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
I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog on what's keeping Washington from making the type of progress on energy and climate policy that is being made on other issues.
You can read responses at the National Journal.
Here is my response:
Last year’s extreme drought, wildfires and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy have driven home the high economic costs associated with extreme weather. The increasing frequency and intensity of such events make it clear that climate change presents a real and present danger. It no longer can be dismissed as a problem only of concern to our children or grandchildren.
This increased urgency has also caused an important shift in our understanding of what actions are required to slow the rate of climate change. Recent studies have focused on the need for a two-pronged approach. Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, some portion of which stays in the atmosphere for centuries, is critical to long-term efforts. But curbing greenhouse gases with shorter atmospheric lifetimes will have significant near-term climate and public health benefits.
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.”