BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Sep 18

The Green Jobs Source for Thursday, September 18, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

The wave of clean energy investors continues to grow. A press conference will highlight the collaboration between 340 investors—worth an estimated $24 trillion—who are calling for a global agreement to act on climate change. (Clean Technica)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Obama pushes efficiency, solar – The Obama administration is unveiling a number of actions to improve energy efficiency and spur growth in solar energy on our homes and businesses. The White House says the actions will help reduce carbon pollution by 300 million metric tons by 2030. (The Hill)

A backlog of epic proportions – More than 100,000 repairs are backlogged in Los Angeles schools alone. The repairs run the gamut from compromised fire safety systems to water leaks. (KPCC)

Exposed – Hundreds of workers at a Walmart warehouse in Indianapolis have been exposed to PCBs—or polychlorinated biphenyl—a synthetic organic chemical compound that is highly toxic and classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as "probable human carcinogens." (WBIW)

Congrats! – The Natural Resources Defense Council has chosen Rhea Suh, an official at the Interior Department, to be its new president beginning next year. Suh will take over for Frances Beinecke, who is retiring. (The Hill)

Hulking out on clean energy – Actor Mark Ruffalo wrote a great piece today focused on the success story that green technologies and clean energy have become in America. (Huffington Post)

Sunday – That’s when thousands of people will join the People’s Climate March in New York City. Many unions will be at the event, as will the BlueGreen Alliance. Hope to see you there! (New York Times & NW Labor Press)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Equation: Renewable Energy in California Deserts: New Plan to Guide Smart and Sustainable Development

Los Angeles Times: Climate change may add billions to wildfire costs, study says

Reuters: Why Americans are flocking to their sinking shores even as the risks mount

The Hill: Senators: Higher energy costs could force almost 1 million into poverty 

Huffington Post: New Hydrogen Production Method Could Help Store Renewable Energy

Quincy Patriot Ledger (MA): Are you at risk at your job?

Bangor Daily News (ME): ‘BPA-free’ isn’t enough: We need a new way to bring chemicals to market

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

Sep 17

Infrastructure gets its moment

For many situations, the adage that “nothing in life is free” rings true. At the end of the day, though, fixing climate change could counter that notion. A new report by the New Climate Economy suggests that protecting communities from the effects of climate change and making the necessary preparations for this new reality could add up to zero cost.

The report—and the commission behind it—is the result of the work of 24 former heads of state, including the former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, as well as finance ministers and others from across the world. It explores and suggests several pathways to a stronger and more resilient economy through infrastructure investments and policies that create a clean energy future, rethink land use, stimulate innovation, and more. 

On the cost front, the numbers break down to the following. Infrastructure investments for a “high-carbon” economy are estimated to be around $6 trillion per year. Renewable energy and other related strategies to lower carbon emissions will increase investment requirements to $270 billion per year. According to the report, “These higher capital costs could potentially be fully offset by lower operating costs, for example from reduced expenditure on fuel. Investing in a low-carbon economy is a cost-effective form of insurance against climate risk.”

The report’s authors should be applauded for the attention they give to infrastructure investments in general, but especially to energy infrastructure. The report discusses, “How that money is spent is critically important: it can help build robust, flexible energy systems that will serve countries well for decades to come, or it can lock in an energy infrastructure that exposes countries to future market volatility, air pollution, and other environmental and social stresses.”

The report explores and suggests several pathways to a stronger and more resilient economy through infrastructure investments and policies that create a clean energy future, rethink land use, stimulate innovation, and more.  

These are the same policies the BlueGreen Alliance has put at the forefront of its Repair America campaign because prioritizing infrastructure investments is a “twofer” for the environmental and economic benefits that can result.

These findings provide a prologue to what will be a constructive debate about where we go from here on climate action on a global stage, especially prior to the People’s Climate March this weekend. The march will take place ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit—a gathering of over 100 world leaders in New York City next week to discuss larger efforts to limit carbon emissions. The march is an effort to send a message that the stakes are high and to pressure leaders to take head on the challenge of climate change.

The good news is that more people than ever are tuned in to what will happen next on climate action. The convergence of events over the next week—including the release of this report, the People’s Climate March and other events leading up to the U.N. Climate Summit—may lead some to think we’ve reached a new height of environmental awareness. Maybe we have, but regardless this is just the beginning of much more work to come that will require us all to roll up our sleeves and implement the solutions that come from all of these great discussions. 

