BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Jul 23

The Green Jobs Source for July 23, 2014

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Renewable energy was 56 percent of the energy capacity added in the U.S. in the first half of this year. Of the 3,529 megawatts (MW) installed, 1,965 MW came from renewable sources. A third of that was solar. (The Energy Collective)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Hearing from the people – Yesterday, officials in Minnesota hear public testimony on the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants. (MinnPost)

Black lung – Federal officials are contacting coal workers to ask them to re-apply for black lung benefits after their claims were initially denied. (The Hill)

Climate impacts the Windy City – Chicago residents are feeling the impacts of climate change and they aren’t pretty. (Washington Post)

No surprise – A global survey on climate change shows that Americans are more divided and doubtful about the issue than people in other leading countries. (CBS News)

Task force – Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and Fort Collins, Colorado Mayor Karen Weitkunat talk about the work of the Obama administration’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. (The White House blog)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

New York Times: Washington Mudslide Report Cites Rain, but Doesn’t Give Cause or Assign Blame

Los Angeles Times: Brown signs bill lifting ban against light-rail in San Fernando Valley

The Hill: Climate change hits all Pentagon operations, official says

The Hill: Sen. Murkowski blames Obama for drop in federal land energy production

The Hill: Industry to EPA: Climate rule 'not workable'

Rock River Times (IL): Renewable energy featured at Aug. 23-24 fair in Oregon, Ill.

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 22

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Wildfires are raging throughout the Northwest U.S. Over 3,500 people in fire crews are battling the fires in Washington and Oregon alone. Cooler, damp weather may be on the way, to the relief of those battling the flames. (New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING

A scorcher – June was the hottest one on record worldwide. It’s the 38th consecutive June that’s been hotter than average. (San Francisco Chronicle) 

Standing pat – A committee in Montana that was considering the impacts of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard published a report arguing to keep the standard as-is, instead of raising it (or eliminating it). (Bozeman Daily Chronicle) 

The price we’re already paying – An opinion piece talks about the costs we’re already shouldering for carbon pollution and climate change. (Los Angeles Times)

Solar energy growing – Solar energy grew by 4.75 gigawatts in the U.S. last year, but challenges remain globally. (TIME)

Larger impacts of drought – The lingering drought in California is impacting the state’s efforts to grow clean energy. (The Hill)

Costly to small businesses – Congress’ efforts to stop the EPA from limiting carbon pollution may have a detrimental impact to small businesses. (The Hill)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Think Progress: This Congressional Candidate Isn’t Running From Climate Change, She’s Running On It

New York Times: A Reassuring American Presence Joins Talks on Climate Change With China

The Hill: Britain to cut carbon emissions in half despite opposition

Midwest Energy News: Michigan legislators seek ‘energy freedom’ for consumers

The Hill: NHL outlines plan to fight climate change

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Jul 21

The Green Jobs Source for July 21, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: Human Dynamics of Climate Change

From shipping routes to population density, to airports, fishing cyclones and more, new global maps are helping to illustrate climate change’s impacts on our daily lives. (The Carbon Brief)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Under the microscope – Senators will grill Environmental Protection Agency Administrator McCarthy this week in a hearing on the Clean Power Plan. (The Hill)

Highway Trust Fund – The onus is on the Senate to renew funding for the Highway Trust Fund this week now that the House has approved its own measure. (The Hill)

Energy star – One manufacturer has asked Congress to ban class-action lawsuits against Energy Star rated products. (New York Times)

Protecting historic sites – Bostonians work to protect sites of historic importance vulnerable to sea level rise and more. (WBGH)

Carbon tax – One Oregonian argues to bring back the carbon tax because it’s the most effective way to combat climate change. (The Oregonian)

Charleston, WV settlement – Attorneys have reached a $2.9 million agreement with Freedom Industries, the company responsible for a chemical spill that contaminated area drinking water for 300,000 residents. (The Hill)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Los Angeles Times: Lake Morena caught in crosshairs of San Diego's water policy

