BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Mar 2

Businesses like UPS, GM play big role in climate action

This is cross-posted from the The Meeting Point, the blog of the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference

Around the country, big and small companies are taking steps to become more energy efficient and produce less of the carbon pollution that drives climate change. These efforts have resulted not just in savings for the companies, but a net benefit for our economy and environment. 

Each year, the EPA honors companies, cities, partnerships and even individuals with its Climate Leadership Awards. The 2015 awardees include the Mayor of Bridgeport Connecticut, as well as companies working to make a difference like UPS and partnerships like the Chevrolet Clean Energy Campus Campaign. 

UPS were one of the recipients under the Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management category for setting, and achieving, their goals to reduce the company’s carbon intensity from transportation by 10 percent by 2016. They’ve already surpassed that goal in 2012 and 2013. And, this the second time UPS has received a Climate Leadership Award. 

General Motors is a primary stakeholder in the Chevrolet Clean Energy Campus Campaign. This partnership created a way for colleges and universities to bring the benefits of carbon pollution reductions to their own campus and communities in order to create even more energy efficiency and clean energy gains on campuses. Top-performing schools that surpass the campaign’s benchmarks for energy leadership are able to measure and sell their carbon reductions as certified carbon credits. They can then utilize the money to fund new efficiency and clean energy projects on campus. 

We’re been proud to have UPS and GM sponsors of our Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference because they’re a company that is truly working to become more efficient and reduce their carbon footprint.

When announcing the awards, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, “Our winners are demonstrating that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. These organizations are providing the leadership, commitment, and solutions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet head on the challenge of a changing climate.”   

Anytime a company makes the right choice—from reducing carbon pollution to adapting clean energy—it puts pressure on their peers to do the same. UPS, GM and the other recipients should all be proud of the work they’ve done so far. We certainly are.

 

Posted In: Climate Change
Mar 2

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, March 2, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

60 Minutes investigation reveals Chinese laminate flooring sold at Lumber Liquidators mayexceed formaldehyde standards, much it failing to meet California formaldehyde emissions standards. (CBS)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Neither science nor evidence trouble Mr. Inhofe’s benighted complacency. ‘The hoax is that there are some people who are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful, they can change climate,’ he said in January. ‘Man can’t change climate,’” wrote the Washington Post in an editorial.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Fast tracked – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker commits to signing a fast-tracked Right-to-Work-for-Less bill, passed by the state Senate last week. (Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal)

Not throwing in the towel – Cape Wind—a company trying to build the first U.S. offshore wind farm —is not calling it quits despite hurdles. After failing to meet a construction deadline, utilities cancelled their contracts. (Boston Globe)

We can’t wait any longer - Former Rep. James Walsh (R-N.Y.) along with government affairs analyst Judson M. Greif urge we cannot afford a piecemeal solution to America’s infrastructure problem.(The Hill)

Unsupportable – Arizona solar users will be subject to a $50 “demand charge” based on peak power demand necessary according to utilities to supplement grid infrastructure and maintenance costs. (Think Progress) 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Guardian: Switzerland becomes first country to submit Paris climate deal pledge

Lansing State Journal: Michigan's energy efficiency policy works; don't ruin it

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal: Scott Walker wants to end funding for renewable energy program

Bloomberg: India to Quadruple Renewable Capacity to 175 Gigawatts by 2022

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Feb 27

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, February 27, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

Protests continue in Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker—harboring presidential ambitions—and a GOP-controlled legislature continue to push forward a “ right-to-work for less” bill. (New York Times)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote,” said Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1961 speech.

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Carbon capture – A pair of Senators introduced a bill to increase federal support for carbon capture and sequestration technology. (The Hill)

Victim card – After it was revealed that an anti-climate science researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics took over $1 million from special interests, conservatives are complaining about him being a victim. (Politico)

Badger State renewables – Even in spite of the roadblocks put in place by Wisconsin Governor Walker and lawmakers in the state, clean energy businesses are growing. (The Cap Times)

Yeah… so this happened – "Do you know what this is? It's a snowball. It's just from outside here, so it's very, very cold out ... very unseasonable," said Senator James Inhofe on the Senate floor in yet another speech denying climate change is occurring. (CBS)

Polling – A new poll says 66 percent of Americans believe that world leaders are morally obligated to act on climate change. (The Hill) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Daily Climate: Solar lights a healthy – and empowering – path in disasters

San Francisco Chronicle: Science documents firmer evidence on climate change. Will lawmakers act?