Posted In: Climate Change, Infrastructure
Sep 17

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, September 17, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Image credit: Climate Central 

Folks in Washington, D.C. may want to invest in scuba gear. By 2050, the nation’s capital may see record flooding that will put $7 billion worth of property, three military bases, and parts of the National Mall at risk, according to a new report. (New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING

More than 100,000 – That’s how many people are expected at the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday. In a surprise move, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonwill be joining those marching. The event takes place just days before an international climate summit featuring of 120 world leaders, including President Obama. (New York Daily News) 

A little longer – The EPA is expanding the window for comments on the Clean Power Plan, giving the public 45 more days to weigh in on the plan before it is finalized by next summer. (Washington Post) 

Polling – This article examines what polling tells us about how Americans view our energy future(Boston Globe) 

Found lacking – An editorial argues that guidelines to protect people from water problems—like the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie this summer—are lacking. (Columbus Dispatch)

Congrats! – A vote from workers at the new American Airlines will form a collective bargaining unit of 14,500 employees at the airlines. They’ll be represented by the Communications Workers of America-Teamsters Association.

Ahead of the curve – Polling has found Latinos are way ahead of the curve on climate change. This piece examines some of the reasons. (CleanEnergy.org)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Environmental Health News: Kids exposed in the womb to plasticizers more likely to have asthma

Politico: Bobby Jindal: White House ‘science deniers

New York Times: France Bets on Geothermal Energy

Huffington Post: We Need More Women in Energy and STEM

Detroit Free Press: Consumers settles EPA lawsuit over coal plant emissions

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

Sep 16

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, September 16, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

You may not know this, but many of the textbooks used around the U.S. originate in Texas and are approved by the state’s Board of Education. Groups are questioning the integrity of proposed social studies textbooks, saying they misrepresent and distort scientific findings on climate change. Dr. Minda Berbeco, director of the National Center for Science Education, said of the proposed textbooks, “Climate change will be a key issue that future citizens of Texas will need to understand and confront, and they deserve social studies textbooks that reinforce good science and prepare them for the challenges ahead.” (Houston Chronicle)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

No big costs – According to a new study, tackling climate change may add no additional costs to the world economy. The study shows that $90 trillion is likely to be spent over the coming 15 years on new infrastructure around the world and asserts the big challenge for governments is to adopt rules and send stronger market signals that redirect much of that investment toward low-emission options. (New York Times) 

Growing fast - Last year, new global capacity of wind, solar, and other renewable power grew by more than any year in history. (Christian Science Monitor) 

Tax reform and renewables – The Senate Finance Committee tomorrow will hear from industry and economists about dozens of permanent or temporary tax incentives—like the expiredProduction Tax Credit for wind energy. (E&E News) 

No storage needed – A new study says Germany’s shift to renewable energy can be done without new energy storage infrastructure. (Bloomberg)

Badger State – As the state falls behind neighbors in renewable energy production, an opinion piece calls for increased efforts to grow renewables in Wisconsin. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Getting 100% - Burlington, Vermont has achieved something great: the city of 42,000 now is getting 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. That state itself is looking to get 90 percent of its electricity and heating from renewables by 2050. (Newsnet 5) 

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

E&E News: Autonomous and connected car technologies may progressively curb emissions 

Mother Jones: Why March in the Biggest Climate Change Demonstration Ever?

Washington Post: Obama seeks faster phaseout of popular coolant in effort to curb greenhouse gases

Louisville Courier-Journal (KY): Severe black lung returns to 1970s levels

Portland Press Herald (ME): Our View: Renewable energy could spark Maine’s economy

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

Sep 15

The Green Jobs Source for Monday, September 15, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

In Europe, Germany’s renewable energy efforts are driving down costs. And, in the U.S.—with a gridlocked Congress that has failed to provide real leadership—states have taken the lead in setting renewable energy targets and other policies to spur growth in clean energy. (New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Same old stuff – Expect the U.S. House this week to take a barrage of votes on energy policies that will go nowhere in the Senate. (The Hill) 

Solar storm threat? – New warnings highlight how solar storms may be a threat to our nation’s power grid. (E&E News) 

Accident – An accident at a gas pipeline off the coast of Louisiana has killed one worker and injured two others. (The Hill)T

Blue and Red = Green – A new study from Stanford shows how state action in both Blue and Red States are making energy greener. (Clean Technica)

Flame retardants – Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is proposing a ban of 10 flame retardants found in products for children. The toxic chemicals can be found in everything from crib mattresses to changing tables. (CBS New York)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

US News & World Report: Bill to overhaul how chemicals are regulated faces uphill battle in Senate

The Guardian: The Guardian view on the unchanging message from climate scientists

New York Times: Wary of U.N. Action, Australia Unveils Plan to Aid Great Barrier Reef

ABC: Climate Change Activists Organize New York March Ahead of UN Summit

National Law Review: When a Worker Loses an Arm, Who Knows About It?