The Guardian: Great Barrier Reef 'in worst state since records began'

The Sentinel: Midstate Profile: Perry County man revamps truck to run solely on electricity

The Sydney Morning-Herald: Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds

The Guardian: Missed targets: when companies fail to keep their key sustainability promises

Engineering.com: Students Build Record-Breaking Solar Electric Car

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 18

The Green Jobs Source for July 18, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: ACEEE

They didn’t just win the World Cup, Germany came out on top of new energy efficiency rankings of the world’s major economies. The U.S. comes in at number 13 of 16 in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) scorecard. (ACEEE)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Climate compendium - Average sea surface temperatures in 2013 were among the 10 highest on record. This and other data has been compiled and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (New York Times)

Nice, Minnesota – Minnesota has emerged as a clean energy leader now as a state that gets more of its power from wind than only four other states. (New York Times)

Water quality – EPA has awarded $2.1 million in grants to 37 organizations to improve water quality in urban settings. (The Hill)

“Secret science” – Eight GOP senators have introduced a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from using undisclosed scientific studies—what they call “secret science”— to justify regulations. (The Hill)

3-D mapping – As part of President Obama’s efforts to arm communities with both the data and the resources to protect against the threat of climate change, he’s announced a new 3-D mapping tool that would help identify flood risks and more. (USA Today)

Lost ground – The Senate in Sydney, Australia voted to repeal the carbon tax, making it the first country to reverse progress on climate change. (New York Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

New York Times: U.S. Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers

WBEZ : In Dayton, Ohio an economic comeback is in the water

Union of Concerned Scientists: Brilliance from Sea to Shining Sea: Which States are the Clean Energy Superstars?

Clean Technica: India Targets 35% Renewable Energy Share In Installed Capacity Mix By 2050

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 17

The Green Jobs Source for Thursday, July 17, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists

Here’s 10 things you should know about renewable energy investmentsincluding that business is leading the way and poll after poll shows a majority of people support renewable energy investments. (The Guardian)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Acting on climate – The president is taking many comprehensive steps to address climate change while Congress stands by. Here’s our statement on the big steps he announced yesterday. (National Journal)

Clean Power Plan – This piece focuses on making sense of what exactly the Clean Power Plan asks of states with diverse energy portfolios. (Washington Post)

$2.4 trillion – That’s how much climate-related disasters have cost globally since 1971. (Climate Central)

Undercutting clean water – Yesterday a House committee approved two bills that will weaken EPA’s clean water protections. (The Hill)

Global emissions – A leader in carbon pollution, China is expected to release its own climate protection plan early next year. (UPI)

Banking it – Last year New York launched a “green bank,” a state-run $1 billion fund to help get renewable energy and energy efficiency investments up and running. Now more states are considering similar measures. (National Journal)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

On Earth: Hawaii: Climate Wipeout

The Guardian: The carbon tax is dead and there is nothing credible to take its place

City Lab: The U.S. Has Quietly Made Some Remarkable Advances in Fuel-Efficiency

EcoWatch: How Your Tax Dollars Fund Climate Change Denial

The Hill: Scientists Take Issue With Rupert Murdoch’s Remarks on Climate Change

Science 2.0: What Google Trends Reveals About Republican And Democrat Climate Change Concerns

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 16

New Jersey, Come Back! An Open Letter to Governor Christie on RGGI

Ken Kimmell

The following blog by Ken Kimmel, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists was originally posted in The Equation blog. The original is available online here

Dear Governor Christie:

I read today that you plan on formally pulling your state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nine state “cap and trade” program that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Your actions today follow through on steps you took three years ago to take New Jersey out of the program.

As the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists and former chair of RGGI, I urge you to re-consider. I know you like straightforward, no-nonsense communication, so let me be as direct as I can:

RGGI works. The nine RGGI states have cut carbon emissions from their power plants by over 40% and grown their clean energy economies by keeping their energy dollars local, investing over 700 million dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and creating thousands of jobs.

