BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Oct 24

The Green Jobs Source for Friday, October 24, 2014

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)

$15 billion – The additional amount Warren Buffet plans to commit to investing in renewable energy projects. (Wall Street Journal)

Going solar – Big utility companies that have in the past resisted solar investments are now getting in on the game. (Reuters)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Gulf Business: Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power Shifts Toward Renewable Energy

The Guardian: Canada switches on world's first carbon capture power plant

Los Angeles Times: 199 drought maps reveal just how thirsty California has become

Washington Post: Meet the mysterious microbes fueling climate change

Think Progress: Texans Call On School Board To Remove Climate Denial From Textbooks

USA Today: Eight automakers join in electric car charging test

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
Oct 23

Infographics for Making the Grade report

Making the Grade: How Investments in America’s Infrastructure Benefit Our Economy and Environment is our innovative report shows that 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. 

Below, you'll find infographics for the report. Click on the images below for full-sized graphics. Please feel free to share these on social media:

 

 

 

Oct 23

The Green Jobs Source for October 23, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Five years and 2,000 scientists later , the U.N. will release a report by over 30 governments pushing a strong explanation of climate change that presses the urgency of taking action. (Bloomberg)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Securing solar – Employees at four companies through a new arrangement will have the option of buying or leasing solar systems for their homes at discounted rates. (New York Times)

Mission: secede – The city of South Miami recently passed a resolution to separate from northern Florida. The divisive issue this time however isn’t politics or money, it’s about climate change. (National Journal)

Campaigns & elections – The midterm election is a few days away and the issue of the environment has never been a more important issue for voters. (EcoWatch)

Fast track – A new prototype train in Japan brought riders through the mountains at top speeds of 314 miles per hour—what would be a one hour trip from New York City to Washington, DC. (New York Times)

Clear cut case – Energy is key to repositioning Michigan as a manufacturing power. (The Detroit News)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Time: Why Receipts and Greasy Fingers Shouldn’t Mix

Bloomberg: EU Braces for Battle to Set Energy Goals for Next Decade

Washington Post: There’s a surprisingly strong link between climate change and violence

U.S. News & World Report: Which States Are Most, Least Energy Efficient?

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

Oct 22

The Clean Water Act -- 42 Birthday Candles and Half a Million Americans Who Support It

The following blog by Jon Devine, Senior Attorney for the NRDC in Washington, DC was originally posted in The Switchboard blog. The original post is available online here.

Forty-two years ago this past Saturday, Congress passed the law known today as the Clean Water Act.  I salute their forethought and bipartisan leadership, not just because I make my living implementing that law, but because it has helped to restore waters that are special to me. 

I grew up in Massachusetts, where the water pollution was so bad in Boston Harbor and the Charles River that the Standells’ “Dirty Water”became the city’s unofficial anthem.  I remember going into Boston on a boat for Fourth of July fireworks and my mom telling me not to touch the Charles.  My family also spent a lot of weekends by the Pemigewasset River in New Hampshire, which “was for yearsone of the most polluted rivers in New England, the repository for raw sewage from factories and towns,” and which “emitted an overwhelming odor and was known to peel the paint off buildings located on its banks.”  Today, these water bodies are significantly improved – thanks in part to the Clean Water Act’s requirements limiting pollution into the nation’s waters.  My sisters and I could swim in the Pemigewasset, and when we took a “duck boat” tour of Boston a few years back, I didn’t have to warn my own kids not to touch the water.

Despite the law’s successes, it is under attack today.  Many waters around the country are at risk of becoming polluted because a pair of Supreme Court decisions and policies implemented by the prior administration left the status of small streams and wetlands in legal limbo.  As a result, it is unclear today whether the law protects these kinds of resources from pollution or destruction, even though they help provide drinking water for one in three Americans.  I’ve discussed this problem more times than I care to count, dating from my very first post on this site seven years ago.

