COP24: Clean Energy Highlights From the First Week of Climate Talks in Poland (December 8, 2018)

COP24: Clean Energy Highlights From the First Week of Climate Talks in Poland

Green Tech Media article by Emma Feohringer Merchant - 

Climate negotiators meet to hash out rules for the Paris climate agreement.

Climate negotiators meet to hash out rules for the Paris climate agreement.

International climate negotiators started work last week on global rules to meet the Paris agreement, a pact designed to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

As the first week of COP24 rolls into the second, grave warnings surround the conversations. Research released last week showed that global emissions are again on the rise, after a brief break. In 2018, scientists said emissions would rise 2.7 percent. This year’s levels hit a record high, driven mostly by energy use. 

Growth in oil and natural gas generation, as well as persistent coal use, means energy produced from thermal sources is still outpacing the decarbonization of the energy sector. According to authors of one report released last week, “peak emissions will occur only when total fossil CO2 emissions finally start to decline despite growth in global energy consumption, with fossil energy production replaced by rapidly growing low- or no-carbon technologies.” 

The news joins a series of reports released in recent months with similar warnings about climate change. Over the weekend, negotiators quibbled over how much recognition to give to a recent, landmark United Nations report on climate change. The debates, which again demonstrate the global divisions that still exist over climate action, add more urgency to the clean energy announcements that global governments, corporations and advocates have so far aligned with the meeting in Katowice, Poland. 

Clean energy targets, but coal, too

During climate talks, the Council of the European Union signed revised directives on renewable energy and energy efficiency. By 2030, the council said, renewables will account for 32 percent of energy use in the European Union (EU), an increase from its previous 27 percent target. To drive that growth, the council said it would reduce charges and fees for rooftop solar and step up supportive market designs.

For its efficiency targets, the EU will increase energy savings by 0.8 percent each year between 2021 and 2030. It set a topline energy efficiency target of at least 32.5 percent by 2030.

At the same time, the EU said it would increase renewables in transport to 14 percent.

The EU’s announcement may act as a challenge to other global economies. Countries are set to revisit and increase ambition on their Paris commitments before 2020. Though countries such as Canada have said at the talks they’d do so, that depends on progress made in Poland. 

Royal Dutch Shell also dropped an ambitious climate announcement this week, pledging to set short-term climate targets and tie the goals to executive salaries. Shell said the targets would help it “thrive through the energy transition.” The major has slowly, but increasingly moved into clean energy with investments in companies like NewMotion and GI Energy. Shell was also the world's ninth largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2015, according to the Carbon Majors Database.

Other energy companies are also speaking up about the global transition at COP24. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy, with members including Enel, National Grid and Austin Energy, hosted a Friday event  and published a solution paper boosting the business case for clean energy.   

At the same time though, coal kept a strong presence in the first week of COP24. On Wednesday, the conservative Heartland Institute and Solidarity, a Polish trade union, published a joint declaration that denied the consensus on climate change. The groups also said they do not support eliminating coal from global energy portfolios. 

Polish President Andrzej Duda, in a COP24 speech, also looked to assuage possible concerns from the country’s coal miners. “As long as I’m president of Poland,” he said. “I won’t let anyone murder coal-mining.”

The U.S. is also gearing up for a pro-fossil fuels event on Monday that aims to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible.” Axios reported that the event will include Steve Winberg, who works in fossil energy at the Department of Energy, as well as speakers focused on natural gas and advanced nuclear power. 

Red light for French fuel tax and other clean transportation efforts

As climate talks got underway, French president Emmanuel Macron announced he would nix a planned increase in fuel taxes in order to quell protests in the very same city where the Paris agreement was brokered. 

France’s “Yellow Vest” movement demonstrates that government-led climate action can be tenuous in any country. Members of the movement joinedprotests calling for climate action over the weekend, but Jacky Roy, mayor of France’s Vouvant, toldBloomberg that people are upset about higher fuel costs and still waiting to see the advantages of tax cuts. 

In Katowice, that frustration was linked to greater efforts to push forward carbon taxes.     

