Business

US can reach its Paris Agreement goal

After witnessing the historic signing of the Paris Agreement by 175 nations, we now need to turn our attention to fulfilling its promise.

As its nationally determined contribution to the agreement, the United States set a goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. In a new paper, C2ES outlines how expected and in-place policies could get us close to the goal line -- reducing emissions by as much as 22 percent. Getting the rest of the way can likely be achieved through a mix of additional policies, city and business action, and technological innovation.

The chart above illustrates how U.S. emissions can be reduced almost 22 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The rest of the gap with the INDC submitted for the Paris Agreement can be achieved through a mix of additional policies, city and business action, and technological innovation.

First, let’s look at how we can get to a 22 percent reduction.

U.S. net emissions are already down more than 9 percent from 2005 levels due to market- and policy-related factors, including a shift in electricity generation from coal to natural gas, growth in renewable energy, level electricity demand, and improved vehicle efficiency.

The C2ES business-as-usual forecast, drawn from a number of analyses, projects an additional 5.6 percent reduction in net emissions through such policies as greenhouse gas standards for vehicles and the Clean Power Plan.

The rest of the anticipated emissions reductions is expected to come from new, higher estimates of future carbon sequestration and additional measures under development, including steps to strengthen fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, and reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Now, how will we address the remaining gap of at least 270 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent?

Additional federal policies would help. For example, greenhouse gas standards could be set for major industrial sectors under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the same section that underlies the Clean Power Plan.

Technological advances that lower the cost of emissions reduction will also undoubtedly play an important role. Over the next five to 10 years, battery storage technologies are expected to improve by a factor of 10, which would support the integration of more renewable generation. A promising design for a natural gas power plant with nearly 100 percent carbon capture will enter the demonstration phase next year and could be commercialized soon after. And agricultural advances are leading to more sustainable crops able to sequester more carbon dioxide in their root systems.

Stronger efforts by cities will also be critical to filling the gap. A growing number of cities are working to improve the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, which account for for 41 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. Greater adoption of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which help finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, could significantly reduce city energy demand. Similarly, city programs to build out infrastructure to increase the adoption rate of electric vehicles will, in-time, appreciably lower transportation-related emissions.

Companies, too, will play a key role. Twelve leading companies signed the C2ES statement calling on governments to quickly join the Paris climate pact and pledging to work with countries toward the domestic measures needed to achieve their national emissions-cutting contributions. More than 150 U.S. companies with a combined market capitalization in excess of $7 trillion joined the American Business Act on Climate Pledge – committing to reduce emissions, increase renewable power, or finance climate efforts. And the White House is calling on more companies to join the initiative.

The United States has significantly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade. Cutting emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 is a challenging goal. But many options remain untapped, and concerted efforts across multiple fronts can get us across the goal line.

Microsoft joins C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council

Press Release
April 26, 2016
Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

Microsoft joins C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council

WASHINGTON -- The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) announced today that Microsoft Corp. has joined the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council and its efforts to address the world’s climate and energy challenges.

“Microsoft has been a proven leader in addressing climate change,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “By setting an internal price on carbon, improving energy efficiency, expanding its use of green power, and by working with its customers and partners to leverage technology and data to reduce energy and resource use broadly, Microsoft is setting a strong example for others to follow.”

The center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), which first formed in 1998, is the largest U.S.-based association of companies solely devoted to climate-related policy and corporate strategies. The council contains mainly Fortune 500 companies representing a diverse group of industries with combined revenues of over $2 trillion and more than 3.5 million employees.

“Individually and collectively, these companies are demonstrating that it is possible to take action to address energy and climate challenges while maintaining competitive excellence,” Perciasepe said.

Microsoft’s global operations have been 100 percent carbon neutral since June 2012. This has been achieved through increased operational efficiency, investments in renewable energy, and through an internal carbon fee that holds business groups accountable for their carbon emissions. In the first three years of the fee, Microsoft reduced its company-wide emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e), purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt hours of green power, and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

“Our partnership with C2ES is a reflection of our longstanding environmental commitment,” said Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft. “We believe that technology can empower people and organizations worldwide to achieve a more sustainable future. We look forward to engaging with C2ES and other businesses in the BELC to discover and implement innovative solutions to transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future for our planet.”