Washington Post: Researchers think they’ve found a “gateway belief” that leads to greater science acceptance

New Republic: Why Republicans Shouldn't Mock Solar Power in 2016

Los Angeles Times: A cause for pause? Scientists offer reasons for global warming 'hiatus'

 

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Feb 26

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, February 26, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

Most of the East Coast of the U.S. saw its sea level rise about five inches in 2009 and 2010. (The Hill)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“Kansas, with its bountiful wind and sunshine, is in a unique position to diversify our homegrown energy sources and establish a cleaner, more sustainable energy base. The clean energy sector in Kansas is in a position to be an economic and employment leader while protecting our air and water for generations to come,” said a statement from the Climate and Energy Project at an event at the Kansas Capitol. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

GOP vs. the EPA – A hearing yesterday in the House on the EPA’s budget turned into an attack on the clean air and clean water protections. (The Hill) 

Chromium-6 – Growing concern over how much chromium-6, a cancer-causing chemical, is in California’s water has spurred a bill to provide a monitoring process for public water systems to ensure they comply with the state’s new chromium-6 standard. (Central Valley Business)

Getting the lead out – In New Jersey and around the country, kids—especially in poor neighborhoods—are being exposed to lead. Read about the effort to stop it and the hurdles it faces. (Asbury Park Press)

Who are the experts? ­– Check out this piece that looks at the psychology behind why people selectively determine who is an expert to them. (Washington Post)

Stop the rollback – Union of Concerned Scientists blog says Colorado should stop efforts to roll back its renewable energy standard and instead increase it. (The Equation Blog) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Washington Post: Google invests $300 million in SolarCity fund to spur residential solar projects

New York Times: Food Waste Is Becoming Serious Economic and Environmental Issue, Report Says

New York Times: What’s a ‘Credible Threat’ in Wisconsin? Unions.

National Geographic: Chemical in BPA-Free Products Linked to Irregular Heartbeats

The Hill: Chemical agency officials used private email accounts, watchdog says

Houston Chronicle: Metzger: Clean Power Plan can help us curb global-warming pollution

Southern Maryland Online: Bill Requires 25 Percent of State's Energy to be from Renewable Sources by 2020

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Feb 25

Well-worn infrastructure costs companies millions

Inefficient infrastructure causes traffic delays and costs money. It hasn’t always been easy to precisely pinpoint the full costs of America’s infrastructure shortfalls, however new data showing five minute delays here and there cost one company, UPS, $105 million per year in added costs. That begins to tell us more about how our well-worn and sometimes worn-out infrastructure is costing companies big time. The backdrop to all of this is that highway and transit funding­, which pays for highway and transit infrastructure investments, is set to run out in under 100 days. And with a Congress that doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to address it, it raises concerns about the immediate and long-term transportation funding future.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) the cost of crumbling infrastructure could total $1 trillion between 2012 and 2020.

At what cost?

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) the cost of crumbling infrastructure could total $1 trillion between 2012 and 2020. That’s not all. Reduced productivity and higher costs could drain $3.1 trillion from the country’s gross domestic product. The data underscores the point that neglecting our infrastructure is taking a bite out of America’s net worth.

In 2013, ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,”  which is a slight improvement over previous “D” grades, and estimated that to get to a grade of “B” would require an investment of $3.6 trillion over the next seven years.

The huge number of water main breaks, bridge closures, pothole-ridden roads and much more in communities from coast-to-coast are alarming but we can’t afford complacency.

What we can do about it

President Obama, ASCE, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and a host of others recognize the necessity of long-term infrastructure investments and have taken steps to draw attention to this need. The president allocated $478 billion over six years for transportation in his proposed budget. ASCE’s infrastructure report cards provide and other general advocacy provide a revealing look at how infrastructure has gotten better or worse over time. Ray LaHood has called out lawmakers time and again for failing to muster up the political courage to do something meaningful.

Additionally the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America plan illustrates the benefits of long-term investments if we make the necessary repairs. For example, repairing America’s infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs across the economy and increase the U.S. 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.