“People worry about worsening climate impact costs, but they are also genuinely concerned about the economic impact carbon pricing will have on their lives,” said Joe Robertson, Global Strategy Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, at a COP24 event. “We can allay these fears by taking the revenue from carbon fees and giving it to the people.” 

The World Resources Institute (WRI) argued that the Yellow Vests movement had in fact centered climate action in the protests, calling for "real ecological policy and not a few piecemeal fiscal measures” put in place by the government.

Reuters reported that though some COP24 delegates were disappointed the tax was pulled back, others said it was somewhat half-baked because it would disproportionately impact rural areas. WRI's take on the protests highlighted the importance of addressing social inequity in tackling climate change — a key negotiating point of this year's COP.   

Stepping into its hosting shoes, Poland this week submitted a declaration called “Driving Change Together," which proposes e-mobility as a permanent topic of discussion at future COPs. The initiative also creates a partnership of organizations, subnational governments and cities that will work internationally on e-mobility and meet at least once a year.

So far, 40 countries have signed onto the initiative (the U.S. has not). Washington state, Quebec, and organizations like the We Mean Business Coalition joined national governments in signing the declaration.

Coinciding with the effort, Poland said it would invest €3 to €4 billion (about $3.4 to $4.5 billion) in low-emissions public transport. It’s looking to buy over 1,000 electric busses.

World Bank and the International Association of Public Transport also launched a new report on electric mobility and development that lays out policy suggestions for countries to advance clean transportation using examples from around the world. 

“Uncertainty is an overarching theme above all, considering the nascent state of eMobility uptake globally,” the report’s authors wrote. But they added that governmental initiatives like vehicle subsidies and charging infrastructure could push forward “policy predictability” to help the deployment of electrified transport.   

At the same time that many parties were encouraging clean transportation targets, though, the Trump administration said it is looking to remove tax credits for electric vehicles.

Congress has final say over the subsidies. But the White House’s stand this week is another example of America's faltering leadership.

Industry Delegation to Promote American Clean Energy Solutions at U.N. Climate Change Conference (December 3, 2018)

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Laura Tierney
EMAIL: ltierney@bcse.org

December 3, 2018                                                                                                                

 Industry Delegation to Promote American Clean Energy Solutions at U.N. Climate Change Conference

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will lead a delegation of its industry members to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

WHEN: December 3-14, 2018

WHERE: Katowice, Poland

WHY: The Council will participate in COP 24 to share the progress of the rapid transformation that is occurring in the energy sector in the United States and how clean energy is not only reducing emissions but improving the resilience of communities to withstand the impacts of a changing climate. 

The Council will advocate for governments to deliver a clear and transparent Rulebook at COP 24 that protects the integrity of the Paris Agreement and sets a common framework for action. Read more about the Council’s position and priorities for COP 24 in this brief Powering Action: Clean Energy Solutions for COP 24.

BCSE President Lisa Jacobson offers the following comment on the importance of COP 24:

“With the recent release of the National Climate Assessment in the U.S., the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5  ̊C, and the first-ever gathering of sub-national actors at the Global Climate Action Summit, the call to action is even louder.  National governments must heed this urgent call and move collectively and quickly towards the implementation phase of the Paris Agreement. 

“From the perspective of the clean energy sector, with falling costs of technology and new sources of energy supply coming online, we are more prepared than ever to accelerate transformations not only across the energy sector, but also in transportation, industry, the built environment and across procurement and supply chains.”

BCSE EVENTS: BCSE will host several public events that will share US business experiences and discuss the key issues under consideration at the two-week conference. Information on the Council’s delegation, schedule of events and highlights of business members’ climate actions here: www.bcse.org/cop24

WATCH FOR: A BCSE press conference on December 7, from 5:30 -6:00 pm CET, in Press Conference Room Katowice, Area F and available via live-webcast or on demand at UNFCCC website.

CONTACT: For more information, or to connect with members of the BCSE delegation, please contact Laura Tierney (ltierney@bcse.org; 202.489.3436)

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BCSE Fall Newsletter 2018

October Membership Meeting Highlights

Thank you to all the members that participated in the BCSE 2018 Membership Meeting. Thank you also to our hosts, the American Gas Association, and our meeting sponsors, Capital Power and the Corn Refiners Association. 
 

