BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

The following blog by Han Chen, International Climate Advocate has been cross-posted from NRDC's The Switchboard blog. The original post is available online here.

As the Paris Climate agreement approaches, we are seeing signs of a far different process from the last-minute confusion in Copenhagen - where negotiators had to work with an unwieldy negotiating text of more than 200 pages. The latest sign of progress towards a successful Paris agreement is the release of a shortened draft negotiating text -- produced by the two co-chairs of the negotiations leading to Paris.

At the end of the last negotiating session in June, negotiators from over 190 countries gave the co-chairs the mandate to accelerate the process by producing their more concise version of the text. The new draft, released on Friday July 24th, provides a consolidated text without deleting any options that country negotiators laid out in previous sessions. In UNFCCC language, this document is a "non-paper" that does not replace the official negotiating text, but it will be the basis for discussions at the next negotiating session. The total length has been trimmed down to 83 pages.

More importantly, the co-chairs separated the text into elements that would go into a durable post-2020 "Agreement" versus details appropriate for a "Decision" on implementation that can change over time. In its current forum, the Agreement language would only be 19 pages, which is a significant improvement. In addition, there is a third section of text in the co-chairs' draft which contains key elements where negotiators must decide if these provisions are better suited for the Agreement or the Decision.

Posted In: Natural Resources Defense Council

The following blog by Collin O'Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation has been cross-posted from the Wildlife Promise blog. The original post is available online here

Today I was filled with patriotic pride as we celebrated a historic moment in our nation’s energy story: the installation of the foundations for America’s first offshore wind power project. Offshore wind power technology has been a steadily growing source of clean, reliable energy in Europe for nearly a quarter century. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is our first step towards tapping this powerful, zero pollution, wildlife friendly source of energy. 

Block Island Wind Farm
Posted In: Clean Energy, National Wildlife Federation

The following blog by Dave Johnson has been cross-posted from the Campaign for America's Future blog. The original post is available online here

A panel at the Netroots Nation in Phoenix, “Unions as the Answer to the Defining Issue of our Time,” made the point that empowering unions is about more than just the workers having a path to the middle class; it is about strengthening the entire economy.

The panel was moderated by Seema Nanda, deputy chief of staff to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. On the panel were Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Frank Piccioli, President of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2960 with the City of Phoenix and Arizona EMS Workers United; Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, and Naomi Walker, who serves as an assistant to the president of AFSCME.

Posted In: United Steelworkers

President Obama, along with 13 of the country’s largest companies, this week announced a number of impactful new measures that represent forward progress on climate action. According to the White House the announcements by companies such as Alcoa, General Motors, UPS and more represent “at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy.” The business pledges reinforce America’s commitment to climate change and to facing it head on as both an economic and environmental challenge.

Climate change isn’t only an environmental issue; it’s an economic one as well. That’s why it’s significant that the country’s largest companies arehelping to lead on climate action. We can address our climate in a way that also results in a prosperous and thriving economy across the United States. While today’s announcement commits 13 companies to specific climate action, this bold move can inspire many others to do the same.

In addition to the potential ripple effect the American Business Act on Climate pledge could have influencing other businesses, applying the right climate change solutions can also be an economic windfall. Investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and much more can help to grow domestic jobs, expand manufacturing and support local businesses along the way. Besides the commitment of billions in new low-carbon investment and renewable energy, each company set specific goals that will contribute to cutting emissions as much as 50 percent, reduce water intensity as much as 15 percent, purchase 100 percent renewable energy, and pursue zero net deforestation in supply chains.

Posted In: Clean Energy, Climate Change

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Both the House and Senate have signaled they will vote on a three-month highway transportation funding extension before the end of the week in order to prevent the fund from going bankrupt. (The Hill) 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Will the Congress just sit there with their feet getting ever wetter?" said Paul Bierman, a UVM geologist and senior author of a new paper about how Washington, D.C. is predicted to sink six inches over the next 100 years in a statement. 

