BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

Happy Halloween! When the kids are out getting candy tonight, make sure they’re using safe bags and costumes. A study shows that store-bought costumes, bags and other items may contain downright spooky toxic contaminants, including lead, bromide, and mercury. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

“I’m not a scientist” – This is a good story that examines why Republicans around the country are using the line, “I’m not a scientist” when it comes to climate change. (New York Times) 

Toxics – Efforts to ban toxic chemicals around the world are falling on deaf ears. (Newsweek)

Green Bank of NY – The first slate of projects funded by New York State’s green bank was announced this week. The clean energy investments totaled $800 million and are expected to reduce carbon pollution by 575,000 tons. (The Energy Collective)

new report says that carbon pollution fell 16 percent between 2007 and 2013 and that the vast majority of that reduction was from energy efficiency and renewable energy. More specifically, 70 percent of the carbon pollution reduction came from renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Here’s the good news: over the six-year period, renewable energy generation in America grew 48 percent and resulted in real reductions in the carbon pollution that is driving our climate to change. 

Now, the bad news: much of the emissions reduction came from investments in wind that occurred while the Production Tax Credit for wind was still in force (it expired at the end of last year and efforts to get it back online have, so far, been unsuccessful). Even before that, the fate of the tax credit was always up in the air, creating uncertainty in the market. It’s only with market certainty that we’ll continue to see renewable energy growth. 

To give you an idea of just how that uncertainty impacted the U.S. wind industry, take a look at the graph above from the American Wind Energy Association. In 2007, the U.S. had 16,702 megawatts of wind power capacity and in 2012 that grew to over 60,000 megawatts. Since then, during which the Production Tax Credit was in flux, the growth has stagnated. 

Posted In: Clean Energy

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Experts estimate 2.1 trillion gallons of water is lost per year in this country due to aging and leaky pipes, broken water mains and more. BlueGreen Alliance’s Kim Glas on what it would take to help fix all of our infrastructure. (NPR & the Huffington Post)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Environment on the ballot – It’s up to voters—not the state legislature—to have their say on a California water bond this November. (Los Angeles Times)

Solar goes mainstream – New financing mechanisms along with a drop in prices have made the benefits of solar energy more attainable for more people than ever before. (Bloomberg)

Home energy bills – The efficiency of home furnaces can have a tremendous impact on your home heating bill. The Department of Energy is expected to propose new efficiency standards. (The Hill)

The following blog by Kit Kennedy, Director of Energy and Transportation, New York for NRDC was originally posted on the Switchboard blog. The original is available online here

New York State faces a challenge as it ramps up energy efficiency and renewable energy use in its 3,000-plus state buildings. To get the most bang for its buck, the state needs to make sure the systems are working right, ideally in real time, so it can correct problems as they arise, not a month later when the energy bill comes.

That’s where the NY Energy Manager, the state’s brand-new energy management network operations center, located upstate, at the State University of New York’s Polytechnic Institute, will prove invaluable. It will help New York save money, use energy smarter, prevent pollution, and lead by example. More than 3,000 state buildings are currently served by the NY Energy Manager, with more to be added in the future.

The following blog by Lydia DePillis from UAW has been cross-posted. The original post is available online here

A couple weeks ago, a group of 14,500 U.S. Airways and American Airlines customer service representatives — people who take reservations over the phone and work check-in counters and boarding gates — voted to unionize with the Teamsters and the Communication Workers of America. The election was remarkable for a couple reasons.

Posted In: United Auto Workers

The following blog by Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director was originally posted on the Coming Clean blog. The original post is available online here

Two years ago, news broke about a hurricane called Sandy that might be headed toward the East Coast. Ultimately, Sandy would leave more than 180 people dead, thousands homeless, and indelible images of a darkened Manhattan and storm-surge waters flooding the tunnels of the New York subway system. The total cost of damages was $60 billion -- the only U.S. hurricane in history that cost more was Katrina in 2005. Many of the hardest-hit communities are still struggling to recover.

Unusually powerful storms like Sandy and Katrina are extreme weather at its most dramatic -- a predictable consequence of a warmer atmosphere and oceans. When you combine such storms with rising sea levels, it's obvious that coastal communities everywhere are vulnerable.

But although we can't prevent more powerful storms, we are far from powerless. We still have time to take action to limit the climate disruption that makes storms more severe. But let's be clear: That time is limited. We can't pass off responsibility to future generations because that tactic has already been used -- on us.

Last week, the European Union showed the rest of the world what taking responsibility looks like by striking an initial deal to require its member countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Could the U.S. make a comparable national commitment? Absolutely. In fact, we could do even better, but only if we force our government to get serious about solving the problem. That will take a powerful, people-driven movement to overcome the money and influence of the corporations whose existence depends on their ability to pollute and exploit without regard for the consequences.

The good news is that such a people-driven movement has already started in this country, and you don't need to look further than the flooding of New York's streets and subways to see it. No, I'm not talking about the storm surge from Sandy but about the human surge of the People's Climate March in Manhattan last month -- the biggest climate demonstration of all time. In fact, so many people filled the streets on that Sunday, September 21, that the same subway system that had been inundated by Sandy set a new ridership record.

The sight of hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets (and mass transit), united by a common purpose, was a powerful reminder that together we are strong, we are positive, and we are not about to give up on the future.

Posted In: Sierra Club

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Renewable energy and energy efficiency are responsible for 70 percent of the drop of carbon pollution in the U.S. since 2007, according to a new report. (Clean Technica)

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

Officials in Ohio unveiled the first green project that will use natural landscaping to absorb rainwater and runoff that flows into Lake Erie. There will be several other similar projects around the lake to help prevent incidents like the algae bloom that left hundreds of thousands of Toledo residents without water this summer. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Climate and elections – The group led by environmentalist and philanthropist Tom Steyer has released a hard-hitting ad voiced by Woody Harrelson arguing to hold politicians accountable for their wrong views that climate change isn’t happening. (The Hill)

Bhopal – Thirty years ago, a chemical disaster in Bhopal, India released more than 40 tons of toxic chemicals into the air, killing 10,000 immediately and affecting hundreds of thousands over the coming decades. This piece examines how safety has (and mostly hasn’t) improved in the U.S. years after the world’s worst chemical disaster. (Al-Jazeera America)

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

You should check out this piece that looks at how the community leaders are driving action at the local political level over concerns about climate change. Reality is setting in, especially in Florida and other areas on the coast, and that’s causing local leaders to focus on climate change and look for solutions. (New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Leading the charge – An opinion piece from the BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas and Utility Workers Union of America's National President Michael Langford lauds the action recently taken by California to curb methane emissions from natural gas distribution lines and argues for other states to follow suit to reduce methane emissions now. (Sacramento Bee) 

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

An innovative report released today shows that repairing America’s infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs across the economy and increase the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $377 billion, while reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions and better protecting communities from the impacts of climate change. (BlueGreen Alliance)

WHAT’S TRENDING

EU to lower emissions – Leaders from 28 European union countries have agreed on a target to lower emissions by at least 40 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. (New York Times)

Renewables at home – According to a new study, politics and income may not be as important factors in solar use as previously thought. (Washington Post)

Posted In: The Source