Clean Energy Business Network Launches New Business Services on Updated Website

The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) is a division of the BCSE working to grow the clean energy economy through policy, public education, and business development assistance for energy companies. The CEBN’s 3,000+ members span all 50 U.S. states and several international countries and a diverse range of technologies. In October 2018, the CEBN launched new tools such as a searchable business directory and funding database to promote collaboration among small businesses, corporations, investors, consultants, and others working across the clean energy landscape. Learn more in this 1-minute video, and use promo code CleanEnergy25 for $25 off premium corporate memberships (starting at $250/year) now through 12/10.

President’s View: BCSE Joins Readiness for Resilience Planning Partnership to Assist Texas and Puerto Rico Recover from Hurricane Impacts

With the continued hurricanes and wildfires this fall, the importance of resilience planning and investment has never been more urgent. As such, the Council is pleased to join a new partnership with Qualcomm, Smart Cities Council, Texas A&M and NASEO to help communities in Texas and Puerto Rico that were impacted by the 2017 hurricanes with resilience planning. The Council’s role is to share private sector views on resilience planning best practices as well as connect companies and industry associations active in these localities with government officials and key decision-makers on the ground as investment decisions are made about rebuilding and resilience upgrades. The project is being sponsored by Qualcomm Incorporated and will include discovery workshops and conferences over the next eight months. The project is kicking-off with a Readiness for Resilience conference in Puerto Rico December 4 and 5, in coordination with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló‘s office. In addition, Discovery Workshops will be held December 11 through the 13 in three impacted regions in Texas.

BCSE Priorities During the Lame Duck and Preparations for the 116th Congress

As Congress returns post-election for a lame duck session, the Federal Policy Committee is focused on extending remaining clean energy tax measures, appropriations for Department of State and Environmental Protection Agency, and calling for a strong energy title with mandatory funding for rural energy programs in the Farm Bill. At the same time, BCSE is preparing to hit the ground running at the start of the 116th Congress with outreach on a new budget agreement, FY 2020 appropriations, infrastructure proposals and educating new and returning members of Congress.
 
With the prospect for a tax package still in the works for the end-of-year continuing resolution and omnibus bill, BCSE has been reaching out to Senate Finance Committee members to ask them to approach their committee leadership to ensure that clean energy measures are part of that package. BCSE outreach to House Ways and Means Committee members will continue to diminish any issues on the House side.  See here for BCSE’s October letter on tax extenders.
 
The Council is outlining its legislative recommendations for the 116th Congress in a policy document framed around advancing clean, resilient infrastructure. Education will be one of first priorities with many new members of Congress coming to Washington and significant changes to key committees, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee among others. The Federal Policy Committee is planning for a fast pace of Hill meetings and briefings to bring Members of Congress and their staff up to speed on our issues.

Congress Enacts Strong Funding for Fiscal Year 2019 DOE Programs and Takes Steps to Reform Disaster Recovery

The FY 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations bill signed into law in September represents a strong bipartisan endorsement of the Department of Energy’s work on clean energy, with most clean energy programs receiving funding equal to current-year levels, and many receiving an increase. There are still some technologies, such as waste to energy, that haven’t received adequate research dollars, however, so BCSE will focus some of our work in those areas in the next Congress. In addition, BCSE will also will work to ensure the FY 2019 funds are spent as intended by Congress and will work to maintain the momentum for FY 2020 in the face of significant budget challenges. FY2019 funding for the Environmental Protections Agency and the international climate finance programs at the State Department have yet to be enacted and will be included in the end-of-year omnibus bill.
 
BCSE has met with staff of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to convey some priorities for the staff to share with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as they implement the new Disaster Recovery and Reform law (DRRA) and has joined a coalition of advocates in submitting extensive comments on building energy codes that should be considered.
 
The DRRA includes provisions to address rising costs of disasters and help communities better prepare for hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters, with 6 percent of certain spending under the FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to go to a pre-disaster mitigation fund. For every $1 the government spends on mitigation, it saves $6, according to research from the National Institute of Building Sciences. 

