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

U.S. should act now to reduce short-lived pollutants damaging the climate

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.

C2ES Letter to the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

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.


Eileen Claussen
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

Obama makes the case. What comes next?

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.”


C2ES Policy Guide Outlines Options for Climate and Energy Action

Press Release

February 13, 2013

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org or 703-516-0621


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 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 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.


Eileen Claussen's Statement on 2013 State of the Union

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.

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.

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