BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Dec 22

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, December 22, 2014

Online LEED classes: The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation is teaming up with RMC Green Building Training to provide several online Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) courses. To sign up or view the course options, click here.

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Even with gas prices low, public transit ridership continues to grow. In the third quarter of 2014, about 2.7 billion passenger trips were taken on transit systems in the U.S.—a 1.8 percent increase over a year ago. (New York Times)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Climate change is clearly human caused. It is happening now. We can see the impacts, and we need to step up to the facts and take actions.” – National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis in a piece on how climate change is changing Mount Rainer.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Cap-and-trade – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee proposed a cap-and-trade plan last week that would fund transportation, education and other needs in the state. The Washington BlueGreen Alliance’s Jeff Johnson, the President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said at the event, "Governor Inslee’s proposal challenges the status quo by putting a price on carbon, putting a price on pollution, and creating a jumping off place for creating economic growth that is more sustainable, more equitable, more accountable, and creates healthier communities." (New York Times)

Workers’ rights boosts – This story looks at two recent decisions—one by the National Labor Relations Board and the other by the U.S. Department of Labor—that are boosting efforts to protect the rights of working people and grow unions. (Politico)

Cromnibus – An opinion piece criticizes the continuing resolution passed last week by Congress, saying its environmental and transportation policies are short sighted. (The Hill)

Green chemistry – A new wave of chemists are working to make the chemicals we use every day safer. (Health 24)

The Big Apple – Efforts are underway to reduce carbon pollution in New York City. A report recently released by the BlueGreen Alliance and others that focused on reducing emissions and growing good jobs in the city was featured in the story. (New York Times)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

The Hill: Lawmakers press Obama to rescind climate rule

Wall Street Journal: Q&A: Heating Up the Climate Change Debate

Los Angeles Times: Amid climate change, what's more important: Protecting money or people?

NJ Spotlight: LOOKING BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS IN NEW JERSEY’S ENERGY SECTOR

Clean Technica: India Plans 100 MW Solar Power Capacity To Cover Canals

The Ada News (OK): Two dead, three injured in Coalgate oil rig explosion

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

Dec 19

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, December 19, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The Climate Works For All report was released earlier this week by a coalition of 40 groups including the BlueGreen Alliance. The report lays out 10 measures—including updating stormwater protection systems and investing in the electric grid—that if enacted together could create 40,000 jobs per year in New York City and help protect the city from future climate impacts. (Capital New York & BlueGreen Alliance)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The Peru summit made progress, but the road ahead is long — and hot,” written in a Toledo Blade editorial.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Hat trick – The National Hockey League has made a commitment to go carbon neutral. The first sports league to make such a commitment will meet these goals through a combination of slashing emissions and purchasing carbon offsets. (National Journal)

A higher standard - The Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs Campaign called on the state’s leadership to increase the state's renewable energy standard up to 40 percent by 2030 and also increase the state's energy savings goal. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

On climate change – EPA head Gina McCarthy urges extreme weather is building the a case for climate action, saying "This is about their own jobs, their own health, their own kids." (USA Today)

In orbit – A satellite that’s been in orbit since July has begun to send back data on carbon emissions. (Climate Central)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Hill: House GOP creates energy, EPA oversight panel

Minnesota Star Tribune: Groups lay out their legislative wish lists

Reuters: Climate change could cut world food output 18 percent by 2050

National Journal: White House Floats New Climate Guidelines for Energy, Infrastructure Development

Become a LEEDer: The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation is teaming up with RMC Green Building Training to provide several online Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) courses. To sign up or view the course options, click here .

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
Dec 18

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, December 18, 2014

 

Photo credit: Johns Hopkins University

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

A new Johns Hopkins model reveals the top 10 cities vulnerable to power outages during extreme weather. (Johns Hopkins University)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“This two-week extenders bill represents another low point in the world of dysfunctional Washington politics,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) about a short tax break extension for the wind industry.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Charged – Freedom Industry officials were charged for criminal violations that in January caused drinking water contamination for around 300,000 Charleston area residents. (Charleston Gazette)

$1 billion per year – That’s how much Governor Inslee estimates his cap-and-trade plan will bring in revenue for transportation projects. (Seattle Times)

Loophole closed – The Commerce Department closed a loophole that allowed Chinese solar panel manufacturers to avoid steep tariffs. (New York Times)

Arctic barometer – The Arctic is warming fast than the rest of the world and with more dramatic consequences. (New York Times)

Cleaning up – Companies work redefine efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, focusing more on tangible projects like onsite renewable energy projects . (Business Week)

 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Business Insider: 5 Awesome Things About New York That Will Be Ruined By Climate Change

AP: AP Interview: McConnell wants to stop coal rules

Los Angeles Times: California drought: We need 11 trillion gallons of water in the bank

The Economic Times: India-US climate talks to focus on clean energy, tech R&D

Become a LEEDer: The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation is teaming up with RMC Green Building Training to provide several online Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) courses. To sign up or view the course options, click here .

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

Dec 16

Reflections on Lima

The following blog is by Michael Williams, Vice President for Strategic Development at the BlueGreen Alliance. 

