Tag Archives: climate change

How Businesses, Cities, and States Are Leading Climate Action Efforts

Friday, October 12, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Congressional Meeting Room North (CVC 268)
East Capitol Street and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to expedite check-in.
A live webcast will be streamed at 2:00 PM at www.eesi.org/livecast (wireless connection permitting)

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) are hosting  a briefing on the outcomes of the Global Climate Action Summit, which was held September 12 – 14 in San Francisco, California. Over 4,500 sub-national actors – from city, state and tribal governments, business, academia and other sectors – gathered to highlight actions and commitments underway at the local level to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The State of California will provide an overview of the Global Climate Action Summit, as the host and co-chair of the Summit. This presentation will be followed by a discussion with city and state governments, and business executives on their involvement at the Summit and climate actions and what federal policy-makers can do to support these efforts.

Speakers

Dan Carol, Senior Advisor for Infrastructure and Energy, Washington, DC Office of California Governor Jerry Brown
H.E. Mr. Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara, Ambassador, Embassy of Fiji

Stakeholder Roundtable

Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of Environment
Tommy Wells, Director, Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) District of Columbia
Anne Kelly, Senior Director, Policy and BICEP Network, Ceres
Jack Thirolf, AVP, Head of Regulatory and Institutional Affairs North America, Enel Green Power
Anna Pavlova, Vice President, Government Relations, Schneider Electric
Elizabeth Beardsley, Senior Policy Counsel, U.S. Green Building Council

BCSE Affiliate Event at Global Climate Action Summit

Powering Action for Climate Ambition: Clean Energy Business Solutions

Thursday, September 13, 9:15 am – 10:15 am PT
Union Square – Harry M. Smith Conference Room
414 Mason St. 8th Floor, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94102

REGISTER HERE

The BCSE is proud to host an affiliate event at the inaugural Global Climate Action Summit.  This event will showcase the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook findings and feature a round-table discussion with experts in the energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy industries.

A transformation is well underway in the United States towards an energy portfolio that embraces cleaner sources and more efficient uses of energy and is boosting the energy productivity of the country and delivering economic, environmental and emissions benefits. The findings of the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook will frame the progress of this energy transformation.

A round-table discussion will be held with leaders in the private sector – in building efficiency, corporate sustainability, internet of things, lighting, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, utilities and more – that are delivering solutions to create health energy systems and low-carbon, resilient infrastructure, and are generating jobs and economic growth in our communities. Attendees are encouraged to share their achievements and commitments to climate action.

This event aims to showcase how the technology solutions and effective policy approaches already exist to help reduce emissions in the energy sector, and that greater ambition can be pursued when policy actions embrace a broad portfolio of clean energy solutions and include partnership and consultation with the private sector.

Follow the BCSE Delegation at GCAS and learn about member activities and announcements here: www.bcse.org/gcas.

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The BCSE event will kick off a half day of round-table discussions that will also explore the potential for more energy efficient transportation in the U.S. and what is needed to galvanize a global movement that promotes building energy efficiency. Attendees are encouraged to join these subsequent events.

Taming Transportation Energy Use in the Face of Transformation
Hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy
10:30 – 11:30 am PT
Invite-only, Contact Laura Van Wie McGrory, Lvanwie@ase.org. Space is limited.

Spurring a Building Efficiency Movement in Support of Global Climate Action
Hosted by the World Resources Institute & Alliance to Save Energy
12:00 – 2:00 pm PT
Invite-only, Contact Shannon Hilsey at WRI, shilsey@wri.org. Space is limited.

 

Senator McCain’s Early Climate Leadership Brought Lasting Results

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.

About the Author: Jared Blum, is a BCSE Board Member and Board Chair, Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).

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

Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States (June 1, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2018

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

Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States

Washington, DC – BCSE President Lisa Jacobson issued the following statement on the progress of clean energy and climate action in the United States today:

“A surge of climate action is taking place in the United States, lead by American leaders in cities, states, the private sector, universities and other parts of society.  This action is taking place across these diverse cross-sections of America because there are economic, environmental and public health benefits.

“We are decoupling economic growth from emissions reductions.  Costs are falling in a broad range of clean energy technologies that have made significant emissions reductions possible – and we are not seeing corresponding increases in costs for American businesses and households.

“We believe these trends will continue because of the wide-spread benefits of climate action and preparedness to the U.S. economy.  Investments and deployment of clean energy are already well underway in the United States – with an increasingly diverse set of solutions from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors emerging as the growth sectors of the U.S. energy landscape. “

The latest edition of Sustainable Energy in America Factbook chronicles the latest in this clean energy transformation as of 2017, including:

  • 93% of new power capacity built in the U.S. over the past 25 years has come from natural gas and renewable energy, including hydropower.
  • Natural gas and renewable energy accounted for 50% of all electricity generation in 2017, up from 31% in 2008.
  • The energy productivity of the U.S. economy grew 2.5% in 2017 as economic growth continued its long-term trend of decoupling from energy use. Energy productivity has increased 17.3% since 2008.
  • The U.S. power sector is driving the economy’s de-carbonization as its emissions fell 4.2% in 2017. Power sector emissions now sit 28% below their 2005 peak.
  • American consumers devoted less than 4% of their total annual household spending on energy in 2017.

Download the press release.

Future-proofing Supply Chains in the Face of Climate Change

May 8, 2018 │ Ashley Allen, Climate & Land Senior Manager, Mars, Inc. 

As the complexities of climate change loom large across all sectors, one thing is becoming increasingly clear for corporations: taking action on climate change is smart business. But while the business case for investing in clean energy to fuel business operations is well-known, for many companies the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk exist in their supply chains. Only by using their influence to address climate change in their supply chains will businesses thrive into the future.

Mars restores coral reefs in the Coral Triangle, which increases resilience of coastal communities.

