Thirteen companies took a public stand for climate action at the White House today, pledging to reduce heat-trapping emissions, increase clean energy investments, improve efficiency, and support efforts to reach a global climate agreement this year in Paris.
Three companies making pledges – Alcoa, Bank of America, and General Motors – are members of the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council, a group of mostly Fortune 500 companies, representing a combined $2.3 trillion in revenue, that support climate policy solutions that will move us toward a low-carbon future.
These business leaders – and many more – recognize the reality of climate change and the necessity to act.
For instance, HP recently announced that it will power 100 percent of its Texas-based data centers with renewable energy, thanks to a 12-year agreement to buy power from a 112 MW wind farm in Texas, in partnership with SunEdison.
Dow has reduced 320 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations compared to 1990 levels, and announced that by 2020, its trajectory for absolute emissions from operations and purchased power will meet internationally recognized targets for a 2 degree Celcius maximum global temperature rise.
A wide array of industries, including construction, finance, defense, transportation, retail, energy and technology, as well as local government and higher education, have been honored with Climate Leadership Awards. The program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency with C2ES and The Climate Registry recognizes outstanding voluntary actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change. Among the recipients earlier this year were Bank of America, The Clorox Company, General Motors, The Hartford, SC Johnson, Tiffany & Co. and UPS.
Why are all of these businesses in action? Because they get it.
They see climate risks firsthand -- in damaged facilities, interrupted power and water supplies, disrupted supply and distribution chains, and impacts on their employees’ lives.
Last year was the warmest on Earth since we started keeping records over a century ago. During the first half of this year, it got even hotter. Climate change is posing real and rising risks to our environment, economy, security and society and the longer we wait to act, the costlier the impacts will be.
Today’s announcements represent at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, in addition to ambitious, company-specific goals to cut emissions.
Alcoa, which already had committed to reducing its greenhouse gas intensity 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, announced a pledge to up that to 50 percent by 2025.
Bank of America pledged to increase its current environmental business initiative from $50 billion to $125 billion by 2025.
And General Motors pledged to reduce energy intensity at its facilities 20 percent and water intensity 15 percent by 2020 from a 2010 baseline, in addition to increasing its use of renewable energy and reducing the waste it sends to landfills.
Although businesses – along with many cities and states -- are working toward a more sustainable future, it will take a global effort to address a global threat. That’s why it is significant that these 13 companies today also announced their support for a strong outcome to the international climate talks in December in Paris.
Many nations, including the United States, China, and the European Union, have already announced their goals for reducing greenhouse gases as part of the Paris process. But the strength of any agreement will rest on the parties’ political will to implement it.
The strong support of business leaders for climate action, like that exhibited today, can only help to strengthen that will.
Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
July 27, 2015
On the White House announcement of business leaders committing to climate action and supporting efforts to reach a global climate agreement in December in Paris.
We applaud the companies that have come forward to pledge action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, increase clean energy investments, improve efficiency, and support efforts to reach a global climate agreement this year in Paris.
Climate change is posing rising environmental, social, economic, and security risks. Delayed action only means greater costs.
Business leaders get it. They see climate risks firsthand -- in damaged facilities, interrupted power and water supplies, disrupted supply and distribution chains, and impacts on their employees’ lives.
And the business community will be essential to mobilizing the technology, investment and innovation needed to transition to a low-carbon economy.
Several of the companies making pledges today – Alcoa, Bank of America, and General Motors – are members of the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council that is committed to climate action.
Although businesses, cities, states and nations are working toward a more sustainable future, it will take a global effort to address a global threat. Paris is our best opportunity to get all the major economies on board a lasting agreement that strengthens the global effort and works to strengthen it over time.
Many nations, including the United States, China, and the European Union, have already announced their goals for reducing greenhouse gases. But the strength of any agreement will rest on the parties’ political will to implement it.
The strong support of business leaders for climate action, like that exhibited today, can only help to strengthen that will.
To talk to a C2ES expert about business engagement on climate change, contact: Laura Rehrmann, firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-516-0621
About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our climate and energy challenges. Learn more at www.c2es.org.
National security leaders deal with deep uncertainty on a daily basis about everything from North Korea’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon to the location and timing of the next terrorist attack by non-state actors such as ISIS and al-Qaida. Security decision-makers don’t use uncertainty as an excuse to ignore security threats.
Borrowing a page from security analysts, a new report out today by renowned climate experts and high-level government advisors from China, India, the United Kingdom and the United States assesses the risks of climate change in the context of national and international security.
As many U.S. states start to think about ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the proposed Clean Power Plan, it’s eye-opening to see how Chinese provinces are taking many of the same first steps.
I recently joined state officials from Arizona and Michigan and a Georgetown University professor on a study tour of China’s climate policy and low-carbon technology use at the provincial level. In each city we visited -- Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province, and Changsha in Hunan province -- our meetings with government officials, academics, and nongovernmental organizations had a common theme: Environmental issues are a serious challenge for China and greenhouse gases should be addressed along with other types of pollution.