Public News Service: Poll: Wisconsin Voters Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy

The Kansas City Star: Keep Kansas’ renewable energy mandate and the benefits of wind power

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

Sep 12

The Green Jobs Source for Friday, September 12, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Cleveland is succeeding in charging ahead with expanding renewable energy sources despite state-wide efforts to freeze progress. Stark County for example has 15 companies involved in the wind energy supply chain. Ohio has the potential to generate 141,000 gigawatt hours of electricity just from offshore wind farms in Lake Erie. (Inside Climate News & New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Courageous effort – Efforts to save the ozone layer were courageous and paid off. One columnist argues it’s time to muster that same courage to combat climate change . This is in stark contrast to another mind-bending view that rising carbon levels are “cause for celebration”. (The Guardian)

Granite state race – A new poll by the League of Conservation Voters reveals 48 percent of voters would be less likely to support a candidate who does not accept the reality of climate change. (Washington Post)

Collapsed – A new report shows warmer air caused a huge ice shelf to collapse in Antarctica in 2002. (Huffington Post)

Taking a toll – A new poll shows 79 percent of Americans support raising tolls in order to help fund new transportation projects. (The Hill)

Extension – A group of senators requests a 60-day extension on a proposed rule to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants. (Huffington Post)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Chicago Sun-Times: A ray of hope on Earth’s future

Bloomberg: India Offshore Wind Policy to Target 1 Gigawatt by 2020

The Guardian: Hope for clean economy as $20bn in green bonds are issued in 2014

Climate Progress: The Really Important Reason Why Cutting Carbon Emissions Might Improve Britain’s Economy

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

Sep 11

A few of the surprising people who are taking the lead preparing communities for climate change

The following blog is by Erin Bzymek, press secretary for the BlueGreen Alliance.

On the national level, the political landscape for helping communities better prepare for the effects of climate change is a little hazy. For cities and towns that are feeling the effects of more severe flooding and frequent power outages first hand, the need to be better prepared is pretty clear cut, but they’re not calling it climate preparedness. With scientific proof on their side that climate change is and will continue to affect communities, cities like Grand Haven, Michigan, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, are making the necessary repairs and upgrades to handle more severe weather.

What are the necessary repairs?

Upgrades and repairs include shoring up dams, using roof gardens to manage rain flow and upgrading sewage systems to better manage overflows. These preparations are being made without ever uttering the words “climate change,” especially in some communities where it’s a point of contention. In Tulsa, OK, the city is limiting development near the Arkansas River in order to prevent flood damage to homes in the first place.

Pictured left: An overflow drain with a rain garden.

Between the algae blooms in Lake Erie and Metro Detroit flooding, many of us have recently seen first-hand some of the devastating impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These situations are destroying homes, roads, and even preventing communities from having access to clean drinking water. Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. spent $188 billion on disaster relief rebuilding our communities after extreme weather events that are only getting worse with climate change.

A plan to Repair America

It’s a no-brainer then that communities are moving forward with these preparations. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America campaign is driven by the same motivations that have prompted cities like Grand Haven to evaluate and repair its infrastructure. By addressing climate change and ensuring the systems we rely on every day—to get us back and forth to work, supply our power, keep us safe from floods when storms rage, and more—are prepared for climate change, we can create good jobs for workers, make our systems more efficient and reduce pollution, and protect our families and communities.  

“History will bear out who has the right answers" about climate change, said Mayor McCaleb.

Climate preparedness, by any name

Many cities choose to describe these efforts as disaster preparedness above all. Regardless of the name, the need to fix the infrastructure systems intended to protect communities during severe weather is a common goal. According to Geri McCaleb who is the mayor of Grand Haven and also a driving force behind repairs and upgrades in her own community, “History will bear out who has the right answers" about climate change.

While it’s true that history will tell the truth about who’s right on climate change, we can’t afford to wait any longer to act. The local leaders who are making the preparations for more severe weather are doing the right thing now. Both Congress and other local elected officials would be doing right by themselves and hundreds of others if they followed the example Mayor McCaleb and others.

