Initiatives

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.

A Strong Defense for Low-Carbon Innovation

This post is the first of a two-part series on low-carbon innovation in the defense industry. It looks at how the DOD is uniquely positioned to drive low-carbon innovation. The second part in the blog series looks at how businesses are working with the DOD to bring low-carbon solutions to market.

From GPS to the Internet, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has a history of driving the creation of innovative technologies now used every day by Americans. With low-carbon policies a major challenge in Washington today, many clean energy advocates are seeking leadership from the DOD, which is the single largest consumer of energy in the country, to help drive clean energy solutions. Motivated by the need to better protect troops and support its operations, the DOD is becoming more involved in low-carbon technology research, development, and deployment. As stated in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), this work will shape the future commercial potential of energy technologies, as “military installations [serve] as a test bed to demonstrate and create a market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

Yes, You’ve Come to the Right Place

For those of you who came to our website today expecting to find information and resources from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, please don’t click away. Today we announced an exciting transition. We are now C2ES — the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. In addition to changing our name, we’ve refreshed our mission and strategic approach, updated our website, and made other changes to ensure that we can continue to craft real solutions to the energy and climate challenges we face today.

Yes, a great deal has changed in the last 24 hours. But what hasn’t changed is the need for straight talk, common sense and common ground. Today’s climate and energy issues present us with real challenges — and real opportunities as well. This is about protecting the environment, our communities and our economy. And it is about building the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Dialogue

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are a transformative technology – offering a way to reduce America’s reliance on imported oil, combat rising gas prices, improve local air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly all automakers already have electric vechcles on the road, but to realize the full potential of electric vehciles, a broad range of stakeholders must work together.

The PEV Dialogue Group convened by C2ES brings together automakers, electric utilities, policymakers, environmental groups and others to develop consensus approaches to accelerate electric vehicle deployment nationwide.

C2ES Resources:

National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative Participants

National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative Participants

  • Tom Altmeyer, Vice President, Government Affairs, Arch Coal, Inc.
  • Jason Begger, Government Affairs Manager, Cloud Peak Energy, Inc.
  • Mark Calmes, Vice President-Environmental, Archer Daniels Midland Co.
  • Myra Crownover, Vice Chair, House Energy Resources Committee, Texas
  • Pete DePasquale, Manager, Government Relations, Praxair, Inc.
  • Paul Doucette, Global Leader, Public Policy and External Funding, GE Oil & Gas
  • Mike Eggl, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • Daniel Enderton, Director, External Affairs, C12 Energy
  • Hal Fitch, Director, Michigan Geological Survey
  • Richard Garrett, Energy and Legislative Advocate, Wyoming Outdoor Council
  • Chris Geraghty, Director, Business Development, Linde, Clean Energy – North America
  • Robert G. Hilton, Vice President, Power Technologies for Government Affairs, Alstom, Inc.
  • N. Hunter Johnston, Counsel, Leucadia Energy
  • Greg Kunkel, Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Tenaska Energy
  • Rick Lancaster, Vice President, Generation, Great River Energy
  • Talina Mathews, Division Director, Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence
  • Brad Markell, Executive Director, Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO
  • Dave Martin, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department
  • Jon McKinney, Commissioner, WV Public Service Commission and Chair, NARUC Clean Coal Subcommittee
  • Laura Miller, Director of Projects, Summit Power Group, LLC and former Mayor of Dallas
  • Mark A. Northam, Director, School of Energy Resources, University of Wyoming, Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute
  • Ellen O’Connell, Market Manager, Tonnage Gases, Equipment and Energy, Air Products, Inc.
  • John Risch, Alternate National Legislative Director, United Transportation Union
  • Doug Scott, Chair, Illinois Commerce Commission
  • John Sherwell, Administrator, Power Plant Resource Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • John Steelman, Climate Program Manager, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Samuel Thernstrom, Executive Director, Energy Innovation Reform Project
  • Kurt Waltzer, Managing Director, Clean Air Task Force
  • Thomas Weber, President, Jupiter Oxygen Corporation

Observers

  • Kevin Macumber, Enhanced Oil Recovery Manager, Tellus Operating Group, LLC
  • Robert Mannes, President, Core Energy, LLC
  • Mike Smith, Executive Director, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
  • Scott Wehner, Senior Vice President, EOR Operations, Chaparral Energy LLC

September 2011 Newsletter

Click here to view our September 2011 newsletter.

