Business

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.

Bob Perciasepe's statement on SCOTUS stay of the Clean Power Plan

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 
February 9, 2016

Contact: Marty Niland, nilandm@c2es.org, (cell) 410-963-8974
 
The Supreme Court has made clear in previous rulings that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.  Whether or not the Court ultimately upholds this particular rule, the need to cut carbon emissions will remain, and states need to figure out the most cost-effective ways to do that.  It’s in everyone’s interest that states keep at it, because whether it’s the Clean Power Plan or some other policy, they’ll need smart strategies to get the job done.
 
The country has made substantial progress reducing emissions and ramping up clean energy technologies.  Much of that progress has come from business, state and city leadership and initiative. There’s no reason to halt progress and innovation as we wait for these legal challenges to work through the courts.  C2ES will continue working with businesses, states and cities on market-based approaches to curbing emissions while keeping our power supplies reliable and affordable.

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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. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

 

Webinar: EValuateNY

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1:30-2:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Gain insights into the policies and factors that move the electric vehicle (EV) market in New York state with a free information tool developed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), with support from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Atlas Public Policy.
 
To help the EV market grow past its initial base of early adopters, it needs support from public policies, investments, and educational and marketing initiatives. Government agencies, businesses, and automakers have undertaken a wide variety of supportive actions, but tracking the effectiveness of the initiatives required gathering complex information from many different sources.
 
EValuateNY is a tool that eases the process of tracking initiatives and comparing their effects. EValuateNY is designed to provide easy access to comprehensive data from the EV market that lets government agencies, businesses, or researchers identify which factors affect the EV market in New York State, using databases and visualizations to create comparisons. This information can be used to glean market insights and develop guidance on ideas for further research. EValuateNY is a publicly available tool designed for Microsoft Excel and Power BI, allowing use by anyone with a basic knowledge of Microsoft programs.
 
This webinar will introduce EValuateNY and will review the tool’s uses. Adam Ruder from NYSERDA will host the session, with presentations by C2ES’ Dan Welch and Atlas’s Nick Nigro.

Bob Perciasepe's statement on C2ES ranking among top think tanks

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 
January 28, 2016
 
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is honored to be recognized once again as one of the world’s leading think tanks.
 
We learned today that we ranked fifth among environment policy think tanks in the 2015 University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tank Index, based on a worldwide survey of more than 4,600 scholars, public and private donors, policymakers, and journalists from 143 countries.
 
C2ES’s consistently high ranking is a tribute to our unique ability to bring together diverse stakeholders – business leaders, city and state officials, federal policymakers, and international climate negotiators – to achieve practical, commonsense solutions to our climate and energy challenges.
 
I congratulate and thank our outstanding staff, partners, and supporters who have helped C2ES achieve and maintain our success through the years.

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Contact Laura Rehrmann at rehrmannl@c2es.org

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the challenges of energy and climate change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Extreme weather and other climate-related impacts are becoming more frequent, and are imposing real costs on communities and companies. Companies have always navigated a changing business environment. But now they face a changing physical environment, as climate change affects their facilities and operations, supply and distribution chains, electricity and water, and employees and customers.

A new 2015 C2ES Report, Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience, examines how companies are preparing for climate risks and what is keeping them from doing more. It also suggests strategies for companies and cities to collaborate to strengthen climate resilience.

 

The new report synthesizes public disclosures by S&P Global 100 companies, in-depth interviews and case studies, and workshops. It updates the groundbreaking 2013 report, Weathering the Storm, Building Business Resilience to Climate Change, which provided a baseline for how companies were assessing their climate vulnerabilities.

Click above to see our Weathering the Next Storm  infographic, with key takeaways

Key Findings

  • Most major companies recognize and report climate risks. Ninety-one percent of companies in the S&P Global 100 Index see extreme weather and climate change impacts as current or future risks to their business.
  • Companies worry about climate impacts beyond their facilities. Almost all companies interviewed expressed concern about impacts to their supply chains and public infrastructure.
  • There isn’t one right way to assess and manage climate risks. Many companies view climate change as a “threat multiplier” that exacerbates existing risks. This puts climate change into a familiar context, but could cause companies to overlook or underestimate the threats they face.
  • Companies struggle to translate long-term, global climate data into short-term, local risks. Despite growing access to climate-related data and tools, companies say they need “actionable science” that helps them understand locally-specific risks or risk scenarios.

C2ES Recommendations

  • Companies can start with a limited-scope vulnerability assessment – focusing, for example, on the most critical parts of the business – to raise internal awareness of climate risks.
  • Companies should facilitate regular communication across departments involved in climate risk and resilience -- including sustainability, risk management, operations, and finance – and consider whether to change planning horizons to better incorporate climate risks.
  • Companies, state and city governments, non-profits and local experts should explore partnerships to analyze data, evaluate climate risks, undertake cost-benefit studies, and implement resilience planning.
  • Governments should look for ways to streamline climate risk reporting and provide more guidance on how to incorporate climate risks into financial disclosures.
  • Governments should improve public infrastructure and provide opportunities for the private sector to contribute to resilience planning efforts and investments.

Additional Resources:

Video: Webinar for California’s Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, December 2, 2015

Video of our report launch

 

Building Resilience to Climate Change -- Why it's Crucial

 

Panel: Taking Business Resilience to the Next Level

Taking the lead at the climate talks

 Business leaders dicuss ways they are innovating and investing to meet their climate challenges at a C2ES event during COP 21 in Paris. (Photo courtesy of UNFCCC via Flickr).

A clear message coming out of Paris is that, now more than ever, businesses, states and cities are taking the lead on climate.

The conference kicked off with more than 150 heads of state -- the largest group of world leaders ever to stand together – urging action to curb the risks of of climate change – the more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels that we’re already experiencing.

But I was struck by just how many state representatives, mayors, and business leaders from the U.S. and around the world were here in Paris, all lending their voice to support taking strong action globally to address climate change.

Soon after I arrived, I was honored to participate in a Climate Summit for Local Leaders at Paris City Hall hosted by Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It was the first time local leaders had ever gathered in such numbers during a UN climate change conference.

But their actions on climate started long before Paris. More than 400 cities have signed onto the Compact of Mayors – a global coalition of cities committed to measure and reduce their emissions. Former Mayor Bloomberg explained it this way: “Policies at the local level can make a huge difference. Local leaders are doers.”

Paris climate talks: This could be the start of something big

As negotiators in Paris put the finishing touches on a new global climate accord, it’s worth reflecting on how much the summit has already accomplished.

One event or agreement by itself can’t completely reverse the climate problem. But like other important moments in history, such as the drive to land on the moon in 1969, Paris can inspire innovations across society.The U.S. space program would not have been possible without technologies that still benefit us today like scratch-resistant lenses, computer microchips, smoke detectors and solar panels. Nearly half a century later, many businesses, cities, states and nations are taking new, bold steps to reduce emissions and move toward a clean energy economy.

Whether it’s paving the way for rapid, wide-scale development of renewables, investing in energy efficiency technology and lower carbon electricity, or building resilience to climate impacts, a huge wave of innovation has already been unleashed.

Consider just some of the announcements made before and during the Paris talks:

  • Leaders of 20 countries announced they’ll seek to double investment in clean energy research and development over five years. Backing up this effort, called Mission Innovation, are more than two dozen investors led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates who have pledged to fund early-stage clean energy technology coming out of Mission Innovation.
  • India and France announced an international solar alliance to dramatically increase the reach of solar energy to more than 100 countries in the tropics.
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