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
 

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.

We could find common ground on a carbon tax

I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog, “Is Washington ready for a carbon tax?”

You can read other responses at the National Journal.

Here is my response: If we’re going to get serious about reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, the most efficient and effective policy is to put a price on carbon.

Why we could see climate change action

I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog, "Do the results of the 2012 election pave the way for Washington to achieve bipartisan energy and environment policies?"

You can read other responses at the National Journal.

Here is my response: In his victory speech, President Barack Obama called for an America “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” With mostly the same players who failed to pass any significant climate legislation returning to Washington, can we expect a different result?

Possibly -- and for two reasons.

President Obama has the opportunity to press for strong climate action

It’s too early to know whether Hurricane Sandy will be the “Love Canal” of climate change, catalyzing a strong national response. But with Sandy’s costs still mounting, President Obama has an opportunity and an obligation to press the case for stronger climate action.

In his victory speech, the president called for an America “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”  We hope he keeps driving that message home -- to be clear with the American people about the urgency of cutting carbon emissions and strengthening our critical infrastructure against the rising risks of climate change.

Syndicate content