among Chamber members.
  • Darbee took the Chamber to task for its recent demand that there be a “Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” to challenge the science on climate change.
  • Darbee said, “We find it dismaying that the Chamber neglects the indisputable fact that a decisive majority of experts have said the data on global warming are compelling and point to a threat that cannot be ignored.”

Other companies, including Nike and Johnson & Johnson, have also criticized the Chamber for its reactionary stance on climate change.

PG&E, like EDF, is a member of USCAP — a group of corporations and environmental advocacy groups that are supporting a cap on carbon pollution.

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

Polls: House Members Gained Strength by Supporting Climate Bill

After the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act in June, well-funded opposition groups went on the attack against members who voted for it.  In addition to negative TV ads, there was lots of well-publicized screaming at town hall meetings.  The conventional wisdom was that supporting the clean energy bill was a politically perilous move.

We decided to find out if that was true, and asked Hart Research to conduct some polls.

We picked three members of Congress who voted for the bill and would, according to the theory, be most likely to be hurt by the vote:  Rep. Heath Shuler,  a conservative “Blue Dog” from North Carolina; Rep. Baron Hill, a coal state moderate from southern Indiana; and Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, a freshman member who had the closest race in the nation in 2008.  All three are from districts won by John McCain.

The results?

All three are politically stronger for having supported the clean energy bill and its cap on carbon pollution.  By margins of 3:2 or greater, their constituents said they feel more favorably about their congressman because of his “yes” vote.  Apparently Americans like less imported oil, less pollution, and more clean energy jobs.

So, Senators take note: Clean Energy: 3, Scare Tactics: 0.

Here are more details on the polls [PPT].

Posted in Climate Change Legislation / Comments are closed

Yet Another CBO Study Shows Small Costs of Clean Energy Legislation

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released another report showing that the costs from clean energy legislation would be small – and could help America avoid the severe economic impacts of climate change.

The report, “The Economic Effects of Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions,” is based on other previous analysis.

Here are some of the CBO’s main findings:

  • Without policies to reduce carbon pollution, climate change will have negative and possibly severe economic impacts on the United States.
  • With legislation including a cap on carbon pollution, the cost to consumers will be modest, and in line with previous independent estimates.
  • Low-income families (the lowest 20 percent of households) would see purchasing power riseas a result of the House-passed clean energy bill, thanks to the allocation provisions. Higher income households would see a very small increase in costs.
  • The reduction in household purchasing power, taking into account compensation from the allocation provisions, would amount to 0.1-percent in 2012 and 0.8-percent in 2050, with an average of 0.4-percent over the period 2012-2050.
  • Nationally, the House legislation would reduce the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) — relative to the no-policy scenario —  by 0.2 to 0.7 percent in 2020; 0.4 to 1.1 percent in 2030; 0.7 to 2 percent in 2040; and 1.1 to 3.4 percent in 2050. At the same time, real GDP is projected to be roughly two and a half times greater in 2050 than today under either scenario. (Note that taking no action would also reduce GDP growth, perhaps to a much greater degree, because of the impacts of climate change.)
  • Annual U.S. economic growth between 2010 and 2050 would be reduced by 0.03 to 0.09 percentage points, relative to a business-as-usual growth rate of 2.4 percent. (Again, this “business as usual” estimate assumes a fictional world in which climate change does not occur.)

An earlier CBO analysis [PDF] of the House clean energy bill found it would cost the average American household about as much as a postage stamp per day. Other analyses by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy found similar results.

This is the fourth study to confirm the same conclusion (other ones: EPA [PDF], CBO [PDF], EIA, ) – America can afford to pass legislation that will make us more energy independent and will help fight climate change.

In fact, we can’t afford not to.

Posted in Economics / Comments are closed

Friedman: Solar Panel Boom Is Getting Away from U.S.

Today’s New York Times includes a fine column by Thomas Friedman, in which he explores the exploding solar panel industry. He finds to his dismay that it’s all overseas. He concludes, “So, if you like importing oil from Saudi Arabia, you’re going to love importing solar panels from China.”

We’ve been saying this for years, and it’s still true: The best way to create clean energy jobs right here in the U.S. is to cap global warming pollution. Here’s more on how a cap will create jobs.

Posted in What Others are Saying / Read 1 Response

Clean Energy Works: Broad coalition for a climate bill

There’s a lot of news about the clean energy bill now that Congress is back in session, but we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this announcement: EDF has joined dozens of other groups to create the Clean Energy Works Coalition.

The five dozen groups represent more than 12 million Americans from all walks of life — faith groups, veterans groups, sportsmen, business communities and youth groups as well as environmental advocates (see the entire list below). All of them are pushing for a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan that will deliver their priorities for our future — more jobs, less pollution, and greater national security

EDF is proud to be part of this unprecedented effort. Take a look at what people are saying:

We have a lot of activities planned for the next few weeks, and we’ll let you know about them as they unfold.

Clean Energy Works members:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) * American Federation of Teachers * American Hunters and Shooters * American Values Network * Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now * Audubon * Blue Green Alliance * Business Forward * Campus Progress * Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good * Catholics United * Center for American Progress Action Fund * CERES * Chesapeake Climate Action Network * Clean Economy Network * Clean Water Action * Climate Protection Action Fund * Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life * Communications Workers of America * Community Action Partnership * Defenders of Wildlife * Democracia Ahora * Earth Ministry * Earthjustice * Economics for Equity and the Environment * Environment America * Environmental Defense Fund * Faithful America * Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund * Green Faith * Green for All * Jewish Council for Public Affairs * Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) * League of Conservation Voters * League of Rural Voters * League of Women Voters * Live Earth * Marianist Environmental Education Center * My Rural America * NAACP * National Security Network * National Wildlife Federation * Natural Resources Defense Council * Ohio Interfaith Power and Light * Pew Environment Group * Progressive Future * Restoring Eden * Service Employees International Union * Sierra Club * Sierra Student Coalition * Southern Energy Network * SustainUS * The Regeneration Project * The Wilderness Society * Truman National Security Project * Union of Concerned Scientists * Union for Reform Judaism * United Steelworkers * US-CAN * Utility Workers Union of America * Veterans and Military Families for Progress * Veterans Green Jobs * VETPAC * Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy * Virginia Interfaith Power and Light * Virginia Organizing Project * VoteVets * Working America * World Wildlife Fund

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

More Fuzzy Math on the Costs of Climate Legislation

For those of you wondering what the story is with a Treasury Department document that purports to estimate the cost of climate legislation: it doesn’t.

The Treasury Department analysis simply quantifies the potential revenue from a hypothetical auction of all pollution permits under a cap and trade bill.

Opponents of climate change legislation are now firing up the fuzzy math machine again, dividing that figure by the number of people in the country and concluding that cap and trade will mean high costs for households. Sound familiar? That’s how House Minority Leader John Boehner arrived at his roundly dismissed $3,100 figure.

It’s a flawed analysis of a non-existent proposal.

Even if a 100 percent auction was a live legislative proposal, which it’s not, that math ignores the redistribution of revenue back to consumers. It only looks at one side of the balance sheet. It would only be true if you think the Administration was going to pile all the cash on the White House lawn and set it on fire.

The bill passed by the House sends the value of pollution permits to consumers, and it contains robust cost-containment provisions. Every credible and independent economic analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (such as those done by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency) says the costs will be small and affordable — and that the U.S. economy will grow with a cap on carbon.

For more info on what well-designed cap and trade legislation will actually cost, please visit

Posted in Economics / Read 1 Response