Monthly Archives: November 2009

Help Give World Leaders 10,000 Reasons to Act on Climate

FB discWhat would you like to tell the world’s leaders about global warming?

With the focus now on the Copenhagen climate conference, this is your chance to speak out. Go to our Facebook page and add your voice to our 10,000 Reasons to Support Strong Climate Action campaign. We will share these reasons with key members of Congress and with the White House.

Here are just a handful of the more than 650 reasons offered so far:

Deborah Beracha of Fort Lauderdale, Fla, wrote:

Let’s all join together. Global warming has to be taken seriously. Leaders need to stand up and limit global warming emissions and they need to do it now.

Ken Weitzman of Bloomington, IN, wrote:

As a father, I want to be able to answer two questions my children will one day ask:
1) Did you know?
Then, after I answer “yes”…

2) So what did you do?

Jeff Riney of Asheville, N.C., wrote:

If anything we need to do this for our kids! I dread the day that my daughter says, “thanks for the mess you left us Dad!”

Gabe Schirm of northern Colorado wrote:

The technology, the science and the will are here now. We have the solutions. We just need our leaders to do the right thing. Not later, but now.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, International / Read 14 Responses

Fred Krupp on NBC News: “Terrific” that Obama is Going to Copenhagen

President Obama announced last Wednesday that he will attend the international climate talks in Copenhagen — and that in the context of an overall international agreement that includes commitments from China and other emerging economies, he is prepared to put on the table a U.S. emissions reduction target in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020.

For those of you who were traveling, cooking, or turkey-shopping that night and missed the evening newscasts, here’s EDF’s president Fred Krupp talking about the announcement on NBC Nightly News.

Posted in International / Read 1 Response

Parking Cash-Outs: Better than Free Parking

A recent dinner guest revealed that he drives eight blocks to work each day, rain or shine. That’s eight short blocks. The guy is a healthy 20-something. Some days it takes him more time to drive than it would take him to walk.

How can we avoid the meter and be greener?

How can we avoid the meter and be greener?

So why does he drive no matter what? He loves free parking.

See, at work his employer pays for his parking. If he kept his car at home during the day, he’d have to pay $100 a month to park in the lot linked to his apartment, or even more to park at another lot. Instead, every evening he drives back home, parks near his apartment complex after city street parking restrictions have expired, and wakes up the next morning to drive eight blocks to park for free at work.

Except that it isn’t really free. The rest of us pick up part of the costs of his parking habit–costs like health–threatening air pollution, earth-damaging greenhouse gas emissions, and road wear and tear.

That’s just a short list of parking costs. UCLA Professor Don Shoup has brilliantly established that parking costs everyone and that parking costs are hidden in nearly everything, from land values to groceries. He has also established that there are smart solutions, and most revolve around revealing the real costs of parking and pricing parking so as not to make everyone else pay for one driver’s decision to drive and park.

One of those solutions is parking cash-out. The idea is that an employer who wants to provide a perk to employees would provide a choice, instead of giving everyone a parking space. The choice would be between the parking spot or the cash. Employees could then use the cash to leave the car at home and spend the money on transit, a new bike helmet, or really comfortable walking shoes. The cash-out is counted as income, but there are some federal tax deductions for cash-out spent on transit or vanpools, and in some cases certain state tax deductions, too.

Parking cash-out programs work where they’re offered. Statistics range, depending on the location’s alternate transportation options, from a few percent to nearly 40 percent of employees who opt for the cash when it’s offered. As a result, the employer gets happier employees and reduces the number of parking spaces needed in the lease. Everyone gets a bit cleaner air and less traffic.

Cash-out isn’t offered as much as common sense would suggest this win-win might be. In the rare case where cash-out is required, it hasn’t always been enforced. Earlier this year, Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council co-sponsored successful legislation in California that gave certain local governments the option of enforcing the state’s parking cash-out law.

There’s no need to wait for a law to come to your community. Many employers around the country have voluntarily initiated their own parking cash-out programs. If yours hasn’t, ask about it.

Cash-out programs move us all closer to one important goal: giving commuters more choice even as they reduce their environmental impact.

Posted in Cars and Pollution / Comments are closed

California Pushes Ahead with a Carbon Cap, Ahead of Schedule

California has the world’s eighth largest economy and a well-earned reputation as a global trendsetter on environmental policy.