Familiarity often brings comfort, yet the similar refrain that has happened year after year at the international climate negotiations should make us all a touch nervous. From Rio to Kyoto, Bali to Copenhagen, and Durban to Paris, we wind up with structured agreements that are supposed to lead to final agreements (but haven’t done so just yet). Maybe in Paris? 

We are dealing with a situation that has impacts today and will have greater impacts each and every day afterwards. 

Still, the threat of climate change is clear and the solutions seem clear, but the moral and political calculus of the situation is unnervingly complex. For a solution that is fair and just, all nations should have a voice. We should take into account historical precedent, but not ignore current contributions to climate change pollution levels. We are dealing with a situation that has impacts today and will have greater impacts each and every day afterwards. 

In Lima, one of the most impactful results to come out of the negotiations is that all nations are expected (not mandated, but rather more like shamed) to put forward details on how they plan to reduce emissions—through their Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs). This quite directly stems from the heralded agreement announced between the U.S. and China a few weeks back, which laid out a very similar structure. 

In addition, the Green Climate Fund finally has met its goal of a $10 billion commitment, which (hopefully) means it can finally begin to operate under the strong structure that has been created for the funds. That said, the $100 billion commitment— the amount that would actually begin to bring developing nations onto a level playing field in terms of addressing climate change—is still far from being met. 

We here at the BlueGreen Alliance spent our time in Lima doing three things: 

1) Listening to and learning from our colleagues in the international trade union and environmental movements. We had some great debates and discussions on how to equitably and justly address climate change. 

2) Explaining our views on how the U.S. (both the government and its people) is responding to the threat of climate change. We held a briefing at the official U.S. Center titled “Perspectives on U.S. Climate Action Plan from Labor, Environment and Business” and a briefing for the International Trade Union Confederation on our experience helping to organize the labor contingent at the People’s Climate March. 

3) And, advocating like hell for a strong agreement that not only includes but highlights a just transition for workers and communities. We sent a letter to the president, outlining our needs for strong and fair transition policies. Read it here

We feel like progress was made—on truly effective matters like mitigation and finance—but there’s that sinking feeling of familiarity. We can’t let the majority of the progress be wasted on continuing the negotiations with results happening only on the margins. We’re going to need to change that norm within the next year. 

On to Paris, where the fight…continues. 

P.S. – Here are reactions from some of our partners and allies, who have been deftly watching and participating in these negotiations for as long as they’ve existed:

Posted In: Climate Change
Dec 16

The BlueGreen Source for Tuesday, December 16, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Iowa could add about 1,300 more advanced energy jobs next year according to the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. This year, 22,643 workers at 1,427 companies worked in advanced energy fields. (Des Moines Register)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If I'm mayor of Miami, we know about hurricanes, we know about outages and our system has been adapted for it. But if I'm mayor of Philadelphia, I might say, 'Whoa, we need to be doing more about this,'" said power grid researcher Seth Guikema.

WHAT’S TRENDING

$500 million – That’s how much the sale of carbon credits in North America has brought in through auctions in the past month. (Clean Technica)

Primary protection - The White House yesterday issued recommendations to help hospitals cope with climate change. They include plans for power outages and moving emergency rooms further from flood-prone areas. (USA Today)

Worldwide momentum – Next month when President Obama visits India, the leaders of both countries are expected to make some announcements on preventing climate change. (The Guardian)

3.6 degrees – Negotiators in Lima settled on a plan to prevent the globe from warming 3.6 degrees. It represents 2 degrees centigrade above global average temperature at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Where did that number come from? (New York Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Reuters: Paris climate summit faces tougher job after modest Lima deal

Think Progress: 9 Things Scientists Did This Year To Ensure A Better Climate Future

Los Angeles Times: California leaders vow to continue climate change action

Energy Wire: Coal-heavy electric cooperatives take hard line on EPA Clean Power Plan

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
Dec 15

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, December 15, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: World Health Organization

A new poll shows very few Americans have thought much about the global warming’s health impacts—7 in 10 gave it little to no thought. (Yale Project on Climate Change Communication)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We are missing an important opportunity unless we choose to invest in both the economic and environmental needs of this and future generations,” said Kim Glas, the BlueGreen Alliance's Executive Director, about the UN Climate Agreement.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Global agreement – In the early morning hours on Sunday, global negotiators reached an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The breakthrough is that it requires developing countries and industrialized countries to take responsibility. Here’s a further breakdown of what the UN climate deal does and does not do. (Washington Post & Vox)

Legal challenge – States and businesses prepare to take up legal challenges against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. (E&E News)

Invest in wind – That’s the message a group of senators—led by Senator Franken—are sending to the Department of Energy regarding small wind projects. (The Hill)

Offshore wind for NC? – North Carolina coast holds vast potential for offshore wind, if only legislators would back the policies that help get these projects up and running. (WECT)

 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Christian Science Monitor: A universal hug in climate change pact

Reuters: Let nature play a role in climate adaptation, experts urge: TRFN

New Yorker: Climate-Change Christmas Carols

NPR: Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

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

Dec 12

Just Transition: The Fight Continues

The following blog is by Michael Williams, Vice President for Strategic Development.

