Business

State of the Art: Innovations in CO2 Capture and Use

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Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

State of the Art: Innovations in CO2 Capture and Use

Imagine if the carbon dioxide that emerges from smokestacks at power and industrial plants could be put to a productive use.

U.S. companies are already investing in new technologies to capture and re-use carbon emissions in innovative ways, including jet fuel and automobile seats. Spurred by the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, researchers are exploring even more uses, such as transforming carbon emissions into algae biofuels and building materials. Other researchers are exploring ways to capture carbon directly from the atmosphere.

Join us at this free, public event where experts will provide an update on these breakthrough technologies, and lawmakers will discuss ways to speed up their deployment.

September 14, 2017

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902

 

Speakers

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

Marcius Extravour, XPRIZE

Dr. Julio Friedman, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory

Bob Perciasepe, President, C2ES

Additional speakers will be added

Clean Innovation: Why it Makes Business Sense

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Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center901 K Street, NW, 11th FloorWashington, DC 20001RSVP Here

Please join Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) for a conversation on Clean Innovation: Why it Makes Business Sense. The discussion will bring together stakeholders from industry, government and civil society to discuss the business drivers for innovation in clean energy and low-carbon technologies across a broad range of industries.

U.S. companies are leading the world in developing new products and solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help support the economy including new, more efficient industrial technologies; alternative vehicles and transportation systems; renewable energy; and carbon capture and sequestration. The panel will explore the business drivers and challenges associated with clean innovation across multiple sectors and geographies.  These issues include growing customer demand, competitiveness concerns, cost pressures, efficiency gains and enhanced performance.  

Wednesday, July 19 • 10:00 am – 11:30 am • Light refreshments provided.

Watch the video here

OPENING REMARKS BY:

U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (ND – At large)
Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce

A DISCUSSION FEATURING:

Bob Perciasepe – Moderator 
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Peter Fuller 
Vice President, Market & Regulatory Policy, NRG Energy

Michelle Patron 
Director, Sustainability PolicyMicrosoft

Seth Roberts
Global Director, Energy & Climate ChangeThe Dow Chemical Company

Paul Steffes 
CEO and President, Steffes Corporation

Click to Register

Follow the discussion on Twitter:  #CleanInnovation

Event Location: Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center 
901 K Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20001 

This event has been planned to comply with the requirements of the Legislative and Executive Branch gift rules. Executive Branch personnel wishing to attend should consult with their designated Agency Ethics Office.

 

 

A year after a devastating flood, lessons in building resilience

Nearly one year after a devastating flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, shoppers pass by reopened businesses and shuttered ones in the same block of historic Main Street.

Nearly a year after a devastating flood, business is bustling again along Main Street in Ellicott City, Maryland, but signs of the disaster remain. Just steps away from shops with flags flying and doors open are others with “space available” signs and boarded-up windows. Construction equipment sits at the corner.

Climate change is increasing the odds that communities across the United States will face similar risks. To withstand these disasters, communities must become more resilient, and a C2ES report offers ways for state and local governments to help.

On July 30, 2016, more than six inches of rain fell in two hours in a low-lying area in central Maryland bounded by two rivers. Water gushed down a historic Ellicott City street lined with antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The flood damaged 90 businesses and caused more than $22 million in damages to infrastructure.

The economic damage didn’t stop there. The county where Ellicott City is located lost between $42 million and $67 million in economic activity and as much as $1.3 million in tax revenues because of the flood.

With the help of loans from the state and private donations, more than 90 percent of the damaged businesses have reopened, and some new ones are moving in.

The National Weather Service classified the storm as a thousand-year rainfall event – meaning that scientists using historic data calculate a one-in-a-thousand chance of an event like this occurring each year. But as the climate keeps changing, the odds of seeing extreme weather go up, increasing the risks to communities and businesses throughout the country.

Almost 40 percent of small businesses nationwide never reopen their doors following a disaster event. Those closings can have an especially big impact; small businesses account for more than half of U.S. sales and jobs.

Small business owners often are unaware of their climate risks and lack the time and resources to prepare for the impacts. Fewer than half of Maryland small businesses that replied to a C2ES survey said they knew about climate risks. Most said they lacked resources to learn about them, and that available resources do not directly address local risks most relevant to them.

But state and local governments in Maryland and elsewhere can help their small businesses become more climate-resilient by following the recommendations in C2ES’s framework for engagement.