More on the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council.

C2ES and Microsoft host a discussion on Wednesday, April 27, 8:30-10 a.m. EDT, Beyond Paris: From Agreement to Action on Climate Change.
Watch the live video.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our climate and energy challenges. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

About Microsoft: Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Business Backs Paris Agreement

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Major companies are encouraging governments to quickly join the Paris Agreement and are pledging to work with countries on the steps needed to achieve climate goals. See the statement and the signers.
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Major companies support Paris Agreement

Press Release
April 20, 2016
Contact Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

Major companies support Paris Agreement

Urge governments to move quickly to formally join climate pact

WASHINGTON – Twelve leading companies based or with major operations in the United States voiced strong support today for the landmark global climate agreement to be signed this week and urged governments to move expeditiously to formally join it.

In a statement organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), the companies said they recognize rising climate risks and welcome the agreement reached in December at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris “as an expression of the strong governmental leadership needed to smoothly transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

The Paris Agreement, to be signed Friday in New York by more than 150 countries, establishes “an inclusive, pragmatic and, hopefully, durable framework for progressively strengthening efforts globally to address the causes and consequences of climate change,” the statement says.

The statement was endorsed by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Calpine, HP Inc., Intel, LafargeHolcim, Microsoft, National Grid, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric, Shell, and Siemens.

“These companies have real skin in the game – either they’re big energy producers or users,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “They know emissions need to come down and are taking action on their own. But they also believe the low-carbon transition requires government leadership to ensure that all major economies are doing their fair share.”

The statement says the Paris Agreement will help facilitate and strengthen the role of the private sector in the low-carbon transition by providing long-term direction, promoting transparency, addressing competitiveness, and facilitating carbon pricing.

“Allowing, and ensuring the environmental integrity of, international emissions trading will help facilitate the growth and credibility of carbon markets, a critical tool for cost-effective emissions reduction,” the statement says.

Many of the companies joining the statement were among the hundreds that pledged specific climate actions in the lead-up to the Paris conference.

"We encourage governments to move expeditiously to formally join the Paris Agreement,” the statement says, "and pledge to work with countries to enact and implement the domestic measures needed to achieve their national contributions.”

The full statement is at: http://bit.ly/Biz4Climate

 

Additional Resources:

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our energy and climate challenges. C2ES works to galvanize business and public support for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Business support for the Paris Agreement


                                                                                                                            Photo curtesty UNFCCC via Flickr

Twelve major corporations based or operating in the United States are voicing strong support for the Paris Agreement as an expression of the strong governmental leadership needed to smoothly transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.

The companies are endorsing a statement organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions encouraging governments to move expeditiously to formally join the Paris Agreement, and pledging to "work with countries to enact and implement the domestic measures needed to achieve their national contributions."

The full text is below.
Download a pdf of the statement.

BUSINESS STATEMENT WELCOMING THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

This statement was developed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and is supported by the major companies listed below.

The Paris Agreement on climate change is a landmark achievement – it establishes an inclusive, pragmatic and, hopefully, durable framework for progressively strengthening efforts globally to address the causes and consequences of climate change.

We recognize the rising environmental, social, economic, and security risks posed by climate change.  As businesses concerned about the well-being of our investors, our customers, our communities and our planet, we are committed to working on our own and in partnership with governments to mobilize the technology, investment and innovation needed to transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy.

