The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house policy analyses, and tracking of current legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. Read More
On February 25, 2013, C2ES responded to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-RI)—Co-Chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change—request for policy responses to climate change. The letter below assesses effective policy responses to climate change and includes links to the resources mentioned in the letter.
Dear Congressman Waxman and Senator Whitehouse:
Thank you for your request for policy responses to climate change and for considering the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) a key participant in this important dialogue.
We agree that the past year of extreme heat, drought, flooding and wildfire underscores the need for stronger measures to advance clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and strengthen America’s climate resilience. We believe that strong and sensible federal action to reduce climate risks must be a top national priority.
C2ES continues to favor market-based approaches that put a price on carbon as the most cost-effective means of reducing GHG emissions. Apart from such approaches, which would require major new legislation, there is a range of actions the Administration and Congress can take to significantly reduce GHG emissions, expand clean energy sources, and make communities and critical infrastructure more climate-resilient. For example: the Administration can adopt stronger standards through 2025 for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; finalize its proposed GHG emission standards for new power plants; set GHG emissions standards for existing power plants, while allowing states to meet them with a range of market-based measures; increase the energy efficiency of appliances and industrial equipment; open more federal lands to renewable energy development; and increase efforts to tackle short-lived climate forcers such as methane, black carbon, and HFCs. Please find attached a paper that C2ES recently published on “Federal Action on Climate Change and Clean Energy” describing these and other measures.
While there are several actions Congress could undertake (as mentioned in the attached paper), we would like to raise one, in particular, for your consideration: Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) offers a safe and commercially proven method of domestic oil production that can help the United States simultaneously capture and store CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants, and increase our nation’s energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil. The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative (NEORI), a coalition of industry, state, labor and environmental leaders, has released consensus recommendations for Congressional action to advance CO2-EOR. Because coal and natural gas will be significant sources of energy in the United States, China, India and other countries for years to come, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is likely to be critical for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources as quickly as they must be reduced; the NEORI recommendations provide perhaps the only viable approach at this time for reducing the cost of deploying CCS. In 2012, Senators Conrad, Enzi, and Rockefeller introduced legislation (S. 3581) that adopted NEORI’s recommendations for reforming the existing tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration. NEORI is currently promoting the creation of a more flexible, comprehensive, and expanded tax credit to take full advantage of the environmental, economic, and energy security benefits offered by CO2-EOR. Please find attached NEORI’s complete recommendations.
Please have your staff contact Nikki Roy with any questions about this or with anything else C2ES can do to be of assistance. We look forward to working with you and your congressional colleagues to advance a strong U.S. climate change policy.
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog on sizing up President Obama's State of the Union speech
You can read responses at the National Journal.
Here is my response: When Congress failed to enact the climate bill in 2010, many longtime climate action advocates responded by falling silent on climate change. “Too polarizing,” they said. “When we talk about climate change, the skeptics attack climate science, the press reports he-said-she-said, and all the public hears is a muddle. Let’s talk about green jobs and air pollution instead.”
February 13, 2013
Contact: Laura Rehrmann, firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-516-0621
C2ES POLICY GUIDE OUTLINES OPTIONS FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY ACTION
WASHINGTON – A new policy guide from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) outlines actions the Administration and Congress can take to protect the climate and meet America’s energy needs.
The new guide, Federal Action on Climate Change and Clean Energy, identifies a range of steps that can be taken by executive action or through legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advance clean energy and energy efficiency, and make communities and critical infrastructure more climate-resilient.
“As President Obama rightly emphasized in his inaugural and State of the Union addresses, we can both reduce climate risks and strengthen the economy by accelerating the clean energy transition,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen.
“We continue to believe that market-based approaches that put a price on carbon are the most cost-effective means of reducing emissions. So as the president and Congress seek long-term solutions to the nation’s fiscal challenges, we strongly encourage them to consider a cap-and-trade program or a revenue-neutral carbon tax,” Claussen said. “But there are plenty of other steps that are politically viable and will make a difference.”
For example, using existing authorities, the Administration could:
- Build on its new rules doubling the fuel economy of passenger vehicles by adopting stronger fuel economy and emissions standards through 2025 for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
- Finalize carbon emission standards for new power plants, and develop standards for existing plants (source of a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions) allowing states to use a range of implementation measures, including market-based approaches.
- Step up efforts to reduce emissions of short-lived climate forcers such as methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- Set new energy efficiency standards for household appliances and industrial equipment.
- Strengthen climate resilience by helping states, businesses and communities prepare for more extreme weather and other climate impacts.
- Shrink the federal carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency and expanding the use of clean energy in defense and other federal operations.
Working together, the president and Congress can also:
- Provide continued support for research, development and deployment of low-emitting energy technologies, including programs at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
- Extend the wind production tax credit and initiate a comprehensive review of all energy subsidies to set criteria for phasing out those no longer needed.
- Take steps to reduce emissions and promote clean energy in the reauthorizations of transportation, the farm bill and other major federal programs.