It should come as no surprise that Californians are out of the gate on the most urgent environmental challenge of our generation: building a clean energy future that protects the world from catastrophic global warming.

Given that the countdown to Copenhagen is underway and the White House and Congress are weighing proposals and priorities, California’s leadership-by-example means more than ever.

Today, the California Air Resources Board unveiled a conceptual outline – a Preliminary Draft Regulation (PDR) [PDF file, 800K]- of what will become a mandatory, multi-sector cap-and-trade program to take effect on January 1, 2012.  The program will set an absolute limit on sources of 85 percent of the state’s pollution, dialing back pollution levels by 15 percent between now and 2020. California leaders project that a final cap-and-trade program will be adopted by the state’s environmental agency in October 2010, two months ahead of the statutory deadline.

Today’s action is another step on the path to a clean energy future that will create economic opportunities and environmental benefits for all Californians.

The stage was set for today in 2006, when Governor Schwarzenegger signed the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The bill’s passage inspired several other states to adopt similar measures and led seven U.S. states and four Canadian provinces to commit to a regional cap-and-trade program called the Western Climate Initiative.

Get more details on the announcement from our press release, and keep tabs on the California cap-and-trade process on Air Resources Board’s site.

Posted in Policy / Read 5 Responses

Clean Energy Takes Big Step in Senate

After all the drama, the clean energy bill is on its way to the next stage in the Senate, having cleared committee this morning. Meanwhile, Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman are leading the charge to getting a clean energy bill passed on the Senate floor.

EDF’s president Fred Krupp had this to say:

Chairman Boxer and her colleagues deserve great credit for their commitment to move forward on solving our climate and energy challenges. Californians should be very proud of their Senator today.

The Senators who supported this effort recognize the urgent need to end our addiction to imported oil, create jobs, and cap the pollution that causes global warming.

The path is now clear for Senators from both parties who genuinely want to pass a bill that will shift our economy to clean, American energy. We are particularly encouraged by the announcement yesterday that Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman will work together to craft a bipartisan bill to bring America greater energy independence and cap pollution. We also applaud Senator Baucus’ commitment to ‘work to get climate change legislation that can get 60 votes, get through the United States Senate, and signed into law.

After all the drama, the clean energy bill is on its way to the next stage in the Senate, having cleared committee this morning. Meanwhile Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman are working on their own bipartisan climate and energy bill.
Posted in News / Read 3 Responses

A Wild Ride: Big News from the Clean Energy Front

A lot has happened quickly in the clean energy world. Here’s a wrap-up:

  • Yesterday was day two of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s markup process for the Kerry-Boxer bill. Republicans once again boycotted the proceedings, although they made a couple of cameo appearances. The markup continues today — you can see it on C-Span. And, Greenwire is now reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer “the green  light” to move ahead without the GOP. Reid reportedly told Boxer to advance global warming legislation on Tuesday, November 10,  if Republicans have not ended their boycott by then.
  • At the same time, three strange bedfellows — Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced they would work on a “dual track” to create a climate bill that would get 60 Senate votes. Our Tony Kriendler says the three have given “new life to a bipartisan process.”
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is making tentative gestures of support in the general direction of a climate bill. The Chamber, which has been slammed by the media and abandoned by some of its own members since saying we need a “Scopes monkey trial” on climate science, said today that it “supports most of the principles outlined” in that Kerry-Graham-Lieberman proposal. Details are still fuzzy, but Tony Kreindler says: “We’re delighted to see the Chamber recognize that there’s a bipartisan path forward to a cap on emissions. If they support it, that would be truly a first.” Indeed, we at EDF would all be thrilled if the Chamber’s new tone were followed up with real action.
  • A new group launched today “to support action to limit greenhouse gases and counter the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” American Businesses for Clean Energy includes high profile companies — including some who quit the Chamber because of its stance on climate change. Members include utilities — New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG), Florida’s FPL Group Inc. (FPL) and New Mexico’s PNM Resources (PNM) — as retailer Gap Inc. and Colorado ski resort operator Aspen Skiing Co. More from the Wall Street Journal.
  • And New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity released a new poll of 144 economists. It found a whopping “94% believe the U.S. should join climate agreements to limit global warming,” and that “significant benefits from curbing greenhouse-gas emissions would justify the costs of action.”
Posted in Economics / Comments are closed