Climate 411

How RGGI cuts carbon and costs

This summer, electricity bills across the U.S. are poised to climb higher as a consequence of volatile fossil fuel costs and climate change impacts like extreme heat.

Rising natural gas prices, affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are expected to drive up costs in the U.S., including in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia where a significant number of households and businesses are reliant on natural gas for electricity. On top of this, extreme heat around the country is expected to drive up demand as people work to cool down with more air-conditioning use while heat, storms and other climate change-fueled impacts continue to increase the risk of blackouts.

In short, this summer is showing us the value of moving toward a clean, reliable and resilient power sector. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based, multi-state climate program throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, has been driving progress on a cleaner power sector for over a decade now. Since the program began in 2008, RGGI states have reduced carbon pollution from power plants by over 50% and increased renewable energy generation by 73%.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Read 2 Responses

Our New Electric Resilience Toolkit: Resources to Enhance Climate Resilience Planning by Electric Utilities

This post was co-authored by EDF’s Michael Panfil and Romany Webb of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Initiative on Climate Risk and Resilience Law have released a new Electric Resilience Toolkit to support policymakers and other people who are working on issues around electric sector regulation and climate resilience planning.

That planning is essential to ensure electricity infrastructure is designed and operated in a way that accounts for the impacts of climate change — impacts that are already being felt and which will only intensify in coming years.

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Posted in Energy, News, Partners for Change / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan falls short in ensuring equitable access to an affordable, clean and safe energy system (Part 2)

This post was authored by Michael Colvin, Director, California Energy Program at EDF.

Electricity

Photo credit: Pexels

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

The draft Scoping Plan released by CARB last month attempts to address important climate issues across many sectors in California, including equitable access to an affordable, clean, and safe energy system. As the plan appropriately notes, “a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity grid will serve as a backbone to support deep decarbonization across California’s economy.”

Unfortunately, the recommended actions for the electricity sector are insufficient. CARB needs to increase its ambition in order to fulfill the promise of an affordable, clean and reliable energy system. This includes clearly setting a goal of 0MMT or zero emissions from electricity generation no later than 2045 with direction for planning agencies to establish interim targets and front-loaded actions to measure that progress.

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Posted in California, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

Markets, stocktake, and impacts: The three issues to watch at the UN climate talks in Bonn

This post was co-authored by Julia Ilhardt, High Meadows Fellow at Environmental Defense Fund

Opening Plenary of Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), 2019 climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. UNclimatechange via Flickr.

Next week, climate negotiators will begin two weeks of meetings in Bonn, Germany to make progress on a full slate of issues—from carbon markets and finance to adaptation and loss and damage—before November’s global climate talks.

At these mid-year negotiating sessions, negotiators will continue to elaborate rules for international carbon markets, kick off dialogues on the global stocktake, and start work on critical processes to address the impacts of the climate crisis, among other things. They will build on the work completed at COP26 in Glasgow last year, and the results will give us an indication of what the upcoming COP27 negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt will look like.

1. Elaborate rules needed to “operationalize” international carbon markets

At COP26 in Glasgow—after six years of difficult, technical negotiations—countries delivered a strong Paris Agreement rulebook for international cooperation through carbon markets. These rules will give countries the tools they need for environmental integrity and ultimately clear a path to get private capital flowing to developing countries.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, International, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Comments are closed

May brings another record auction for the Western Climate Initiative, as California considers how to ramp up climate action

Results of the May Western Climate Initiative auction were released today, and again they demonstrate strong demand for allowances and generate revenue that will deliver meaningful investments for California communities. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) also outlined the role of its cap-and-trade program in its draft Scoping Plan, which intends to chart the path to California’s 2030 and 2045 climate targets. However, there is major room for improvement: CARB needs to do more to ensure the emissions cap is an effective backstop and can provide certainty of near-term emission reductions.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s draft plan misses the opportunity for greater climate ambition (Part 1)

This post was co-authored by Katelyn Roedner Sutter, Senior Manager for U.S. Climate at EDF.

solar array in California

Photo Credit: Tom Brewster photography for the Bureau of Land Management.

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

California has long been known as a global climate leader, but that title has to be constantly re-earned as the climate crisis accelerates and new leaders raise the bar. The state’s Scoping Plan, which is updated every five years, presents a major opportunity to re-evaluate its strategies to drive down climate pollution based on the latest science, policy and technological developments.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states / Read 1 Response