Corporate climate action is growing.

Over the last few years, the business community has awakened to the reality that actively responding to climate change isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s better for the bottom line.    More than 12,500 companies, cities and other non-government entities – “non-state actors” in United Nations (UN) parlance – have registered climate commitments and actions into the UN NAZCA portal (an on-line data platform named after the ancient Peruvian geoglyphs that represent symbols of nature). More than 380 companies have signed on to develop science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the goal outlined in the UN Paris Agreement to keep global warming to under two degrees Celsius. In the United States, the business community has come out especially strong in support of the We Are Still In campaign, which provides a platform for U.S. companies and subnational governments to pick up the mantle of the Paris Agreement as the U.S. Administration vows to pull out.

The business case for climate action is clear.

The enthusiasm of the private sector for taking action on climate change is perhaps unsurprising in light of the ever-clearer business case. According to a 2017 article by the New Climate Economy, 190 of the Fortune 500 companies collectively saved $3.7 billion in 2016 through renewable energy and energy efficiency. And taking action early to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can give companies a competitive advantage over late-movers as an increasing number of countries and regions institute a carbon price. In 2017 around 42 national and 25 subnational jurisdictions had a carbon pricing scheme, generating a cumulative $20 billion in revenue. At Mars, this solid business case motivated us to launch our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, including targets to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and cut our full value chain carbon emissions by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050. Stated simply, climate action is smart business.

Agricultural supply chains are at significant risk.

While the clean energy business case is broadly accepted at this point, the risk exposure and loss potential of climate change impacts for companies’ full value chains is less well understood, and perhaps even more significant. Consider the Mars supply chain: to make the branded products that consumers love, such as M&M’S®, Uncle Ben’s®, and Whiskas®, we source hundreds of ingredients from more than 80 countries.  In the face of climate change, crops are exposed to stronger and more frequent storms, less predictable precipitation, and increasing potential for drought or other climate extremes. Around the world, agricultural systems depend on predictable cycles of sun, rain, and seasonal temperatures. In fact, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, around 80 percent of global agriculture is rain-fed. When weather patterns that farmers count on are disrupted, food production suffers. The remaining 20 percent of agricultural area that is irrigated produces 40 percent of the world’s food, and is located primarily in China, India and Pakistan. Heat and drought conditions that increase water stress also threaten production in these areas, which are at the same time facing growing populations and growing demand for food.

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Climate One podcast with Jason Clay, senior vice president at the World Wildlife Fund, an expert in climate change and food. Jason described countless examples of shifts in the areas where foods are traditionally grown – oats are now produced in Canada instead of the U.S.; the U.S. Corn Belt is edging toward the Canadian border, as well; and Russia is seeing bumper harvests of wheat as record temperatures boost yields, to name a few examples. As the world continues to see shifting trends in global agriculture, companies that depend on crops to create their products are going to have to adapt to continue to be successful.

The key to future-proofing supply chains is sustainable sourcing.

So what can companies do now to help climate-proof their supply chains for the future?  The Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure recommends that companies begin to screen their business now for climate risks, plan for multiple climate change scenarios, and set up the governing structures to reduce their exposure to these risks. F

or food companies, the bulk of these risks appear at the highest tier of their supply chains, where farmers grow or produce the ingredients with which their products are made. Food companies rarely have direct control on how these ingredients are grown, or direct relationships with the farmers who grow them. Instead, food companies can influence the production of these ingredients through sustainable sourcing strategies – essentially setting standards and making strategic decisions on how and what they buy.

Planning for the future and advancing climate-responsive agricultural production through sustainable sourcing can both help tackle the causes of climate change and build resilience to climate shocks. At Mars, we’re developing strategies to sustainably source the key ingredients we depend on. Sustainable sourcing strategies can improve the social and environmental impacts of ingredients, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and take into account the changing political, environmental, and other contexts in which those ingredients are produced. For example, in our rice supply chain we’ve set up water efficiency programs with farmers in water-stressed regions in Pakistan, India and Spain. In Pakistan, initial results have seen water use reduced by 30 percent and farmers’ income increased by 75 percent. In the U.S., we’re advancing alternate wetting and drying techniques to reduce water use. These efforts also reduce methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

Mars is helping farmers in Pakistan adopt water-saving measures for basmati rice production

Mars is also working to build resilience in critical ecosystems that support our supply chains. For example, we’re supporting the world’s largest coral reef restoration program in the Coral Triangle area near Indonesia, which is threatened by ocean acidification, ocean warming, overfishing, and other stresses. Using steel ‘spider’ structures to fill in damaged reef areas, the project has increased coral growth cover and diversity. Restored reefs provide food, shelter and spawning areas for a variety of marine mammals and fish, such as tuna which is an important supply chain for Mars pet food brands.

Companies need to step up on supply chain sustainability.

Of course nothing is ever fully future-proofed or climate-proofed. Climate change is by nature unpredictable, and because of the bank of CO2 that has already built up in the atmosphere, some level of climate change is inevitable. What’s missing is a clear process for embedding mid- and long-term climate scenarios into existing corporate risk management systems, to lower the risk of supply volatility and disruption. If climate science can be effectively translated for business, companies can make sourcing decisions that lower climate risks and raise the resilience of food systems. Reams of climate data and climate change scenarios are publicly available. Already this data is being translated into tools and metrics for national governments, states and cities to build climate resilience. We need climate, agricultural and business experts to come together to translate these data and tools for businesses, so that companies can integrate this data within their existing strategies and business systems. And we need food companies to step up and commit to sustainability not only in their operations, but in their supply chains, so that we can transform the agricultural sector into the clean and resilient food system of the future.

This article was originally posted by the author to her LinkedIn profile on April 20, 2018 and is re-published here with the author's permission.