We’re hopeful that this mess will soon be cleared up and this dangerous loophole will be fixed, thanks to the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Water Protection Rule.  Sadly, a daunting lineup of industry lobby groups have joined together to attack the proposal.  I’ve previously posted an overview of the clean water proposal, as well as a number of blogs responding to the misinformation campaign that opponents have launched.

After many years of work on this issue, I’m extremely excited today to report that NRDC and other environmental groups, sportsmen, health advocates, and the sustainable business community are delivering more than 500,000 comments in support of the proposed clean water rule to the Environmental Protection Agency.  (Don’t fret about the trees – this is mostly a virtual, not paper, delivery.)  We’re announcing this milestone at an event along the Anacostia River in the Washington, D.C. area, another water body I am happy to report has been significantly improved thanks to the law.  Today’s event showcases the enormous support that Americans have for protective clean water policies.  It should be an inspiration to the Obama administration to keep moving forward to strengthen and finalize its proposal, and it should be a warning to polluters and their political allies on Capitol Hill that they risk alienating the public when they attack clean water.

To all of you who have commented and whose comments we’re delivering today – thank you!  Your involvement in this process is critical to getting a strong final set of protections in place.  And if you haven’t yet had the chance to weigh in, you can still do so, as the comment period on the rule was recently extended until November 14th.  You can take action to support it by clicking here

Posted In: Climate Change, Natural Resources Defense Council
Oct 22

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, October 22, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Want to know how your state ranks on energy efficiency? The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a state-by-state report card today. The report card will be released at 11:30 a.m. ET today. (ACEEE)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Through the campaign lens – The upcoming midterm elections serves up a chance to view how energy and environmental issues are polling in battleground states. (New York Times)

Uptick – According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon emissions rose 2.5 percent last year. (The Hill)

Building a supergrid – In response to concerns about power grid vulnerability from hackers and extreme weather, the Pentagon is pushing for the construction of stand alone power grids at military bases. (Wall Street Journal)

Odd couple – Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) team up to figure out how climate change affects their respective states. (Los Angeles Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Washington Post: Climate records are breaking so often now, we’ve stopped paying attention

Scientific American: Oceans Could Lose $1 Trillion in Value Due to Acidification

EcoWatch: Top 10 Greenest Countries in the World

New York Times: Is There Room for Agreement on the Merits and Limits of Efficient Lighting

Grist: We were promised methane regulations! Where are our methane regulations?!

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
Oct 21

Labor and environmentalists join forces to reduce methane emissions

Just over a week ago the BlueGreen Alliance—a coalition of 15 of America’s largest labor unions and national environmental groups representing more than 15 million members and supporters—sent a letter to President Obama supporting national standards to reduce methane emissions. EDF’s Natural Gas Director of Communications, Lauren Whittenberg, recently talked with Rob McCulloch, Director of Infrastructure Programs at BlueGreen Alliance to learn more about their interest in this issue. 

Lauren: Hi Rob. Can you tell us a little about BlueGreen Alliance, and the work you’re doing?

Rob: BlueGreen alliance is a national partnership working to find common ground among labor unions and environmental groups and advance policies that help build a cleaner, fairer, and more competitive American economy.

Our partners agree: Our nation’s response to today’s environmental challenges will determine our future economy. It is important that our response includes the creation of good, family-sustaining jobs for future generations.

Part of this transition is represented by new manufacturing and operations jobs that will make the energy that powers our economy more efficient and less polluting. According to a new report, industries tackling methane reduction represent a significant opportunity to create those good, family-sustaining jobs we need for a clean economy here at home. America should be leading the world in creating, manufacturing, and deploying these technologies.

Lauren: What are the environmental benefits of reducing methane?

Rob: Atmospheric methane created by human activities are the next biggest contributor to climate change behind carbon dioxide—if we’re serious about fighting climate change, reducing methane needs to be part of the equation. Whether it’s via repairing and replacing our leak-prone natural gas distribution pipes, or continuing to develop and deploy technologies that prevent the escape of methane to the atmosphere, we can be doing a lot to reduce emissions right here, right now. We believe doing it in these ways helps strengthen—not disrupt—our economy.