It was very encouraging to hear national, provincial, and municipal leaders all agree that something has to be done to reduce China’s emissions. But they also agreed the country faces significant challenges in reaching its goal of peaking emissions no later than 2030.
July 9, 2015
Contact Laura Rehrmann at email@example.com, 703-516-0621
Climate Leadership Awards Application Period is Open through September 25, 2015
WASHINGTON -- Applications are now being accepted for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 Climate Leadership Awards.
The prestigious awards program, now in its fifth year, recognizes outstanding voluntary actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change.
Leaders recognized represent a wide array of industries, including construction, finance, defense, transportation, retail, energy and technology, as well as local government, higher education, and individuals who are tackling climate challenges.
Past award winners include Bank of America; Caesars Entertainment; Cisco Systems; City of Austin; Ecolab; Ford Motor Company; Gap, Inc.; Hasbro, Inc.; IBM; SC Johnson; Staples, Inc.; The Clorox Company; Tiffany & Co.; and University of California, Irvine.
Learn more about the 2016 Climate Leadership Awards HERE
Applications will be accepted through September 25, 2015, in the following categories:
· Organizational Leadership Award
· Individual Leadership Award
· Supply Chain Leadership Award
· Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Setting Certificate)
· Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (Goal Achievement Award)
· Innovative Partnerships Certificate
Winners of the 2016 awards will be honored at the Climate Leadership Conference, March 8-10 in Seattle.
Follow conference updates on Twitter
The U.S. EPA co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry.
Questions about the awards? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See 2015 winners here.
What past winners are saying about EPA’s Climate Leadership Awards:
“The Climate Leadership Awards send a strong message that sustainability and financial prudence aren’t mutually exclusive. Climate-related performance is obviously critical — but it’s also clear that my award was about cutting costs and risks.” - Sam Brooks, Founder and Managing Director, ClearRock (formerly Director of the Energy Division, DC's Department of General Services)
“The CLA Innovative Partnership Award has provided the Climate Collaborative and the broader San Diego region with another validation that ongoing, close partnerships across sectors is fundamental in tackling a complex issue like climate change and protecting San Diego’s amazing quality of life.” - Brendan J. Reed, Environmental Sustainability Manager, San Diego Airport Authority
“We work with thousands of suppliers and we're proud to receive recognition for our work across our supply chain to build a mutual commitment around sustainable business practices.” - Amy Hargroves, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Sprint
“We believe that the external recognitions that we have received, including the EPA Climate Leadership Awards, help us attract, retain and engage our employees, customers and partners, and are validation that we are doing the right thing.” - David C. Robinson, General Counsel and Chair of The Hartford’s Environment Committee
About the Climate Leadership Awards:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) co-sponsors the Climate Leadership Awards (CLA) with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry, calling national attention to exemplary leadership in response to climate change. The CLAs recognize the outstanding voluntary work that organizations and individuals pursue in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to climate change.
Options for Mobilizing Clean Energy Finance
By Patrick Falwell
Clean energy and energy efficiency technologies are decreasing in cost and demonstrating their reliability as they are deployed around the world. Financial institutions are becoming increasingly willing to offer traditional financial structures and terms for clean energy projects. At the same time, accelerated public and private investment in these technologies is needed to meet national and global greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
We’re going solar!
Our middle-class, suburban family of five, with two children in college, two mortgages and a pile of other consumer debt, is getting a brand new, 7 kilowatt photovoltaic rooftop system worth roughly $31,000 – without us paying a penny out of pocket.
That’s right. We’re paying nothing upfront for the ability to generate up to one-third of the electricity our 1,500-square-foot split-foyer home would use in a typical month.
How’s that possible? With a power purchase agreement.
States could go a long way toward meeting targets for reduced power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan just by encouraging energy efficiency. One way to do that is to deploy more “intelligent efficiency” solutions at home. Interconnected systems and smart devices could not only help reduce energy use and climate-altering emissions, but also empower consumers to make money-saving choices.
More than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases comes from the residential sector – where we use about 1.4 trillion kWh of electricity annually to power our heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics. Although we pay for it all, a lot of that electricity is wasted. Tried-and-true solutions like weatherization and more efficient light bulbs will continue to be common sense solutions. But increasingly, homeowners, innovators, and policy makers are looking to leverage the average home’s 25 devices to reduce that waste.
Image courtesy U.S. Department of Energy
A homeowner installs a smart thermostat. Devices like this could be controlled though web platforms, along with water heaters, washing machines and LED bulbs with advanced controls.
Energy efficiency can be an attractive way for states to meet the plan’s targets because, in addition to being relatively inexpensive to deploy on its own, energy efficiency reduces the need to build new, costly power plants in the future.
