Federal

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
 

January 2012 Newsletter

Click here to view our January 2012 newsletter.

Learn about the Climate Leadership Conference, Australia's new carbon pricing mechanism, the Make an Impact energy conservation challenge, and more in C2ES's January 2012 newsletter.

Eileen Claussen Reacts to President Obama's State of the Union Address

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

January 24, 2012

We share President Obama’s enthusiasm for homegrown solutions to America’s energy challenges. Without question, America has the resources and know-how to produce more energy at home, strengthening both our economy and our national security. But protecting the climate also has to be part of the equation. If we sensitively develop domestic reserves, get serious about ramping up new energy sources, and push efficiency across the board, we can both meet America’s energy needs and dramatically shrink our carbon footprint.

Even if comprehensive legislation remains off the table for now, we can make important progress tackling these challenges piece by piece. C2ES is working with policymakers and stakeholders on ways to expand enhanced oil recovery using captured carbon dioxide – an approach that can boost domestic oil production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, we’re working with automakers, environmentalists and others on a plan for integrating plug-in electric vehicles into the U.S. electrical grid. We look forward to sharing the results of these and other C2ES initiatives aimed at practical solutions to our twin climate and energy challenges.

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

Read the full transcript of the 2012 State of the Union Address

Global Survey Names C2ES the World’s Top Environmental Think Tank

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) was named the world’s top environmental think tank in a global survey of top public policy research institutes.

The University of Pennsylvania’s 2011 Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings are based on a survey of more than 1,500 policymakers, scholars, journalists, think-tank executives and others worldwide. The survey assessed more than 5,300 organizations nominated in 30 categories to create a global list of top think tanks by region and policy area.

C2ES’s predecessor organization, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, was named the world’s top environmental think tank in the same survey in 2009.  The center began operating as C2ES in November 2011, and is listed in the new survey under its former name.

“While our name has changed, we remain as committed as ever to fact-based analysis and common-sense solutions to our climate and energy challenges,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen. “We are thrilled to again be recognized as the world’s top environmental think tank.  I’d like to commend the C2ES staff and thank all of our partners and supporters in the United States and abroad for helping to make this possible.”   

The independent, nonpartisan center provides impartial information and analysis on energy and climate challenges; convenes policymakers and stakeholders to work toward consensus solutions; works with members of its Business Environmental Leadership Council and others to promote on-the-ground action; and promotes pragmatic, effective climate and energy policies at the state, national and international levels.

The annual survey, first published in 2007, is directed by James G. McGann, assistant director of the University of Pennsylvania’s International Relations Program and director of the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program.

The World Resources Institute and Chatham House ranked second and third, respectively, among the study’s top 30 environmental groups. Brookings Institution was named the top overall think tank. Additional categories in which the report ranks organizations include health policy, international development, and security and international affairs, among others.

The complete study, released in January 2012, is available online here.

More about C2ES's work to advance climate and energy solutions can be found here.

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

Yesterday, EPA announced the public release of reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large facilities across the country. Under legislation signed by President George W. Bush, most large sources of GHG emissions, including refineries, power plants, chemical plants, car manufacturers, and factories emitting more than 25,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year, have been reporting their annual emissions electronically to EPA since 2010, while small sources are specifically exempted from the rule. Now, in accordance with the law, EPA is making that data public.

Some similar information was public already. Power plants have been required to report their CO2 emissions since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, while many other companies have voluntarily reported their emissions through programs like the Carbon Disclosure Project

Q&A on EPA's GHG Reporting Rule

What is the GHG Reporting Rule?

As part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 26, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was ordered to publish a rule requiring public reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources. The GHG Reporting Program database, published for the first time on January 11, 2012, and consisting of data reported under the rule, provides the first comprehensive nationwide GHG emissions data for the United States, although electric power plants have been reporting their carbon dioxide emissions for two decades under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

One model for the GHG Reporting rule is the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), established by the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, which, for the first time, required businesses to disclose releases of a wide range of toxic chemicals. When the TRI was first published in 1989, many businesses voluntarily began reducing their releases, clean technology developers used the data to identify potential customers, and policymakers used the data to develop and refine toxic chemical policy. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) expects similar activity as a result of the establishment of the GHG Reporting Program.

Who are the covered entities?