Two weeks ago, we released a letter that we sent to President Obama calling for action at this year’s COP, as we have done in the past. Check out the press release and letter.

Given the recent news that the negotiators have left out critical language on just transition, I want to highlight our specific recommendations to the U.S. on this issue, which is consistently one of our foremost priorities in this process.

“Directly related to this, and within the context of UNFCCC process, we have two recommendations. The first can and must be dealt with immediately, starting at this year’s 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20). We need national and global collaboration to develop and share best practices for a just transition for all workers, their families and the communities that depend on them. Second, we need your commitment to elevate the issues central to ensuring that climate action is fair to workers across the world. Financial support, social and worker protection policies and job impact data must be part of a comprehensive program to building opportunities and equity around the world.”      

Any final agreement must include strong and clear text on just transition, but in the meantime, there must be an effort to share best practices across the world. We hope negotiators (and US policymakers) are listening.

Dec 12

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, December 12, 2013













YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The lights were kept on at the Capitol after another government shutdown was averted as the House passed a spending bill that will fund the government through next summer with just a few hours to spare before the midnight deadline. Here’s just some of what’s in the $1.1 trillion spending package. (Washington Post)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I am heartened that the board has chosen to enact amendments that will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all.” – National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) chair Mark Gaston Pearce after the board approved new rules to speed up the union election process. (Politico)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

They like us – Often the U.S. isn’t too well received at the annual international climate talks, but this year in Lima negotiators are being praised. (New York Times) 

Montana clean – An opinion piece highlights the cost savings and good jobs that will be created by clean energy in Big Sky Country. (Billings Gazette)

PTC – A commentary highlights the benefits and need for a long-term solution on the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy and other vital tax credits to Maine and the rest of the country. (Bangor Daily News)

Regional climate action – An op-ed from Pacific Coast Governors and the premier of British Columbia says that regional climate action—like the Pacific Coast Collaborative—may be the key to tackling climate change in the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)

Colorado sun – In Larimer County, Colorado, a handful of solar gardens are set to produce enough energy to power thousands of homes. In Minnesota, the state’s largest utility is accepting applications for similar community solar projects beginning today. (The Coloradoan & Midwest Energy News)

 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

The Hill: EPA methane rules won’t hit gas utilities, industry predicts

Energy Matters: California Heading For 500,000 Clean Energy Jobs

Sustainable Business Oregon: Poll: Oregonians of all stripes support renewable energy

Washington Post: The 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change

Youngstown Vindicator (OH): Rep. Ryan 'outraged' by jobs loss report

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

Dec 11

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, December 11, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

A majority of voters support efforts to curb methane emissions. According to a new poll, 63 percent of registered voters back standards for methane emissions and action by the administration. (The Hill)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It’s a matter of doing our job, the job that Congress gave us to do. Environmental issues have never been, in the past, partisan issues,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy after the House had passed a budget that cut EPA funding.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Warmer air, warmer water – Slightly warmer air temperatures have had the ripple effect of raising water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay for example. Water temperatures have warmed about 2 degrees in the last 50 years in bay tributaries. (Washington Post)

Successful block – A deal to fund the government from Congress has weakened some of the administration’s energy and environment programs. Democrats successfully blocked some of the worst riders proposed to undercut these initiatives. (U.S. News)

What’s happening in Lima – Yesterday in Lima thousands gathered for a climate march to call for strong action out of the COP20. (TckTckTck)

Community solar – Community solar projects are allowing people to utilize solar power without putting panels on their roofs. Instead, customers can purchase blocks of electricity they produce. (Arizona Republic)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Politico - How Green Is Barack Obama?

Huffington Post: It's Time to Put a Price on Carbon

National Journal: Bill Nye the Science Guy Says James Inhofe Is Not a ‘Climate Skeptic'

Reuters: In about face, Australia PM joins global climate fund

New York Times: Copenhagen Lighting the Way to Greener, More Efficient Cities

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
Dec 10

Todos Somos SAWETO

The following blog is by Michael Williams, Vice President for Strategic Development.

Last Thursday, I was proud to participate in an action in solidarity with the Ashaninka people of Saweto, an indigenous settlement in Peru near the border of Brazil. Leaders of the Ashaninka were murdered in September, purportedly by illegal loggers who have been ravaging the region against the rights of the people of Saweto and operating with impunity due to pervasive corruption. 

The men who lost their lives did so because they stood up to these illegal loggers for destroying their lands and stripping the old growth forests in the Amazon River basin with no concern—save for what the $11,000 a single old growth mahogany tree can fetch. (Please see the wonderful work done by the Environmental Investigation Agency for more information.)

On Thursday, with the support and organization of the International Trade Union Confederation, activists stood with the people of Saweto to demand justice. To demand that governments acknowledge the rights of the people of Saweto, to protect their lands and to stop illegal logging.

The BlueGreen Alliance has a history of working to tackle the problem of illegal logging, though most of our focus has been on Indonesia, but the plight of the people of Saweto must not be overlooked.