You need RGGI more than ever. The EPA is setting up sensible rules that will require New Jersey to cut its carbon emissions 43% below 2012 levels by 2030. RGGI gives you a great chance to work with your neighboring states and pool resources to make these cuts. Why go it alone when you can do it better by teaming up with your friends?

When you pledged to get out of RGGI three years ago, you made a good point—the program wasn’t working as well as it could because it offered too many “allowances” to the power plants and the price of the allowances was too low. But RGGI fixed that problem last year and now the program is firing on all cylinders.

So Governor, now is the time to recognize that times have changed, and so have you. Come back into this highly successful program. By the way, I am sure that the nine RGGI states would be delighted to have you return.

Please call me if you have any questions.

Ken Kimmell

Posted In: Union of Concerned Scientists
Jul 16

A vision for the next generation labor movement

The following blog post by Kate Thomas was originally posted on the SEIU blog. The original post is available online here

544124_506566246057346_629719948_n.jpgOne thing we know about workers in America today: they are resilient. And no matter the hurdles, workers will continue to find a way to innovate and come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and better wages and benefits in the workplace.

MIT professor Thomas A. Kochan's recent piece on Fortune.com delves into what unions like SEIU and emerging labor groups like the ROC and USAS are doing to restore labor's rightful and necessary place in America.

Kochan also touches on why unions and worker-centered organizations are so important in America today--and why we must support their continued growth:

"America desperately needs a vibrant, innovative, growing, and yes powerful, set of organizations that give voice to and represent workers with their employer and in social and political local and national discourse. No democracy in the world has been sustained over time without some independent institution that stands up for and advances worker rights, interests and economic welfare. Moreover, there is an almost perfect correlation between the decline in union representation and the rise of income inequality."

[...] "So America, it is time to stop fighting all forms of worker voice and representation and instead stand with workers seeking to regain their rightful voice and a fair share of the prosperity they help to generate."

 

The bottom line: When workers stand together to assert their power over our country's economy, they cannot fail. Read Kochan's entire piece on Fortune.com.

Share the article on Facebook here

Posted In: SEIU
Jul 16

Don’t Stop Believin’, Congress Can Avert a Highway Trust Fund Crisis

Congressional gridlock will spell out real traffic headaches for commuters unless Congress approves federal funding for the Highway Trust Fund before it officially runs out September 30. Luckily, this hard deadline and a looming August recess where lawmakers will leave DC and will have to defend what they’re doing to solve transportation problems in their home districts, has finally motivated some lawmakers to go for broke to prevent the trust fund from running out.

The Short-Term Fix

Senator Wyden from Oregon has emerged as a leader on those efforts, having brokered an agreement with Republicans on a plan that would provide almost $11 billion in funding for the Highway Trust Fund—which is enough to keep it up and running until May 2015. Last night showed signs of progress as the House of Representatives approved a measure that funds the Highway Trust Fund for one year, similar to the agreement Senator Wyden hammered out. Now the measure awaits Senate action.  

Further bolstering support for a short-term fix, the White House has signaled it would back a similar measure. However, President Obama and other administration officials haven’t lost sight of the long-view priorities of the Grow AMERICA agenda which the president spoke about in a Washington, DC event recently.

 "Congress should act now, not just to make the repairs desperately needed, but to build the modern infrastructure essential to create and sustain jobs and to build a stronger, more competitive economic future," said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.

BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas attended the event and said, “The state of our nation’s infrastructure not only impacts our economy, but our environment suffers as well. Congress should act now, not just to make the repairs desperately needed, but to build the modern infrastructure essential to create and sustain jobs and to build a stronger, more competitive economic future. The GROW AMERICA Act will help us accomplish just that.”