Forty-one sectors are included for possible reporting including: fossil fuel and industrial GHG suppliers, boilers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and other industrial facilities. Annual reporting is required for facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year, except for sources in nineteen large source categories such as: refineries, cement manufactures, and chemical plants for which there is no minimum threshold. An estimated 85 to 90 percent of stationary source emissions from approximately 13,000 facilities are covered by the rule, while most small businesses would fall below the reporting threshold.

What is the status of regulation?

The first rulemaking following the Congressional mandate came on September 22, 2009, when EPA announced that it will require large emitters of GHGs to begin collecting data under a new reporting system. Data collection through online reporting began in January 2010 with the first annual reports submitted to EPA in 2011.

On January 11, 2012, EPA announced that the first year of data, 2010, is publicly available. EPA's online tool has data from 6,700 facilities from 29 source categories, searchable by state, location, company, or facility. Additional facilities will be included in future years.

A main feature of the site is an interactive map with facilities marked by location. Searching and sorting of facilities can be accomplished through 20 different reporting categories, by the amount of emissions of any of six GHGs. Each reporting facility has a profile with: location and address; NAICS code; GHG monitoring technology; GHG emissions amounts; emissions by source, fuel and process; and other information. Emissions data across sectors and locations is comparable in a variety of visual formats, like bar charts, pie charts, and data trees. Search results can be shared via printing, email, Facebook, Twitter and other ways.

 

Read more from EPA on the GHG Reporting Rule.

See C2ES President Eileen Claussen's statement on the release of reported data.

Eileen Claussen Comments on EPA's Release of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Data

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

January 11, 2012

We’ve seen before that what you measure, you can manage. Two decades ago, when EPA published the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the public, policymakers and business all got a better handle on toxic emissions across the U.S. and how to reduce them. We can expect similar results now that EPA is publishing greenhouse gas data from major emitters. Businesses shrinking their carbon footprints will have a metric credible with the public. Clean technology developers will know who and where their potential customers are. Policymakers will know better how to develop policies that reduce emissions while contributing to economic growth. Simply getting this data out is an important step in tackling climate change.

Click here for more on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.

Click here for a related blog post.

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

Extreme Weather in 2011

For the second year in a row, unprecedented numbers of extreme weather events have occurred across the globe. However, more of 2011’s impacts occurred in the United States. From the drought in Texas to the floods in the Midwest and Northeast, this past year underscored the huge economic costs associated with extreme weather.  While specific weather events are not solely caused by climate change, the risks of droughts, floods, extreme precipitation events, and heat waves are already climbing as a result of climate change. This year reminded us of our vulnerability to those events.

Eileen Claussen Comments on Utility MACT Rule

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

December 21, 2011

Today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of final standards for reducing mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants is an important step in protecting public health.  A very long time in coming, these regulations trace back to the 1990 Clean Air Act and were first proposed by the George W. Bush Administration.  Like most measures to protect the environment, this rule has costs – estimated at nearly $10 billion a year.  But these investments will pay important dividends by reducing health costs by $37-90 billion in 2016 alone.  EPA has taken steps to allow time to install new controls and to ensure energy reliability, but implementation will have to be carefully monitored to ensure that any bottlenecks are addressed in a timely manner.  

In addition to the health benefits, the new standards may yield significant climate benefits if power companies meet them by replacing old, inefficient plants with cleaner technologies.  This is more likely if EPA moves forward with carbon dioxide emission standards for power plants, and if Congress continues to fund R&D and deployment for renewable energy, nuclear power, and technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Click here for a Utility MACT summary.

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

December 2011 Newsletter

Click here to view our December 2011 newsletter.

C2ES's December 2011 features updates from the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, policy options for a clean energy standard, a blog post on the landmark new fuel economy standards, and more.

Low-Carbon Innovation for a Strong Defense

As discussed in the first part of this blog series A Strong Defense for Low-Carbon Innovation, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has both the demand for and procurement capabilities to advance the development and deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies. This post highlights a variety of leading businesses innovating and creating new opportunities in response to the U.S. Department of Defense efforts, and some of the challenges businesses encounter along the way.

Strategic public-private partnerships are key to helping the DOD meet its energy goals and present significant low-carbon business opportunities. Employing the expertise of companies, such as those specializing in electricity generation or computer technology, gives the DOD access to specialty skills and knowledge needed to advance innovative low-carbon technologies. Businesses, in turn, have the potential to enhance their competencies through government-funded research and development, or provide new technologies for commercial markets after large-scale demonstration through the DOD.

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