WHAT’S TRENDING

Debatable – Yesterday, debate by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a broad energy bill struck a bipartisan tone. Senators worked through 25 amendments the first day of consideration, which will continue today. (The Hill) 

Deadline extended – The Obama administration announced just ahead of finalizing the Clean Power Plan that it plans to extend the deadline for states to implement emissions limits by two years from 2020 until 2022. (Washington Post) 

Posted In: The Source

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Florida sea levels edge closer to more and more property, putting it at risk. A new report by the Risky Business Project reveals that by 2030 $69 billion in coastal property is at risk in the state that’s not currently vulnerable to high tide. (Miami Herald)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Call it a triple threat,” said Steven Meyers, a scientist at the University of South Florida about sea-level rise, storm surge and heavy rainfall. “What this shows is that there is an increasing risk of compound flooding, from storm surge and rainfall at the same time.”

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced her plans to address climate change and grow renewable energy in our country. (CBS News)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"It's hard to believe there are people running for president who still refuse to accept the settled science of climate change who would rather remind us they're not scientists than listen to those who are. You don't have to be a scientist to take on this urgent challenge that threatens us all, you just have to be wiling to act,” said Clinton.

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Infrastructure woes – America’s busiest rail corridor has aging infrastructure that’s beginning to fail more and more often. (New York Times)

Businesses stepping up – Thirteen of our country’s largest companies—including Alcoa, General Motors and UPS—are joining President Obama to announce measures they’ll undertake to slash emissions and become more sustainable. (The Hill) 

Alaskan wildfires – Hundreds of wildfires have blazed across Alaska this year and 2015 may be a poster child for how climate change is impacting wildfires. (Washington Post) 

Posted In: The Source

This week, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation that would revive some very important clean energy tax credits. It’s welcome progress for a set of measures that Congress has disappointingly allowed to expire. Approval by the Finance Committee is just the beginning though. It’s time for Congress to renew these vitally important incentives—including the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC)—in order to inject market predictability, create jobs, grow renewable energy and reinforce domestic manufacturing.

Without the PTC and ITC, renewable energy growth faces a headwind. These two tax credits alone have helped hundreds of companies and individuals overcome the hurdles they confront during the planning and construction phases of renewable energy projects. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) after Congress failed to renew clean energy tax credits in 2013, installations of new wind farms fell 92 percent and caused a loss of 30,000 jobs that year. Once Congress renewed the PTC, the U.S. wind energy industry added 23,000 jobs the following year.

Energy policies like renewable energy that protect clean air, clean water and maintain and improve environmental standards have bipartisan support, so there is no reason for lawmakers to delay action on renewable energy incentives any longer. According to a bipartisan poll by NRDC, majorities in Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida and Colorado support an agenda of clean water, clean air, health safeguards and action on climate change.

Posted In: Clean Energy

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The construction of the country’s first five offshore wind turbines begins in earnest this week off of the coast of Block Island in Rhode Island. Supporters are calling it the dawn of a new clean energy future. (New York Times)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“While this voluntary program is a step forward, strong EPA standards are where we’ll see real progress in achieving the goal of up to 45 percent reduction in methane pollution by 2025 established by the president earlier this year,” said Kim Glas about EPA’sNatural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program announced yesterday.

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The Senate made progress on a six-year transportation funding bill yesterday as the measure was cleared for debate. The legislation is expected to face stiff opposition in the House. (The Hill)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“My goal has been and remains to move a bill out of committee that has support of not only the majority party but the party of our Democratic colleagues as well,” said Senator Murkowski about her energy legislation.

WHAT’S TRENDING

They have a bill – A House subcommittee yesterday approved a comprehensive energy package, with more important debate yet to come in the full committee. (National Journal)

Meanwhile, in the Senate – After months of negotiations, Senators Murkowski and Cantwell yesterday introduced their energy package yesterday in the Senate. (Alaska Dispatch News)

Posted In: The Source