Also, the technologies being deployed to reduce methane often have the co-benefit of reducing other pollution.

Lauren: What’s the economic opportunity to reduce methane emissions?

Rob: It’s estimated we can eliminate as much as half of all climate-warming methane emissions across our oil and gas sector in the next five years using proven, low-cost technologies—we’re not talking about reinventing the wheel here. And as the report I mentioned suggests, we have a lot to gain. American companies are rightfully at the forefront of emission-reduction technology, creating and supporting good jobs and stimulating local economies.

Keeping methane out of the atmosphere will help companies cut waste in addition to reducing the climate change impact of these emissions. A recent report by ICF International estimates methane emissions could be reduced by 40 percent below projected 2018 levels at an average annual cost of less than one cent per thousand cubic feet of produced natural gas

Lauren: Thanks. Do you have anything else to add?

Rob: Moving forward on a national methane standard benefits not only the environment but American workers. In some cases, the private sector is already implementing methane pollution reduction measures on their own accord. And, while some states have taken action to reduce methane emissions, no national standards are in place to effectively reduce methane leakage – which would protect our communities and economy.

Our partnership will continue to support strong efforts to reduce carbon emissions—including the Clean Power Plan rule that’s moving from paper to reality. But, to effectively fight climate change, we need to reduce methane emissions as well.

We’re already seeing the impacts of extreme weather events that climate change only intensifies, like floods and droughts. The upcoming anniversary of Hurricane Sandy reminds us all there is no time to wait. The clock is ticking, and Americans are ready to go to work.

 

 

Posted In: Climate Change, Infrastructure
Oct 21

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, October 21, 2014

 

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: NOAA

Last year, there were nine extreme weather events where losses exceeded $1 billion. A new report out today by the National Wildlife Federation—Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods: Protecting America’s Communities and Ecosystems in an Era of Extreme Weather—delves into what’s causing all of this. (National Wildlife Federation)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Curbing methane – California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill requiring the state to come up with a comprehensive strategy to curb methane emissions. (News Observer)

Hot year – After another record-breaking month in terms of temperature, 2014 is on pace to become the hottest year in history. (The Guardian)

Hitting the breaks – A measure that would regulate the energy efficiency of high intensity lamps used in gymnasiums, warehouses and parking lots has been put on hold by the Department of Energy. (The Hill)

Path to Lima – At climate talks in Bonn, Germany this week, vulnerable countries make it clear that they want far more action on climate change in the lead up to the Lima Conference of the Parties (COP) later this year. (Responding to Climate Change)

Time for political expediency – This piece calls for action after algae blooms in Lake Erie contaminated the water supply. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Inside Climate News: 5 Lose-Lose Senate Races for Climate Advocates

NBC News: 'Drought' Beer: California Breweries Hit a Dry Spell

New York Times: De Blasio Sees Progress for Hurricane Sandy Victims Through a Program He Overhauled

Reuters: Is it time to abandon 2 degrees?

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
Oct 20

The Green Jobs Source for Monday, October 20, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

America can nearly quadruple renewable energy investments in the next 15 years, according to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report uses the gains states have seen in renewable energy over the last five years as a starting point. (Clean Technica)

WHAT’S TRENDING

53 storms in 2 days – During June, scientists witnessed a five-tornado supercell. A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows tornado clusters like this are becoming more frequent. (E&E News)

Climate assessment – The United Nations releases its final report on climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. The report confirms Australia is increasingly affected by climate change. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Water level anomalyWater levels in some of the deepest of the Great Lakes are rising—bucking trends for this time of year. (Detroit News)

On to something – A Texas company that received $28 million from the Department of Energy will be able to capture 83,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year by using carbon capture technology. (New York Times)

Solutions-oriented – Florida climate scientists request another meeting with Governor Rick Scott to brief him on their climate findings. (Tallahassee Democrat)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Time: This Is What Hurricane Gonzalo Looks Like From Space

The Guardian: Amazon deforestation picking up pace, satellite data reveals

Alaska Dispatch News: Alaska Arctic Policy Commission hears concerns about economy, climate change

EcoWatch: In Antarctica, Time Is Melting Away

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

Oct 16

Ohio: The State Trying Hard to Forget Its Own Energy Successes

Ohio is racing towards earning the hapless distinction of being a place where success doesn’t matter—at least when it comes to renewable energy. It is the home of both one of the most successful renewable energy programs in the country but also ground zero for draconian efforts to stunt the growth of renewable energy policies in the future. As the state’s politics work to undercut economic growth, its low-income and working families will feel the consequences of the governor and state legislators’ actions.  