The Pew Center's September 2011 newsletter highlights a new intiative focused on expanding carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery, a new brief on international climate assistance, the lessons we can learn from Hurrican Irene, and more.

Help Make an Impact Win a CLASSY Award

“All kids growing up in this generation know how they’re impacting the environment. We’re teaching today’s kids about recycling and being responsible.”
- Shawn Kerr, eighth-grade science teacher at Alcoa Middle School in Alcoa, TN.

Fifteen schools participated in the Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (MAI CO2) schools’ challenge, an educational energy conservation competition led by the Center’s Make an Impact (MAI) initiative in partnership with Alcoa. Mr. Kerr’s words sum up the program’s outcome, in which Make an Impact, a corporate employee and community engagement program, expanded the reach of its energy efficiency message to middle and high schools in five Alcoa communities across four states this spring.

Alcoa Middle School principle Jim Kirk holds up the $1,000 check that the school won for being named a regional runner-up in the MAI: CO2 schools’ challenge.

We had high hopes for the MAI CO2 campaign, but our success at engaging a younger audience in acting on energy efficiency far exceeded our expectations. In one month, we reached more than 8,000 students/parents/teachers and motivated them to calculate their carbon footprint with the Make an Impact calculator. The program wasn’t just about students realizing their impact on the earth; we also tried to teach and empower these young individuals to make a difference – by saving energy, money, and the planet. Between March 14 and April 11, participants identified more than 14.4 million pounds of potential carbon savings and an estimated $1.75 million in energy savings.

Survey of Low-Carbon Business Innovation

Download the full survey results paper (pdf)

View the press release

In late 2010, we invited 68 companies to participate in a 27-question survey designed to gather key quantitative data, identify trends, and gauge current activities in low-carbon business innovation. Thirty-five companies, ranging in size from $600 million to $285 billion in annual revenues and with a median annual R&D expenditure of $575 million, completed the online questionnaire; the survey questions for the electric power and banking/financial services sectors were slightly different, to capture the unique characteristics of innovation and technology adoption in those sectors.

The survey’s principal objectives were to gather key quantitative information and gauge business strategies for low-carbon innovation activities, with a particular focus on how companies perceive the associated risks and uncertainties. It is one element of a broader Center study on the most effective methods used by companies today to develop and bring low-carbon technologies and solutions to market. The aggregated results will be combined with a set of four in-depth case studies in a report, Business of Innovating: Bringing Low-Carbon Solutions to Market, to be published in October 2011.

 

Highlights of Key Findings and Analysis

This survey highlights several interesting insights into corporate strategies for low-carbon innovation.

  • Importance of Low-Carbon Innovation. According to the survey results, respondents believe that low-carbon innovation will only become more important for the growth of their companies and the U.S. economy as time passes, ranking (on a 10-point scale from least to greatest level of importance) the importance of low-carbon innovation to their business growth an average 7.5 over the next 5 years, an 8.2 over the next 10 years and an 8.7 over the next 20 years.
  • Role of Public Policy. Respondents emphasized the need for long-term, transparent climate and energy policies as critical to establishing a business environment that would allow for greater certainty and stability for decision-making and investment in low-carbon innovations. Among the nine policy tools listed in the survey, putting a price on carbon was by far the most important action that respondents think the U.S. government could take to advance low-carbon innovation: nearly half (47%; 16 companies) chose establishing a carbon price while the second-most selected tool, with 4 responses, was establishing national low-carbon performance standards, for example, for fuels and/or electricity. Only one respondent believes that low-carbon innovation would be encouraged by the government getting out of the way or doing nothing. The absence of clear policy signals in the United States makes it difficult to anticipate and adapt to regulatory changes, derails low-carbon business innovation strategies or redirects them to markets with more policy certainty.

  • Business Drivers. The survey results suggest that bringing low-carbon innovations to market is a strategic decision to enhance financial growth and respond to customer demand, and is less about the public relations benefits of promoting environmental solutions. All of the five drivers for pursuing low-carbon innovations listed in the survey ranked as important (in the 6.7 to 7.3 range) except for the reputational benefits of “going green” which ranked as only somewhat important to respondents (ranking an average 5.0). Financial growth, anticipating or shaping regulatory changes, establishing expertise in emerging technologies or markets, and current customer demand received approximately equal weighting—on average ranking 7.3, 7.2, 6.9, 6.7, respectively.