States and cities are doing what they can to prevent the pipes under our cities from rotting away, water or natural gas leaking from energy infrastructure; fix congested roads; and prevent our schools from falling apart, wasting energy and water. The onus is on Congress to make the most impactful investment of long-term, predictable federal funding.

It’s time to step up infrastructure investments sooner rather than later. Time is money, especially for businesses like UPS and many others like it. Now’s the time to tell Congress to get to work to repair America! 

Posted In: Infrastructure
Feb 24

The BlueGreen Source for Tuesday, February 24, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

An effort is underway in Florida to gather signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow non-utility producers to generate up to 2 megawatts of solar energy to sell energy to the same property or nearby properties. (Orlando Sun-Sentinel)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The Tea Party Network and conservatives have always championed private property rights and free market competition. The Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative will advance the rights of property owners to sell solar energy produced on their private property to their neighbors or tenants," said Catherine Baer, chair of The Tea Party Network.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Research – A group of business leaders, including Bill Gates, says the U.S. isn’t investing enough in energy research. (New York Times)

Tighten up – The EPA is tightening rules for how companies determine the average fuel economy rating for vehicles. (New York Times)

A great choice! – President Obama has named Rick Engler, the head of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, to a federal board that investigates workplace accidents. Engler founded the Work Environment Council back in 1986 and has been a champion for right-to-know laws—which require labeling toxic chemicals at factories and providing the public with information on the chemicals emitted into our air and water—and many other commonsense solutions that make our communities and workplaces safer. (Bergen County Record)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Washington Post: No, the sun isn’t driving global warming

The Hill: Dem wants disclosure of funding behind climate testimony

New York Times: A Pesticide Banned, or Not, Underscores Trans-Atlantic Trade Sensitivities

Bloomberg: BASF Pushes New Slogan as Chemical Makers Seek Better Reputation

Washington Post: Things just got very hot for climate deniers’ favorite scientist

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Feb 23

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, February 23, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW

A coalition in Illinois is pushing for a clean energy jobs policies that they say would create an estimated 32,000 jobs a year in the state and increase renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts. (The Energy Collective)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“As conservatives, we stand up for our country’s national security and the health of our economy. And, as Christians, we recognize the biblical mandate to care for God’s creation and protect our children’s future,” Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America on the coalition’s support of efforts to grow solar energy.

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Water woes – Los Angeles has experienced a series of infrastructure woes over the years and the most recent was a pipe bursting and releasing 100,000 gallons of water in the Hollywood Hills. And, new investment—and accountability for that investment—is needed, according to this editorial. (Los Angeles Times)

Podesta – John Podesta, an advisor for the president who left the White House earlier this month, reflects on the climate actions the president has taken. (Washington Post)

Budget – Included in President Obama’s budget proposal is an extension of both the wind energy Production Tax Credit and the solar Investment Tax Credit. Take a deeper look at the impact of both policies on renewable energy in the U.S.(Motley Fool) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Climate Central: Carbon Pricing Pays the Way for Cleaner Energy

Bergin County Record (NJ): Chromium cleanup hits snag in Garfield

Midwest Energy News: Minnesota community-solar backers question utility concerns

Fox News: Florida sees strange bedfellows in fight over solar power

The Guardian: Climate change is not just an environmental issue

New York Times: Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Feb 20

America’s newest national monument honors rich labor history

This week President Obama announced the Pullman area of Chicago—site of the Pullman Palace Car Company’s planned industrial town where workers made sleeper cars for rail passengers—is now designated as a national monument. The president used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the site under the portfolio of the National Park Service. 

Protecting the Pullman area—especially so future generations can learn about the significance of the site as a key part of the history of the labor movement —is the right thing to do. 

The Pullman site was the first planned industrial town and the site of an1894 strike that triggered America’s first industry-wide walkout. Several workers died at the hands of U.S. marshals and the military and the leaders behind the strike were imprisoned. The strike and the events that followed provided a vital spark for the burgeoning labor movement in the nation. In the wake of the strike, Congress honored slain workers by making Labor Day a national holiday. 

“Designation as a national monument finally gives this site the recognition it deserves. It also expands our country's public lands system to be more inclusive and representative of the full American story,” said Chuck Frank, Highland Park resident and member of Sierra Club's Board of Directors.   