Clean Energy Industries Engage with Utility Commissioners at November NARUC Conference

At the NARUC Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on November 11, utility commissioners and their staff, federal officials and clean energy industry stakeholders enjoyed a clean energy industry reception, complete with a live guitarist, at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant.
 
Utility commissioners are key state policy makers tasked with economic policy and energy planning decisions and BCSE-sponsored events at meetings such as the one in Orlando provide unique opportunities to reach these important state regulators.
 
BCSE engages with utility commissioners at these meetings to highlight market rules, practices, and policies that should be addressed in order to expand the use of a wide range of clean energy technologies. BCSE engagement enhances member access through activities that provide one-on-one access to commissioners and commission staff from across the country. 
 
Pending interest and resources from BCSE members our plans for upcoming NARUC meetings in 2019 will continue with activities at the following NARUC meetings:
  • Winter Policy Summit February 10-13, 2019, in Washington, DC;
  • Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC), June 23-26, 2019 in Hot Springs, Virginia;
  • Summer Policy Summit July 21-24 in Indianapolis, Indiana; and
  • 2019 Annual meeting November 17-20 in San Antonio, Texas.

Industry Showcases Climate Action, Presses Governments to Raise Ambition

With the recent release of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5  ̊C, the first-ever gathering of sub-national actors at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in September, and the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland,  the pressure is on for national governments to finalize a clear and transparent rulebook for the Paris Agreement and turn its attention to implementation. 

BCSE members, as solution providers, are not only making their own commitments to act on climate change, but are working with cities, states and other governments to advance policies and investment frameworks that will accelerate deployment of clean energy solutions. See how Council members participated in GCAS in San Francisco, CA.

The BCSE will lead a delegation of members to COP 24 and host a side event on December 8, Powering Ambition: Energy & Technology Solutions To Build Low-Carbon Economies, at 11:30 CET, in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy, Corn Refiners Association and U.S. Green Building Council, and will also host events at the U.S. Climate Action Center, which will be hosted by the We Are Still In coalition from December 7 – 10.  Watch for additional details to be released on the BCSE website.

Movement Catches the Eye: The Value of Video & GIFs in Communications

These days, movement on a screen will catch a viewer’s eye, and engagement is the prized outcome when it comes to evaluating external communications.  The BCSE’s Communications Network recently explored industry best practices for making videos and GIFs that capture your audience’s attention. Some take-aways include:

  • Working with a videographer can seem expensive, but plan ahead to realize the breath of deliverables that can come from one video, including technology testimonials, community engagement, anecdotes for written content such as blog posts, speeches, op-eds and b-roll footage.
  • If you choose to do-it-yourself with your cell phone camera, understand that this works best for close-up shots, and it is best if you hold your phone horizontally. Use an external microphone and tripod to keep the phone steady.
  • Include captions with your short video or GIF on social media; most people don’t turn on the audio when scrolling through their news feeds.

Election Results Bring Opportunities to Advance Clean Energy Policies at the State Level

Thirty six states held gubernatorial elections in November, and many states across the country are considering significant energy proposals such as raising energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, joining emissions trading schemes, and building out sustainable transportation infrastructure. Many governors-elect ran on platforms that included clean energy and climate change preparedness. This makes clean energy education and advocacy at the state level especially important. In partnership with the CEBN, BCSE conducted outreach to gubernatorial candidates to share one-page factsheets on their states’ energy mix. This outreach will continue as newly elected governors begin their administrations.
 
Over the fall, BCSE has also engaged with policymakers in a few select states. In Virginia, meetings with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy centered around the writing and publication of the Virginia Energy Plan, and the continuing effort to finalize a regulation that would enable the state to link with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The Energy Plan was published in October, and the RGGI linking regulation was revised, with the final regulation expected to be released in early 2019.
 
Pennsylvania also continues to support clean energy by advancing initiatives for electric vehicles, meeting solar power goals, and more. BCSE’s meetings this fall with the Office of Governor Tom Wolf and the PA Department of Environmental Protection focused on these programs and how BCSE members can continue to provide assistance and solutions on the ground. BCSE will continue to monitor state action on clean energy and will seek member input on how best to engage at the state level.

BCSE Statement on Proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule (October 3, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

BCSE Statement on Proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule. The rule proposes to replace the Clean Power Plan.