C2ES examined six economic modeling studies that project the likely impacts of the Clean Power Plan on the U.S. power mix and electricity prices. Despite starting with different assumptions, all of the studies project that energy efficiency will be the most used and least-cost option for states to implement the plan, and that overall electricity consumption will decline as a result.
The majority of the studies project either cost savings to power users under the Clean Power Plan or increases of less than $10 billion a year. That translates to less than $87 a year per household, or about 25 cents a day.
|C2ES President Bob Perciasepe moderates a Solutions Forum panel with (l to r): Steve Harper, Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation; Alyssa Caddle, Principle Program Manager, Office of Sustainability, EMC; and Lars Kvale, Head of Business Development, APX Environmental Markets.|
Our second Solutions Forum focused on how to spur more energy efficiency, especially through “intelligent efficiency” — a systems-based approach to energy management enabled through networked devices and sensors.
PREPARED REMARKS BY BOB PERCIASEPE
PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS
DRIVING ENERGY EFFICICIENTY WITH IT, A SOLUTIONS FORUM
MAY 18, 2015
I want to welcome everybody to today’s session. My name is Bob Perciasepe, and I’m president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, or C2ES. We are an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together diverse interests to find solutions to our climate and energy challenges.
Today is a good example of what we try to do. We’re pleased we’re able to bring together a forward-thinking utility executive like Ralph Izzo from PSEG; leaders from innovative companies like Intel, EMC, NEST, and APX, and state and city pioneers in efficiency and sustainability from Illinois, Minnesota, and Philadelphia.
And we’re excited that the Energy Foundation and the Digital Energy and Sustainability Solutions Campaign, or DESSC, are helping sponsor some of this work.
We’re here to talk about energy efficiency and the key role it will play as cities and states look to reduce power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan.
Energy efficiency is a pretty simple thing to contemplate. Every one of us has probably done something in our lives to be more efficient. And yet when it comes to electricity, we still have significant gaps in our efficiency. We continue to waste more energy than we need to in this country and in the world.
We waste energy when we produce it, when we transmit it, and when we use it. It would be like going grocery shopping and leaving a bag of food at the store, throwing a couple of bags out the window as you’re driving home, and dropping a couple of bags on your front lawn. Then you get in the house and you’ve got one bag left. Now of course, that is an exaggeration, but it shows all along the way there’s loss.
When we waste energy, we waste money. If we save energy, we can save money and reduce our emissions. All of these impacts affect both our environment and our economy.
So, there are three things that I think we need to address. One is, energy efficiency should be a key strategy for reducing power plant emissions under the Clean Power Plan both for economic purposes as well as environmental purposes. Second, information and communications technology can help us achieve energy efficiency and that’s going to be a key part of what we’re talking about today. And finally it’s going to take cities, states, and businesses working together to make this happen. That’s why we have the group of people we have today with us to talk about that.
The proposed EPA Clean Power Plan is something that’s on the front burner for a lot of states, cities and companies in the energy business. The plan sets targets for states to reduce power sector emissions, but gives them incredible flexibility in how to meet those targets. It’s clear that energy efficiency will be a key tool in the toolbox.
C2ES has a new report examining six economic modeling studies that project the likely impacts of the proposed plan. All of the models project that energy efficiency will be the most-used option to implement the Clean Power Plan -- because it’s the least-cost option. We could see an overall decline in the demand for electricity over time while maintaining our quality of life and all of the goals we have for the use of electricity.
Also, the majority of the studies we examined project either savings to power consumers or costs of less than $10 billion a year. To put that in context: That means implementing the Clean Power Plan would cost each household about 25 cents a day.
So, how do we get to this more energy-efficient future?
We have the technology – right now – that can help us be significantly more energy-efficient. We’re going to hear more today about intelligent efficiency. This is a systems-based approach looking at that drive back from the grocery store. How can you keep from leaving bags at the store or losing them while you’re driving home or forgetting them on the front lawn? How can technology and intelligent efficiency help, whether it’s networked devices, sensors, or smart grids? And how can we measure and verify that the energy savings efforts are credible?
Some estimate intelligent efficiency could help America cut energy use by nearly a quarter in just a few years. We’d be reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And we’d be throwing a lot fewer dollars out the window.
We looked at what the federal government can do by deploying more information and communication technologies across federal agencies, and we estimated the government could save more than $5 billion in energy costs.
Finally, if we have all of this great technology, why aren’t we using more of it?
We need the right policies, regulations, and incentives to integrate this technology and accelerate its deployment.
Cities, states and companies are going to be important in this whole arena. How do we bring together the businesses that are innovating in energy and efficiency with the cities and states that are implementing programs in those areas? It’s not self-implementing. It doesn’t just happen. There has to be way to get a larger penetration of these technologies.
Innovative partnerships and programs are going to be important going forward. Cities, states, and businesses can work together -- to promote energy efficiency, and help deploy the information technology that can make it cheaper, easier, and maybe even more fun to save energy.