The 300-acre site saw the birth of the first African-American union in America. In the 1920s, the Pullman Company was one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the country. Most of the company’s employees lived on site and the housing was better than most worker housing at the time. 

The Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters was the first African American labor union to secure bargaining rights, and chose A. Philip Randolph as its leader. As a labor leader, civil rights and social justice activist, Randolph helped win labor concessions through the 1940s that paved the way for Civil Rights victories in the 1960s and 1970s.  

“This will ensure the legacy of Pullman won’t be forgotten and will recognize the sacrifices made by workers for generations,” said Tom Conway, Jr., Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “This place is a unique part of the American experience and the BlueGreen Alliance thanks the president for his leadership in ensuring its preservation.” 

For the last several years, the Pullman community has seen strong public and private investment. The State of Illinois has recently completed a $4 million renovation of the historic Hotel Florence, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a non-profit developer, has invested more than $11 million in renovating historic Pullman rowhouses and the historic Pullman Wheelworks saw a $30 million renovation into 210 affordable rental units. 

Chicago remains an important manufacturing center, and the BlueGreen Alliance is one of many local and national labor, community, environmental, and industrial groups working to spur a resurgent and community-supporting rail manufacturing industry in the area. 

The newly designated national monument is expected to draw as many as 300,000 visitors annually and create several hundred jobs. It is the first national monument designated in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Feb 20

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, February 20, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

In Chicago yesterday, President Obama designated the Pullman area—a site rich in labor and civil rights history—as one of America’s newest national monuments. Our statement praising the designation is online here. (New York Times & BlueGreen Alliance)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The financial benefits to tackling climate action are becoming clearer by the day,” write Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever in CNN.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Block and tackle – A Kansas Senate committee works to advance a bill that would delay, and possibly even prevent, action on the Clean Power Plan. (Lawrence Journal-World)

Hot and cold – So far winter has taken to the extremes on both ends of the spectrum with record cold in one half of the country and record heat in the other. (AP)

Unwelcome examination – American diplomats test foreign air quality around embassies abroad. Not everyone likes this idea much. (Washington Post)

Forward and backward – Illinois legislators introduce a bill to expand the state’s renewable energy standard by requiring 35 percent of energy consumed in the state to be generated by clean renewable sources by 2030. Meanwhile in New Hampshire, lawmakers voted against investing carbon tax profits back into energy efficiency. (Midwest Energy News & NHPR)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Washington Post: Solar and wind energy leaders to push for renewable energy

National Journal: Dietary Panel: Eating Less Meat is Better for the Environment

CBS: Rising seas could cause largest ever human exodus

Newsweek: WHO Fears Climate Change Will Accelerate Spread of Some Tropical Diseases

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Feb 19

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, February 19, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Despite the uptick in home size and number of homes, energy efficiency improvements have successfully delivered energy savings. Improvements in energy efficiency reduced energy intensity enough to offset more than 70 percent of the growth in both the number of households and the size of dwellings. (The State Journal)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"You can see the impact of coastal erosion in the village," Interior Secretary Jewell said during a tour of an eroding Alaska village. "You can hear the fear in people's voices about what's happening with climate change. Things are changing up here, and that's part of what I'm on this trip to learn about."

WHAT’S TRENDING

Double down – Citigroup has doubled its previous commitment to environmental projects with the announcement of $100 billion for renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and sustainable transportation projects over the coming decade. (CNBC)

All in on renewables – Kaiser Permanente announced it will invest in wind and solar energy. "Our primary motivation is that climate change is also a health issue," said Rame Hemstreet, Kaiser's chief energy officer. (San Jose Mercury News)

Windfall – Wyoming’s wind energy production tax generates $2.6 million for the state. (Casper Star Tribune)

Right-to-work for less – Last week in Missouri the state house passed right-to-work legislation. It’s headed to the Senate now, but some lawmakers express doubt the governor will sign it. (Missourinet)

 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Reuters: Indiana House panel advances measure to add solar power fees

Washington Post: Greening the faith in the Washington area

Climate Central: California Water Becomes Scarce and Energy Hungry

Rolling Stone: US Navy Reacts To Blockbuster Rolling Stone Climate Change Story

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Posted In: The Source