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
 

Eileen Claussen's Statement on 2013 State of the Union

Statement of Eileen Claussen

President

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.

2013 State of the Union

President Barack Obama discussed the importance of addressing climate change and developing and deploying cleaner energy in his 2013 State of the Union address.

From his remarks, as delivered:

After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.

In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That's got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water.

In fact, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. We'll work with the states to do it. Those states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen.

In delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union address, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida stressed the need to develop domestic energy resources.

From Sen Rubio's remarks, as delivered:

There are valid reasons to be concerned about the President’s plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the President’s agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives. When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can’t control the weather – he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
...
One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called “clean energy” companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense. If we can grow our energy industry, it will make us energy independent, it will create middle class jobs and it will help bring manufacturing back from places like China.

How should Washington address climate change?

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.

Eileen Claussen's Statement on Nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State

Statement of Eileen Claussen

President

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, rehrmannl@c2es.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.

Public Trust Doctrine Cases

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).

 

RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARDS (RFS) CHALLENGES UNDER THE ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2007

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.

 

Clean Water Act Cases

Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA (2009-2010). 

May 2009: The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the EPA in federal court in Washington State, alleging that the agency failed to recognize the impacts of ocean acidification on waters off the state’s coast. The suit was brought under the Clean Water Act, which requires states to identify water bodies that fail to meet water-quality standards. According to the Center, since 2000, the pH of Washington’s coastal waters has declined by more than .2 units, which violates the state’s water-quality standard for pH. The complaint states that carbon dioxide, which is absorbed by seawater, causes seawater to become more acidic, lowering its pH. This impairs the ability of certain marine animals to build protective shells and skeletons they need to survive.  

March 2010: In a proposed settlement, EPA agreed to consider issuing nationwide guidance under the Clean Water Act to help states deal with the threat of ocean acidification. Under the terms of the settlement, EPA would seek comments on approaches for states to determine if waters are threatened or impaired by ocean acidification and how states might help monitor ocean acidification and its effects on marine life and ecosystems.

Manik Roy's Statement on Keeping a Carbon Tax on the Table

Statement of Manik Roy
Vice President of Strategic Outreach, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

December 6, 2012

“Closing the door now on a revenue-neutral carbon tax swap would be a mistake. Our country faces huge fiscal challenges and can’t afford to take options for meeting those challenges off the table.

"One option would be to reduce taxes on things we want more of, like hard work and investment, and pay for those tax reductions with a tax on something we want less of: pollution.

"A revenue-neutral carbon tax swap could be designed to boost the economy, protect working families, and safeguard the environment.”

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, 703-516-0621, 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 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.

U.S. law underscores need for global action on aviation emissions

President Obama’s signature on a law authorizing the Secretary of Transportation to bar U.S. airlines from participating in the European Union’s emissions trading system underscores the urgent need for a global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the fast-growing aviation sector. 

The new law is the latest salvo in an international brouhaha triggered by the EU’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from flights to or from Europe.  Dozens of countries, including the United States, protested the move as an affront to national sovereignty and a violation of international aviation agreements. The EU acted after years of talks within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) failed to result in a global agreement to reduce aviation emissions.

Syndicate content