We welcome the Paris Agreement as an expression of the strong governmental leadership needed to smoothly transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.  The Agreement will help to facilitate and strengthen the role of the private sector in this transition by:

  • Providing Long-Term Direction – The goals of keeping warming below 2°C, peaking global emissions, and achieving net greenhouse gas neutrality signal markets to shift investment toward the diverse range of technologies needed to achieve them.
  • Promoting Transparency – By requiring countries to be transparent about their policy intentions and implementation, the agreement will provide greater clarity on policy landscapes, enabling companies to better anticipate regulatory risks and economic opportunities.
  • Addressing Competitiveness – Global participation and the regular, simultaneous renewal of national contributions will promote a greater comparability of effort, helping to address potential carbon leakage and competitive imbalances that remain a concern for business.
  • Facilitating Carbon Pricing – Allowing, and ensuring the environmental integrity of, international emissions trading will help facilitate the growth and credibility of carbon markets, a critical tool for cost-effective emissions reduction.

We encourage governments to move expeditiously to formally join the Paris Agreement, and pledge to work with countries to enact and implement the domestic measures needed to achieve their national contributions.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY ENERGY • CALPINE • HP Inc. • INTEL • LAFARGEHOLCIM
MICROSOFT • NATIONAL GRID • PG&E • RIO TINTO • SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC • SHELL • SIEMENS

 

Additional Resources

Key Insights on Collaboration for a Resilient Anchorage

Key Insights on Collaboration for a Resilient Anchorage

April 2016

Download the fact sheet (PDF)

C2ES held a two-day Solutions Forum workshop in March 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska, focusing on opportunities for collaboration in building a climate-resilient Anchorage. About 50 business leaders, city, state, federal and tribal officials, nonprofit organizations, and other experts shared their experiences addressing climate change impacts and enhancing resilience. Discussion focused on the role each stakeholder group can play in planning for resilience. This paper summarizes the key insights of the meeting and areas of focus moving forward.

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Beyond Paris: From Agreement to Action on Climate Change

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8:30-10 a.m.Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center901 K Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20001Watch video of the event

             

Beyond Paris: From Agreement to Action on Climate Change

Hosted by: Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

The historic Paris Agreement represents not only the culmination of years of negotiations, but also a unique moment in which businesses, cities, and heads of state from over 150 countries gathered to make their own commitments and discuss solutions to climate change.

Please join Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) for a lively discussion on Wednesday, April 27, 8:30-10 a.m., with senior representatives from various sectors to discuss innovative and proactive climate solutions, what Paris means four months later, and how to move from agreement to action on climate change. 

Watch video of the event

 

SPEAKERS

Robert Diamond
Special Assistant to the President and Director of Private Sector Engagement,
The White House

Elliot Diringer
Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Fred Humphries
Corporate Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio
Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft

Steve Harper
Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel

Alex Liftman
Global Environmental Executive, Bank of America

Cathy Woollums
Senior Vice President, Environmental Services and Chief Environmental Counsel
Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Moderator
Bob Perciasepe

President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Additional panelists may be announced.

 

Follow the discussion on Twitter: #MSFTClimateAction

How the US can meet its climate pledge

The following was published in March 2016 on the EcoWomen blog. View the original post here.

By Manjyot Bhan, Policy Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

I let out a cheer when Leonardo DiCaprio mentioned climate change during his Oscars acceptance speech. But concern about climate extends far beyond the red carpet.

Religious leaders, military officials, mayors, governors, business executives, and leaders of the world’s nations are all speaking about the need to address the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our environment and economies.

Last December, world leaders reached a landmark climate agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) that commits all countries to contribute their best efforts and establishes a system to hold them accountable. COP 21’s Paris Agreement also sent a signal to the world to ramp up investment in a clean energy and clean transportation future.

The U.S. committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 level by 2025. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan was touted as a key policy tool to help reach that goal. However, with the recent surprise stay of the rule by U.S. Supreme Court, can the U.S. still meet its climate pledge? Simply put, yes.

Under the Clean Power Plan, the EPA sets unique emissions goals for each state and encouraged states to craft their own solutions. It is projected that the rule will reduce power sector carbon emissions at least 32 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Last month’s stay does not challenge “whether” EPA can regulate—the court has already ruled that it can—but rather “how” it can regulate. And the stay is not stopping many states and power companies from continuing to plan for a low-carbon future.