In response, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, issued the following statement:

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is critical and clean energy technologies have proven they can do so reliably and cost-effectively. Power sector carbon emissions have gone down 28 percent over the past two decades. At the same time our economy has grown and over 3 million jobs are supported by clean energy industries.

“The EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule should more adequately account for the range of clean energy technologies, including energy storage, renewable energy, and natural gas, as well as carbon capture utilization and storage applications, and others.

“The Council encourages EPA to create the regulatory certainty US states, business and markets need to maintain the value of their clean energy investments, and give states more flexibility by allowing them to use the most cost-effective means to reduce emissions.”

BCSE’s full comments are available here.

BCSE Statement on Proposed Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) Rule (October 26, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

BCSE Statement on Proposed Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rule

Washington, DC – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy today submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the proposed Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule. The rule proposes to freeze fuel economy standards for model years 2021-2026 and to revoke California’s waiver that allows the state to set more stringent standards.

In response, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, issued the following statement:

“The need to address emissions from the transportation sector is real and growing. In 2017, the transportation sector passed the electricity sector as the number one emitter of greenhouse gasses.

"Clean energy businesses are already investing in low carbon transportation and related technologies and infrastructure based on the current regulatory scheme. To change the fully negotiated standards would mean regulatory uncertainty that would harm American business and devalue their investments.

“Further, California’s waiver that allows the state to set more stringent standards is critical to their ability to maintain clean air goals and protect their citizens’ health. California and other states that have elected to follow suit should be allowed to continue to set standards that are more stringent than the national baseline.

“The Council encourages EPA to consider maintaining the current model year 2021-2026 standards that have supported critical innovation in the transportation sector.”

BCSE’s full comments are available here.

Energy efficiency helps housing affordability, especially for low-income families

October 23, 2018 | Authors: The following is a viewpoint by Maria Stamas, Western Director of Energy Affordability with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Andrew McAllister, a Commissioner of the California Energy Commission| 

Many of us don't spend much time thinking about how energy efficiency helps ensure our appliances aren't wasting energy and that keeping our showers warm doesn't cause our energy bills to soar. Modern technology ensures we usually don't have to think about these things. However, many families feel the pinch once the monthly utility bills arrive, and one in five households reduce or forego other necessities such as food and medicine to afford those energy payments.

These facts are especially pertinent in October, which also is known as Energy Awareness Month.

In a state that continues to face a housing affordability crisis, with a fast-rising homelessness population, energy efficiency is a frequently-overlooked strategy to help California families stay on top of their bills. Deep energy efficiency savings — on the order of an easily achievable 20 to 30 percent per property — also help maintain and preserve affordable rental homes for low-income Californians.

For example, nonprofits that manage affordable housing must operate their properties close to the margin to maintain affordability, so rising energy and water costs can lead to deferred maintenance. Left unchecked, rising energy costs can compromise the quality and long-term affordability of rental homes for low-income Californians and can even lead to health risks for these families.

Enormous potential benefits

According to a new report from Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), these deep energy savings are also cost-effective. If the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approves funding for all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities focused on low-income, multifamily homes — like apartments and townhomes — the potential benefits are enormous, amounting to 4 times as much savings per household than current program performance. From now through 2030, Californians' utility bill savings would add up to as much as $200 million. For low-income families juggling rent payments alongside energy costs, these savings can make a world of difference.

For years, many of California's energy efficiency programs have been geared toward commercial, government and institutional buildings, and to Californians in single-family homes. These programs have often excluded residents in multifamily housing, where at least one in three eligible Californians resides.

Before and during his recent Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Jerry Brown signed numerous bills into law which, together, will extend California's leadership in the fight against climate change by reducing emissions from our buildings and transforming our energy supply systems to be fully renewable. Yet as we continue to lead, we need to guarantee that every single Californian can benefit from the clean energy economy.

Fighting climate change, pollution

A recent poll commissioned by EEFA revealed robust support for these ideas. California voters care about efficiency for numerous reasons, most notably to fight climate change and reduce the health impacts of pollution in our neighborhoods. Respondents voiced strong commitment to ensuring that renters and low-income Californians get the same energy efficiency program support as homeowners.