  • Beliefs about Customer Adoption. Respondents believe that the most important factor for their customers’ adoption of new low-carbon innovations is the energy or total lifecycle cost reduction afforded by the solution (ranking an average 8.6). Moreover, companies find that customers look for solutions that have a lower total cost of ownership without compromising on the product's reliability or performance, suggesting that customer expectations are quite high when moving from a more traditional, energy-intensive solution to a low-carbon solution. Often, the customers want the new product to cost less and perform as well as, if not better, than the previous solution. Customer concerns about a product’s environmental performance (6.8) and an ability to have a distinctive competitive advantage (7.0) in their market also ranked on average relatively high as drivers for adoption.
  • Risks and Uncertainties. Reflecting these survey findings about the importance of public policy and customer expectations to low-carbon innovation, the majority of respondents (65%) believe that the most significant uncertainty is policy (regulatory changes, tax/subsidy changes) and nearly one-quarter believe that market uncertainty (customer adoption, competing technological standards) is the most significant.
  • Conducive Business Environments. Public policy also played a strong role in respondents’ beliefs about the country or region with the best business climate today for domestic low-carbon innovation. A large majority of respondents find that China and the European Union (EU) have the best overall business climate—representing 45.8% and 37.5% of the responses, respectively—primarily due to supportive government policies and, in China’s case, a strong domestic market. Some of the views on selecting China as the best environment for low-carbon innovation specified that, while the United States has the best business climate for low-carbon innovation, China has a stronger level of investment in low-carbon technologies and supporting public policies.

  • Functional Expertise. Respondents believe that the CEO, Business Unit Leadership, Strategy, and R&D groups are relatively more important than other functions to be involved in all innovation, including low-carbon innovation. Perhaps not surprisingly, given findings about the importance of public policy to bringing low-carbon innovations to market, the companies believe that the Government Relations group is relatively more important for low-carbon innovation than for other types of business innovation. This finding suggests the need to better incorporate policy considerations, opportunities and challenges into the strategy and R&D activities within companies.
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Schools Win $10,000 in Grants as More than 8,000 Students Find Over 14 Million Pounds of Potential Carbon Savings

Press Release
April 21, 2011

Contact: Diana Burkett, 703-516-4146
 

Schools Win $10,000 in Grants as More than 8,000 Students Find Over 14 Million Pounds of Potential Carbon Savings

Alcoa Foundation & the Pew Center on Global Climate Change encourage youth to become environmental ambassadors through Make an Impact Program
 

Washington, DC – Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change announced today that seven schools in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia have won a total of $10,000 after competing in a month-long educational energy conservation competition: Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2). Participants from 15 competing schools identified more than 14,400,000 pounds of potential carbon savings and an estimated $1,750,000 in energy savings.

Paul F. Boston Middle School in La Porte, IN was named the grand prize winner and will receive a $5,000 grant and 850 recycling bins for engaging more than 1,160 students, teachers and families in completing the Make an Impact carbon calculator. Regional runner-up schools will receive $1,000 grants and include: MC2 Stem High School in Cleveland, OH; Hunter B. Andrews Middle School in Hampton, VA; Alcoa Middle School in Alcoa, TN; and Castle North Middle School in Warrick, IN. Honorable mentions and $500 grants were awarded to Kesling Middle School in LaPorte, IN and Castle South Middle School in Warrick, IN.

“The Change Our 2morrow challenge engaged more than 8,000 students, parents and community members in learning how to use energy more efficiently,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “We are excited that so many individuals share Alcoa’s commitment to conservation and are proud to help inspire the next generation of environmental ambassadors.”

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) challenge is part of a new $7 million Alcoa Foundation investment to address regional environmental challenges, improve energy efficiency and enhance global reforestation projects. The investment is aligned with Alcoa Foundation’s sustainability focus: “Reduce, Recycle, Replenish.”

“Students today are plugged in like never before – through computers, cell phones, iPads, and video games – so it makes sense to encourage smart energy choices at an early age,” said Katie Mandes, Vice President of Communications and Director of the Make an Impact program. “Through this challenge we wanted to build awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, and the enthusiastic response to the program showed us that students and communities have an important role to play in our energy future.”