One example is Ohio’s Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP). It is a successful effort to improve energy efficiency while at the same time working to save low-income families 20 percent or more on energy bills. That is important because according to an analysis by Policy Matters Ohio and the 2013 Home Energy Affordability Gap Report, “…more than 300,000 Ohio households pay over 30 percent of their annual income just on their home energy bills alone.”

What does it mean to weatherize a home?

Home weatherization is a low-cost and highly effective way to improve heating and cooling efficiency and includes things such as the following: improving wall, attic and floor insulation; blower-door guided air sealing; heating system safety tests, repairs and tune-ups; duct insulation and sealing; hot-water savings measures; and energy related home repairs.

Federal home weatherization programs are succeeding in returning $2.50 in savings for every dollar invested not only in Ohio but also across the country.

Federal home weatherization programs are succeeding in returning $2.50 in savings for every dollar invested not only in Ohio but also across the country.  

What’s successful about Ohio’s weatherization program?

Key findings of the Policy Matters analysis reveal:

  • Weatherization generates jobs, reduces pollution and increases home values.
  • Ohio’s clean energy standards are credited for driving a seven-fold increase investment in low-income weatherization.
  • Freezing and eliminating Ohio’s efficiency standard will eliminate more than $300 million from weatherization services over 10 years (equivalent to funding the weatherization of homes of 50,000 families).

The HWAP is one of the best weatherization programs in the country, but efforts in the state to freeze renewable energy investments threaten its efforts to create jobs, save families money on energy costs and stimulate growth in emerging energy sectors. Ohioans must overturn the freeze on these investments.

Does renewable energy really matter?

Yes, renewable energy is a matter of energy bill savings, economic growth and job creation in Ohio and across the country.  Renewable energy markets surged the first half of the year. Overall U.S. investment in renewable energy reached $7.3 billion up from $5.7 billion. The companies and states that ride this rising tide of energy growth will see a return on investment. Pull back the curtain on renewable energy and energy efficiency investments like HWAP, and there’s a lot more to the story than what the politicians who froze Ohio’s renewable energy standard will give credit—something that for the rest of us is hard to forget.

Posted In: Ohio, Clean Energy
Oct 16

The Green Jobs Source for Thursday, October 16, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…















Photo: A view of the toxic algae bloom near Toledo, OH earlier this summer. 

A new study says climate change and invasive species helped fuel the growth of large algae blooms in Lake Erie earlier this year and urges action now to protect the lake. (Detroit News)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Clean water – An editorial says the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should go forward with their plan to protect water in lakes, streams and wetlands to ensure Americans have access toclean water. (Scranton Times-Tribune) 

Serious melting – The host country of the international climate summit this year is seeing climate change impacts. Peru’s glaciers have shrunk 40 percent and the melt has created 1,000 new high altitude lakes since 1980. (Reuters) 

Crowdfunding solar – The first offering of “solar bonds” in the U.S. may democratize the way solar projects are funded. (The Guardian) 

Granted – Over $600,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy will be going to Vermont to advance innovative approaches to develop local clean energy. The funding is part of $5 million provided for projects in 13 states. (VermontBiz)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Businessweek: German Clean-Energy Costs Drop for First Time

The Hill: Green group sues EPA over new weed killer approval

The Hill: EPA offers $3M to replace school bus engines

E&E News: Can environmental groups and loggers work to limit the destruction of tropical forests?

Deseret News (UT): Clean energy advocates showcase benefits of electric vehicles

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