A Problem That Isn’t Going Away

We can and must do better than another short term fix though. Americans need and deserve a long-term plan that provides adequate funding, sets necessary policy, and gives states time to set priorities and plan projects. America’s roads and transit systems each earned a “D” grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Our nation’s bridges—which have an average age of 42 years old and nearly 65,000 of which are closed or have load restrictions due to age—didn’t fare much better, earning only a “C+” grade.

Now that the House has passed an extension, it’s the Senate’s move. Failing to act on a short-term fix to rescue the Trust fund puts 700,000 jobs at risk immediately—which would be like Congress firing everyone in Wyoming, Washington, D.C., or Vermont.  But our long-term job growth depends on finishing the job.

We still believe Congress can come through on a plan to save the Highway Trust Funding from going bankrupt. But, more than that, we know it’s time for Congress to work together to pass a long-term, fully funded transportation bill that will fix the problems caused by decades of neglect and that will repair and modernize our infrastructure to support a prosperous 21st century economy.

Posted In: Transportation, Infrastructure
Jul 16

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, July 16, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: Think Progress

Capping off three straight record-breaking months, last month has been recorded as the hottest June globally in the 120 years that have been tracked according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Think Progress)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Out of the House – Passed 367-55, members of the House of Representatives last night voted to approve a measure to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from expiring, at least for another year. (The Hill)

Climate change – Today President Obama will be in Montana to announce climate initiatives that will improve the efforts of local cities and towns to protect residents from the effects of climate change. (New York Times)

Case for science – Prominent Florida scientists yesterday attempted to take their case for climate action directly to Governor Rick Scott. (Tampa Bay Times)

Clean energy boom – Globally, clean energy investments have increased to $ 63.6 billion in the second quarter. (Bloomberg)

Selling the farm – Northern states like Michigan are benefiting from a longer growing season by planting record amounts of corn and soybeans. (Michigan Radio)

Green business – Microsoft has expanded its green footprint by announcing its largest ever wind energy purchase, a 175 megawatt facility 60 miles outside of Chicago. (EcoWatch)

Not really a polar vortex – Temperatures up to 25 degrees cooler are blowing through many states this week. (Climate Central)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Texas Tribune: In DFW, Little Traction on Improving Air Quality

USA Today: Taking to the pulpit against climate change

Huffington Post: World Bank Environmental, Social Protections In Need Of Updating, Review Finds

New York Times:When Climate Change Floods Your Heart

The Guardian: History will condemn climate change denialists

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 15

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, July 15

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Key: Dark blue = floods. Light blue = mass movement wet. Green = storms. Yellow = drought. Magenta = extreme temperature. Orange = Wildfires Photograph: /WMO

Climate change has already made the world around us five times more dangerous than it was in the 1970s. During the first decade of the 21st century there were 3,496 natural disasters as compared to 743 during the 1970s. (The Guardian)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Clean Power Plan – An independent analysis concludes states are uniquely positioned to take on the policies to limit carbon pollution laid out in the administration’s Clean Power Plan. (The Hill)

No long-term transportation plan, but a short-term fix – Senator Wyden reached a deal with Republicans that would prevent the Highway Trust Fund from expiring in a few weeks. (The Hill)

Wildfire funding – Three Republican senators introduced a bill to increase funds for wildfire prevention and firefighting. (The Hill)

It’s electric – China has mandated electric vehicles make up 30 percent of vehicles purchased by the government by 2016. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Auto parts workers – In Selma, Alabama more and more auto parts workers are showing signs of upper respiratory illness such as chronic coughing and asthma. (NBC News). 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Bloomberg: Offshore Wind Deal Boosts Clean Energy Investments by 9%

Time: Global Warming Is Coming, but Climate Hysteria Doesn’t Help Anyone

The Hill: IEA’s van der Hoeven applauds EPA climate rule

Los Angeles Times: Organic foods are more nutritious, according to review of 343 studies

Alaska Dispatch News: Laine Welch: In Prince William Sound, remote-controlled gliders measure ocean acidification

New York Times: Our Bees, Ourselves

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Posted In: The Source