Some of the key ingredients that led to success at COP 21—national leadership and a strong showing by “sub-national actors,” including states, cities and businesses—will also be fundamental to U.S. success in meeting its climate goals.

recent event in Washington—held by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and New America—outlined the gap between existing policy trajectories and the U.S. goal. A secondary outcome of the meeting also explored how federal, state, and local policies and actions can leverage technology to close the gap.

An analysis by the Rhodium Group found that even without the Clean Power Plan, the recently extended federal tax credits for solar and wind energy will help significantly. Existing federal policies on fuel economy standards for vehicles and energy efficiency also support the U.S. goals, as well policies in the works to regulate hydrofluorocarbons and methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

States and cities made a strong showing of support for the Paris Agreement, and they have emerged as leaders in promoting energy efficiency and clean energy.

Additionally, many states are continuing to work toward implementing aspects of the Clean Power Plan. And even those not doing public planning are discussing ways states and the power sector can collaborate to cut carbon emissions cost-effectively. Last month, a bipartisan group of 17 governors announced they will jointly pursue energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric and alternatively fueled vehicles. The Clean Power Plan stay can be looked at as giving states more time to innovate.

More than 150 companies have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge committing to steps such as cutting emissions, reducing water usage and using more renewable energy across their supply chains. One hundred companies have signed the Business Backs Low-Carbon USA, which calls the entire business community to transition to a low-carbon future.

Following the court’s stay, many power companies came out in support of the rule or reaffirmed plans to work toward clean energy and energy-efficiency.

2015 UNEP report suggests that beyond each countries’ individual commitments, actions by sub-national actors across the globe can result in net additional contributions of 0.75 to 2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020. While it is hard to accurately quantify the specific contributions of U.S. states, cities, and businesses in reducing emissions, they have the potential to accelerate the pace at which the U.S. meets its climate goals.

 

Climate Leadership Award winners to be honored

Media Advisory
March 9, 2016

Climate Leadership Award winners to be honored

SEATTLE – Thirteen organizations, three partnerships, and one individual are being honored today with Climate Leadership Awards for their accomplishments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and driving climate action.

The awards are given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, in collaboration with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry. Awardees will be honored this evening at the Climate Leadership Conference in Seattle, WA.

The awardees come from a wide array of sectors, including manufacturing, technology, energy, retail, and government. Recipients have demonstrated leadership in managing and reducing emissions, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and preparing for the impacts of climate change.

Information on the award winners is at: http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/2016-climate-leadership-award-winners
Learn more about the conference at: http://www.climateleadershipconference.org/

Following is EPA's press release:

EPA To Announce 2016 Climate Leadership Awards/ Mars, Microsoft, Ingersoll Rand, and Calif. Department of Water Resources to Earn Organizational Leadership Awards; Among 17 Awardees Recognized for Climate Action

Release Date: 03/09/2016
Contact Information: Enesta Jones jones.enesta@epa.gov 202-564-7873 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will recognize organizations from around the country at the Climate Leadership Awards for their leadership and innovation in helping fight climate change. Winners are honored for managing and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in internal operations and throughout the supply chain, as well as integrating climate resilience into their operating strategies. This is the fifth year of the annual Climate Leadership Awards, a partnership between the EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR).

“This year’s Climate Leadership Award winners are setting a high bar for organizations across the country,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “They are proving that climate action isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the profitable thing to do.”

“The winners of the 2016 Climate Leadership Awards are showing the way to a more sustainable future,” said Ted Roosevelt IV, C2ES board chairman. “After the hottest year globally on record, this leadership is more urgent than ever. Companies, cities, and individuals are crucial to demonstrating real-world success in reducing the emissions contributing to climate change. We applaud the CLA winners for demonstrating the many paths forward to a low-carbon future, and hope others follow their example.”

“The Climate Registry is honored to recognize the 2016 award winners for their dedication to addressing climate change,” said David Rosenheim, TCR executive director. “This impressive group of climate champions has raised the bar for climate action, and we hope others will follow their lead as we move towards a low-carbon economy. We applaud this year’s winners for transparently measuring and reducing their carbon pollution, demonstrating the path to a more sustainable future.”