Posted In: Climate Change
Sep 11

The Green Jobs Source for Thursday, September 11, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

This week, Californians surpassed the mark of purchasing 100,000 electric vehicles. (Los Angeles Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING

People’s movement – On September 21, a huge turnout is expected for the People’s Climate March. It is an effort to draw attention to climate change before the United Nations summit. (Huffington Post)

Save the forests – Pine and aspen forests that are abundant in the west are dying off. (USA Today)

Outside the fence – Governors from 15 states contest President Obama’s efforts to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants. (The Hill)

Virtually impossible – Security experts report that it would be virtually impossible for hackers to cause a widespread, prolonged power outage in North America. (Politico)

Successful recovery – Implementation of the Montreal Protocol has helped to restore the earth’s protective ozone layer. That doesn’t mean we can let up on taking climate action. (The Independent)

Debunking “Mind & Matter” – Joe Romm from Think Progress corrects an error-riddled Wall Street Journal column by Matt Ridley. (Think Progress)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Washington Post: App aims to map sea level rise flooding hot spots

Los Angeles Times: Google invests $145 million in Kern County solar project

Tampa Bay Times: Renewable energy coalition to push for more solar in Florida 

Times of India: India reverses plan to impose solar panel duties before Modi meets Obama

Los Angeles Times: China's battle plans in war on air pollution under scrutiny

Nature: Climate policy: Rethink IPCC reports

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

Sep 10

Doing More, Not Less

At UPS, sustainability success starts with employees, not just newer and better technology 

The following blog is written by Jim Bruce, Vice President for Energy and Environmental Policy at UPS.

Sustainability is often about creating or doing less—less waste, lower emissions. But is that the right approach? 

What if, instead, we were committed to doing more? 

Many corporate sustainability reports look and feel the same, but the best ones tell a story—what a company did, how it is leading, and what it is doing to take ownership of environmental and social concerns. 

When UPS released its sustainability report this week, we shared that: 

  • We became one of the first U.S. companies to use the world’s most rigorous carbon reporting standard (known as GRI comprehensive G4), raising the bar for corporate transparency
  • We doubled our transportation carbon intensity reduction target, from a 10 percent reduction by 2016 to 20 percent by 2020
  • We reduced our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 percent, even while our overall package volume increased 3.9 percent
  • We built on our track record of humanitarian aid and volunteerism, contributing $7.5 million of in-kind and cash support to relief causes 

These are good headlines—great, even. But what’s missing from them is how they were all made possible by real employees going further—for the company, for our customers, for our communities. 

Employees, as it turns out, are at the heart of every corporate sustainability effort. You can’t accomplish anything without their support and risk-taking, and we often don’t adequately recognize that they play a more significant role than any new development in alternative fuels or emissions technology. After all, the technology is out there and available, the question is who is going to seize the opportunity. UPSers aren’t just innovating; they aren’t just volunteering in our communities; they aren’t just working to expand our service offerings. They’re doing all of those things and more. 

In today’s increasingly global, increasingly visible business environment, we all have the opportunity to lead by example. We all have the opportunity to do more—not less. As the Blue Green Alliance—and UPS’s own track record—have shown, business growth and job creation don’t have to be at odds with doing the right thing for the environment. In fact, the two often go hand-in-hand. 

UPS is a corporate advisory board member of the Blue Green Alliance. To learn more about UPS’s sustainability efforts and the 2013 annual report, visit www.sustainability.ups.com

Posted In: Climate Change
Sep 10

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Clean Technica

One of the largest public university systems in the country—the University of California—has made one of the largest solar purchases by an American university. (Washington Post)

WHAT’S TRENDING

The birds – Two National Audubon Society heads ask birds be given a fighting chance after releasing a report yesterday that shows many bird species—including the Minnesota Loon—are threatened. (Washington Post)

Below water – Florida officials examine ways to prepare for sea level rises along beachfronts. (The Florida Times-Union)

Climate central – Hundreds of climate activists will converge on New York City to demand action on climate change. According to the UN Climate Chief, 125 world leaders have confirmed they will participate in the UN Climate Summit. (Ecowatch & RTCC)

Two degrees – Examining the possible outcomes of the UN Climate Summit and the limits of national pledges. (The Guardian)

Kansans for a strong RPS – A Wichita Eagle editorial urges that Kansans support a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard. (Wichita Eagle)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

The Hill: House passes bill to halt EPA water rule

Los Angeles Times: UC money plan aids environment, but divestment uncertain

New York Times: Hopes for a Strong El Niño Fade in California

The Hill: DOT announces $950M loan to Fla. highway project

Huffington Post: Be the ‘Disruption’

Wall Street Journal: EPA Is Right on Lower Ozone Levels

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