The majority of those polled said they would be willing to tack on an extra 50 cents or one dollar to each monthly power bill to help low-income and working-class families make their homes more efficient. This open-minded, forward-thinking mentality is part of what makes Californians who we are.

Energy efficiency creates a diverse array of solid, non-exportable jobs. The energy efficiency industry already employs 310,000 Californians, more than double those in the fossil fuel industry. Redoubling our efforts on low-income multifamily buildings would create an additional 84,000 year-long jobs or 6,000 long-term jobs. Imagine the benefits of having skilled workers from low-income areas improving the buildings in those same communities.

As we push to slash the energy use of our existing buildings by "decarbonizing" them — along with everything else in our economy — we cannot overlook low-income families. With slimmer energy expenses, Californians can save money that can be dedicated toward housing and other essentials. This October, as we recognize the often-forgotten role energy plays in the California Dream, let's also think big about how we can forge a clean economy that is inclusive enough to help us reach our most ambitious goals. ‎

This article was originally published on Utility Dive on October 15, 2018 and has been re-posted with permission.

IPCC Report is a Call to Action to Accelerate Emissions Reductions and Enhance Resilience (October 9, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                              

October 9, 2018 
Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

IPCC Report is a Call to Action to Accelerate Emissions Reductions and Enhance Resilience

Washington, DC –  The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5̊ C this week in Incheon, South Korea, indicated that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities, and that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.

In response, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, issued the following statement:

“The release of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5̊ C warns both of potential risks and opportunities for the international community if it allows global warming to reach 1.5̊ C. This should be a call to action for governments, companies and citizens alike to dramatically ratchet up actions to reduce emissions and to enhance resilience to prepare for the impacts of global climate change.  The technologies exist today to cost-effectively make significant emissions reductions.  We need the political will at all levels of government and by non-state actors to heed this very strong message.”

“The transformation underway in the U.S. energy sector – one that embraces a broad portfolio of clean energy solutions from energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy, as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage – is pointing us in a necessary direction to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  Rapidly falling technology costs, increased investments and continued research and development into this clean energy portfolio show this progress, as documented in the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.  

“The Council is also greatly encouraged by the corporate leadership and commitments to climate action of its members, which include commitments to targets of 100% renewable energy and doubling of energy productivity by mid-century and the setting of science-based targets. These commitments will make an impact in several sectors in how energy is produced and consumed. Many of these commitments by BCSE members were showcased at the Global Climate Action Summit last month.”

The IPCC report is written by 91 authors from 44 different citizenships. A Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report and is available at http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15.

Download this press release.

Clean Energy Businesses Applaud New Approach on Resilience in Disaster Preparedness and Recovery (October 3, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                           
October 3, 2018               

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Clean Energy Businesses Applaud New Approach on Resilience in Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, made the following statement following passage of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), which was passed this week along with legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), H.R.302.

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) is pleased to see Congress pass the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, as part of the FAA reauthorization legislation.  This represents the most significant improvement to federal disaster recovery programs since the post-Katrina efforts.”

“According to a December 2017 Interim report of the National Institute of Building Sciences, society saves $6 for every $1 spent to mitigate disasters before they strike. The DRRA legislation recognizes these cost savings by focusing on pre-disaster mitigation measures that will ensure the United States will be better prepared for disasters by advancing electric grids, power supplies and building stock that are reliable, more resilient, agile, cost effective, cyber-secure, and environmentally sound.  

“The Disaster Recovery Reform legislation continues the momentum in this direction.  Certainly, more can be done, but the DRRA is an important step and the Council offers our assistance to work with Congress and federal agencies to advance these efforts.”

The Council launched a strategic dialogue on resilience and reliability during the summer and fall 2018, which has been aimed at defining the role that clean energy technologies play in providing these essential services of resilience and reliability. It is also aimed at identifying measures that can be taken to drive investment and deployment into more resilient and reliable infrastructure.