From an innovative partnership that dramatically increased mass adoption of home energy and water efficiency projects in communities across California to some of the country’s largest corporations exceeding their aggressive emission reduction goals, the EPA’s Climate Leadership Award winners illustrate that actions to combat climate change make smart business decisions.

The 2016 Climate Leadership Award recipients will be:

· Organizational Leadership Award: California Department of Water Resources (Sacramento, Calif.) for protecting California’s water supply; Ingersoll Rand (Davidson, N.C.) for phasing out HCFCs and other refrigerants; Mars, Incorporated (McLean, Va.) for working to eliminate GHG emissions 100 percent by 2040; Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, Wash.) for establishing an internal carbon fee that funds energy upgrades, and more.

· Supply Chain Leadership Award: Cisco Systems (San Jose, Calif.) for engaging all suppliers to have strong sustainability programs.

· Individual Leadership Award: Thomas G. Day, United States Postal Service (Washington, D.C.) for leading the U.S. Postal Service in reducing GHG emissions 20 percent by 2020.

· Innovative Partnerships Certificate: Government Authorities for the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Program (San Diego, Calif.) for helping to increase the mass adoption of home energy and water efficiency across California; King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (Seattle, Wash.) for adopting a countywide GHG emissions reduction goal of 25 percent by 2020; Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership (Minneapolis, Minn.) for working to reduce the City’s emissions 30 percent by 2025.

· Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management Goal Achievement: Best Buy Co., Inc. (Richfield, Minn.) for reducing absolute GHG emissions 26 percent from 2009 to 2014; Kimberly-Clark Corporation (Irving, Texas) for reducing global absolute GHG emissions 6.9 percent from 2010 to 2014; Pitney Bowes (Stamford, Conn.) for reducing global absolute GHG emissions 15 percent from 2012 to 2014; United Technologies Corporation (Hartford, Conn.) for reducing global absolute GHG emissions 27 percent from 2006 to 2014; Xcel Energy (Minneapolis, Minn.) for reducing absolute GHG emissions 20 percent from 2005 to 2014.

· Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management Goal Setting: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW Airport, Texas) for setting an absolute target of an annual 2 percent reduction in its scope one and two GHG emissions from 2010 to 2020; IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) for setting a 35 percent absolute GHG emissions third-generation reduction goal for global operations between 2005 and 2020; MetLife, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) for working to achieve carbon neutrality from 2016 through at least 2018.

The awards will be presented at the 2016 Climate Leadership Conference in Seattle, Wash.

EPA's Center for Corporate Climate Leadership establishes standards of climate leadership by encouraging organizations with emerging climate objectives to identify and achieve cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions, while helping more advanced organizations drive innovations in reducing their greenhouse gas impacts in their supply chains and beyond. The Center provides technical tools, guidance, educational resources, and opportunities for information sharing and peer exchange among organizations interested in reducing the environmental impacts associated with climate change.

More information about the 2016 Climate Leadership Award winners: http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership/2016-climate-leadership-award-winners
More information about EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership: http://www.epa.gov/climateleadership

States, cities, companies support clean power

A number of states, cities, and power companies plan to press forward with clean energy efforts despite this week’s Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan.

That’s because the future of carbon regulation is not “if” but “how and when,” and it is too big a question not to continue a thoughtful conversation among thoughtful people.

States to explore options

Officials in states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington have said the court’s temporary stay won’t stop them from continuing to explore implementation options, which include leveraging the power of market forces to reduce emissions. Even states suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been having these conversations, and most will continue to.

For instance, Montana Department of Environmental Quality energy bureau chief Laura Andersen told ClimateWire, "The market forces at play in the region are quite significant and will not go away just because the Clean Power Plan has a stay on it.”

Al Minier, chairman of the Wyoming Public Service Commission, said the stay could give regulators more time to develop strategies that are best for the state.

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