- Establish a comprehensive climate information service similar to the National Weather Service to help states and localities factor long-range forecasts into their adaptation and disaster response strategies.
To read the C2ES policy guide, click here.
To arrange interviews about the C2ES policy guide, contact Laura Rehrmann at email@example.com.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the linked challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.
Statement of Eileen Claussen
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
February 12, 2013
We’re encouraged that the president again made a strong case for action and went the next step by laying out some specific ideas for moving toward a low-carbon economy.
A stable climate and reliable energy are both fundamental to our economic well-being. The past year of extreme heat, drought, flooding and wildfire made painfully clear that the economic costs of climate change are real and rising. By investing now in clean energy and climate resilience we can reduce these risks while strengthening our economy and energy security. And we can help U.S. firms and workers better compete in the global clean energy market.
Like the president, we continue to believe that market-based approaches that put a price on carbon are the most cost-effective means of reducing emissions. So as he and Congress seek long-term solutions to the nation’s fiscal challenges, we strongly encourage them to consider either a cap-and-trade system or a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
If Congress isn’t prepared to act, the president has no choice but to use the powers at his disposal to cut carbon emissions. Many companies are prepared to work with EPA to craft sensible policies meeting both our climate and energy needs. EPA can achieve the biggest emission cuts at the lowest cost by allowing states to use a range of implementation approaches, including market-based policies.
We hope the president continues to speak out in the weeks and months ahead. We’re long overdue for a sensible and sustained conversation about the risks of climate change and the economic opportunities in a clean energy transition. And no one is better placed to lead that conversation than the president.
I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog: “How should Washington address climate change?"
You can ready other responses at the National Journal.
Here is my response: President Obama’s inaugural address placed climate change and clean energy where they truly belong – among the most profound challenges of our time. Our progress in addressing them over the next four years depends on how vigorously the president works to translate words into action, and whether there’s any willingness in Congress to join him in the effort.
Statement of Eileen Claussen
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
December 21, 2012
We strongly applaud Sen. Kerry’s nomination as Secretary of State.
Sen. Kerry has a long history of supporting policies to help the environment. No member of Congress has devoted more energy over the past two decades to strengthening the international effort against climate change.
Global climate change is one of the key challenges of our time. Sen. Kerry will bring vital expertise and knowledge on the issue of climate change as we endeavor to work toward a meaningful, balanced international agreement in 2015.
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 the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.
Loorz v. Jackson (United States District Court for the District of Columbia, April 2, 2012).
A federal district court in Washington D.C. allowed business groups to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to require the federal government to establish a plan for an immediate cap on GHG emissions and start lowering these emissions by six percent a year beginning in 2013. Several advocacy groups, including Our Children’s Trust, filed the federal lawsuit in May 2011 along with similar actions in many states. The lawsuit alleges that the federal government has a duty under the public trust doctrine to reduce GHG emissions in the atmosphere. So far, no state challenges have been successful.
Alec L. v. Jackson (United States District Court for the District of Columbia, May 31, 2012).
Five children, along with the groups Kids vs. Global Warming and WildEarth Guardians, sued the heads of several federal agencies for failing to adequately address global warming. The plaintiffs proceeded on the theory that the atmosphere is a commonly shared public resource that defendants, as agency heads, have a duty to protect under the public trust doctrine. As relief, plaintiffs asked for an injunction directing the named federal agencies to “take all necessary actions to enable carbon dioxide emissions to peak by 2012 and decline by at least six percent per year beginning in 2013.” Defendants and intervenors argued in a motion to dismiss that plaintiffs failed to state a valid claim for relief. The district court agreed and dismissed the suit. Relying on the recent Supreme Court decision PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana (2012), the court held that the public trust doctrine is a matter of state, not federal, law. It further held that even if the public trust doctrine were a federal common law claim, such a claim has been displaced in this case by the Clean Air Act (as was similarly held in the 2011 Supreme Court case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut).
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers v. EPA (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, filed June 2012).
In June 2012, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the Western States Petroleum Association filed a lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit Court, challenging the EPA’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) volume mandate decision for 2012. Specifically, it challenges EPA’s decision to require refiners to blend domestic fuel with cellulosic ethanol, an absolute volume mandate, or pay a penalty. In April 2012, the court approved six biofuel trade groups, including the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the Advanced Biofuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Advanced Ethanol Council, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, to intervene in the lawsuit in support of the EPA.
The lawsuit was filed after EPA denied a petition from various petroleum groups asking for a waiver of the 2011 cellulosic fuel requirements under the RFS standard; EPA has the authority to grant a waiver when there is an inadequate supply of domestic biofuel. Petroleum groups have been opposed to the cellulosic biofuels portion of the RFS since it took effect in 2010 in part because they allege that significant amounts of the renewable fuel don’t exist. The lawsuit alleges that in denying the waiver, the EPA is essentially implementing a hidden fuel tax to consumers because it forces refiners to purchase credits representing a fuel that is not yet commercially available. In denying the petition, the EPA said that the organizations had ample opportunity to raise their arguments in response to the two notices of proposed rulemaking but failed to do so. This is case is currently pending.