# # #
 

ABOUT ALCOA FOUNDATION
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US $420 million. In addition to addressing local needs in communities where Alcoa operates, Alcoa Foundation is focused on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. Alcoa Foundation was founded more than 50 years ago and has invested more than US $515 million since 1952. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com/foundation.

ABOUT MAKE AN IMPACT
The Make an Impact program, developed by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, helps Alcoa employees, their families and surrounding communities reduce energy use, manage their carbon footprint and become an active part of the solution to climate change. The program features:

  • A custom-built carbon calculator with individual carbon footprint analysis.
  • A dynamic website with tips, tools and resources on how to reduce energy bills and live more sustainably.
  • A comprehensive outreach program of educational workshops and hands-on activities to support local action.

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) program promotes energy efficiency through a fun and engaging online competition, which features educational resources about energy conservation and an interactive carbon calculator. To find out more about Make an Impact, how your company or organization can sign on or to measure your own carbon footprint, visit www.alcoa.com/makeanimpact

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. More information can be found at www.c2es.org.

Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Launch School-Based Carbon Footprint Challenge

Press Release
March 14, 2011

Contact: Diana Burkett, 703-516-4146

 

Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Launch School-Based Carbon Footprint Challenge
More than 8,000 students to participate in the Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) challenge with chance to win $5,000 grant

 

Washington, D.C. – Alcoa Foundation and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change today announced an exciting new green education partnership to teach students how their daily actions can reduce harmful emissions and improve the environment.

Set to run from March 14 to April 11, Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) is an educational energy conservation challenge among 8,000 students at 15 schools near Alcoa locations in Cleveland, OH, Hampton, VA, Knoxville, TN, and LaPorte and Warrick, IN. 

The challenge builds on the successful Make an Impact program that has engaged nearly 14,000 Alcoa employees at 18 Alcoa locations across the US, resulting in more than 4.6 million pounds of carbon savings and $3.7 million in energy savings. Alcoa isn’t the only corporation involved, both Bank of America and Entergy have realized an estimated 5 million pounds of carbon savings each from rolling out Make an Impact, proving the value of the program for a wide range of organizations.

“Even small changes in our daily lives can lead to significant improvements for the environment,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation.  “Through Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow, we want to educate young people about the potential they have to make a difference and inspire them to become green ambassadors in their communities - at school, at play and at home.”

The winning schools are determined based on the highest number of carbon calculator completions, and will receive a $5,000 grand prize grant or one of five $1,000 runner-up grants, earmarked for ‘green initiatives,’ from Alcoa Foundation. The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22.

“Knowing the impact of your energy choices is an important first step to change,” said Katie Mandes, Pew Center Vice President of Communications and Director of the Make an Impact program. “We hope this challenge will motivate young people and the entire community to learn how easy it can be to make a difference.”

The Make an Impact: CO2 challenge is part of a new $7 million Alcoa Foundation investment to address regional environmental challenges, improve energy efficiency and enhance global reforestation projects. The investment is aligned with Alcoa Foundation’s sustainability focus: ‘Reduce, Recycle, Replenish,’ and will engage employees and communities where Alcoa operates.

# # #

ABOUT ALCOA FOUNDATION
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US $420 million. In addition to addressing local needs in communities where Alcoa operates, Alcoa Foundation is focused on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. Alcoa Foundation was founded more than 50 years ago and has invested more than US $515 million since 1952. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com/foundation.

ABOUT THE PEW CENTER ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
The Pew Center on Global Climate Change was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. More information can be found at www.c2es.org.

ABOUT MAKE AN IMPACT
The Make an Impact program, developed by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, helps Alcoa employees, their families and surrounding communities reduce energy use, manage their carbon footprint and become an active part of the solution to climate change. The program features:

  • A custom-built carbon calculator with individual carbon footprint analysis.
  • A dynamic website with tips, tools and resources on how to reduce energy bills and live more sustainably.
  • A comprehensive outreach program of educational workshops and hands-on activities to support local action.

The Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) program promotes energy efficiency through a fun and engaging online competition, which features educational resources about energy conservation and an interactive carbon calculator. To find out more about Make an Impact, how your company or organization can sign on or to measure your own carbon footprint, visit www.alcoa.com/makeanimpact

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