Congress began to address this issue in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires by allowing the federal government to undertake and facilitate more resilient rebuilding of damaged or destroyed grid infrastructure, particularly with respect to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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BCSE Statement on Congressional Funding of Critical DOE RD&D Programs in 2019 Spending Bill (September 13, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email:  ltierney@bcse.org
Office: 202.785.0507

Congress Funds Critical DOE RD&D Programs in 2019 Spending Bill

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, made the following statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2019 “Minibus” spending bill passed this week by Congress. The minibus includes funding for energy and water programs, including clean energy programs at the Department of Energy (DOE).

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) wishes to express our appreciation for the steps Congress has taken to enact the first minibus, which includes funding for DOE clean energy programs. We urge the President to quickly sign the legislation to ensure it becomes law before the current fiscal year ends on September 30.

“The market dynamism and innovation we are seeing in the clean energy sector has come as the result of the partnership between the federal government and clean energy industries and from DOE’s world class research, both pure and applied. Congress recognizes this and continues to fund important clean energy programs and to invest in energy research development and deployment that will help to sustain growth in clean energy markets.

“Passage of this critical funding bill was made possible because Congress had earlier enacted a 2-year budget which raised the budget caps for both domestic and defense programs, giving certainty to congressional appropriators. A new budget agreement will be necessary in the next Congress and we hope the new Congress will continue the positive momentum by enacting another long-term budget agreement early next year.”

Senator McCain’s Early Climate Leadership Brought Lasting Results

August 31, 2018 | A Tribute by Jared Blum, Board Chair, Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and BCSE Board Member | 

Amidst the numerous laudatory eulogies and public statements being written about the life and career of Senator John McCain, it is easy to downplay his lasting impact on the climate change issue. Indeed, some dispute this impact, claiming he eventually abandoned support for a “cap and trade” solution to CO2 emissions and did not make climate change a top policy priority during his 2008 presidential campaign.

But as a Republican who reached across the aisle to his colleague Senator Lieberman and others to become a lead sponsor of the first major bipartisan Senate legislation to confront the global warming issue, he established a benchmark for prescience on this topic that none of his Republican Senate colleagues are able to match today. In addition, as those of us who worked on public policy dealing with renewable energy, energy efficiency and CO2 reduction were seeking to make the business case for pursuing those goals as a national priority, Senator McCain’s initiatives through hearings, proposed legislation and public commentary gave a credible underpinning for mainstream business and policymakers to take another look at this topic. For example, petroleum-based industries, though still opposing any kind of regulatory emission controls, recognized that, with someone of Senator McCain‘s prestige voicing concern about climate change, the issue would not go away. Energy efficiency industries were more prominently recognized for their critical role in reducing CO2 emissions, and those industries began to add that argument to the economic calculations of their products’ benefits. States, even those run by Republican governors, took another look at their own role in reducing CO2 emissions and began upgrading building codes and related regulatory approaches.

Business organizations such as the Business Council for Sustainable Energy became a growing force in educating international and national forums about existing technologies that could aid in CO2 reduction. Other groups, such as the American Chemistry Council, American Gas Association, and National Solid Waste Management Association, started to take a closer look at their own industry's CO2 emissions profile and begin an inventory of methods to reduce that profile.

Many of the topics that EESI views today as critical to understanding the challenge of climate change had their genesis in the 1990s and in the early years of the new century. Whether it’s the increasingly important role of renewable energy in freeing us from fossil fuel constraints and emissions or the significant challenge a disrupted climate poses to national security, the well-attended Congressional briefings that EESI has orchestrated over the last three decades have continued to examine the topics that were a focus of Senator McCain’s concerns about climate change when he chaired the Senate Commerce Committee.

McCain’s efforts to draw attention to this issue have helped carry us to the place we are today: the United States has reduced its energy usage and CO2 emissions while at the same time increasing its economic productivity. As did the Senator, the U.S. national defense establishment understands the threat of climate change. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, recently enacted by Congress, calls climate change "a direct threat to the national security of the United States." And so the momentum towards clean, sustainable energy is pushing forward irrespective of the political paralysis caused by uncompromising ideology.

So as we say goodbye and thank you to this great American hero, those of us who continue to fight the climate change battle will remember Senator John McCain's leadership and accomplishments in this war as well.

Note: This article has been re-posted from the EESI website with the author's permission.