When engaging with small businesses on weather and climate resilience, the C2ES framework recommends state and local officials:

1.    Use trusted messengers to convey climate information. These include organizations that small businesses frequently interact with, like city or county chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other business organizations.

2.    Leverage existing channels of communication. State agencies and local agencies often already interact with businesses on preparedness, emergency planning, flood management, long-term planning, and economic development. Climate resilience information can be incorporated into these interactions. Likewise, existing resilience efforts can be broadened to include the business community.

3.    Identify new opportunities. New programs and information can be developed on small business resilience, such as public-private partnerships and business resilience networks. Training materials and other resources can be distributed via trusted messengers.

4.    Distribute targeted information. Businesses need more information on what they can realistically do to become more resilient to extreme weather and climate change. Sector- and location-specific information can help businesses better understand their risks and opportunities for enhancing resilience. 

The extreme weather risk to communities like Ellicott City will only increase as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm from rising greenhouse gas emissions. But state and local governments have opportunities to open new channels of communication to help small businesses become more climate resilient and able to survive disasters.

Bob Perciasepe on the extension of California's cap and trade program

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

July 18, 2017

On California’s vote to extend its cap-and-trade program:

California is showing the nation and the world how diverse interests can come together to promote cost-effective climate action.

Cap and trade gives businesses the flexibility to find the least-cost path to reduce emissions. This flexibility promotes innovation that creates new industries and jobs.

California has put hundreds of thousands of people to work in clean energy, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent from their peak in 2004. 

California's program is also specifically designed so that a significant portion of the revenue helps disadvantaged communities. A companion bill addresses community air quality concerns by increasing monitoring and imposing more stringent penalties on polluters. A guarantee that prices stay below a certain level ensures that Californians don’t pay more than their share for a safer climate while waiting for the rest of the country to catch up on policy action.

Particularly at a time of diminished federal leadership, California's program is a model for the rest of the country and the world. We applaud the governor and state lawmakers for their leadership.

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To reach a C2ES expert, contact Marty Niland at press@c2es.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

America’s Pledge can drive and tally U.S. climate action

Today, Gov. Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg are launching America’s Pledge—an initiative to compile and quantify the actions of U.S. states, cities and businesses to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

America’s Pledge will for the first time aggregate and quantify the commitments of these “non-state actors,” demonstrating to the international community that U.S. climate resolve remains strong despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Paris.

The ambitious initiative also will provide a roadmap for increased ambition, outlining steps these groups can take to further reduce their emissions.

Since the president’s announcement, an unprecedented number of U.S. states, cities, and businesses have affirmed their support for the landmark climate deal, including through the “We Are Still In” declaration signed by more than 1,500 businesses, nearly 200 cities and counties, nine states, and over 300 universities. 

This enthusiasm for climate action is as yet unquantified, but it’s vast and varied and growing every day:

  • Just this week, California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders released a plan to extend through 2030 California’s cap-and-trade program. The program marshals market forces to motivate investment in low-carbon solutions, drive innovation, create jobs, and cut emissions cost-effectively.
  • Also this week, Colorado announced it will be the 14th state in the newly formed U.S. Climate Alliance, whose members together represent over a third of the U.S. population and GDP. The states are committed to the U.S. meeting its Paris target of reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
  • More than 350 Climate Mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities. And more than 100 U.S. cities both large and small have pledged to transition their communities to 100% clean energy.
  • About two-thirds or more of mayors who responded to a recent survey by C2ES and The U.S. Conference of Mayors said they generate or buy renewable electricity to power city buildings or operations, buy green vehicles for municipal fleets, and have energy efficiency policies for municipal buildings. And they want to partner with the private sector do more.

When it's too hot to fly

We’re used to blizzards disrupting winter travel plans, or hurricanes interrupting summer vacations, but what about travel delays due to excessive heat?

That’s what greeted many air travelers in the Southwest on the first day of summer. An oppressive heat wave across California, Arizona, and Nevada sent temperatures as high as 120 degrees. In Phoenix, American Airlines canceled dozens of flights because higher temperatures mean thinner air, which makes it more difficult for smaller planes to take off.

When scientists talk about trying to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, non-scientists may hear, “It could be 2 degrees hotter.” But that’s not what climate change means. Rising average temperatures go hand in hand with longer, more intense, and more common extreme heat waves.

A recent report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that global warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest day or month at more than 80 percent of places on Earth. Globally, 2017 has been the second-warmest year to date on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sees a greater than average chance of above-normal temperatures in most of the country in July.

Heat waves can cost dollars, like the financial impacts of lost work productivity and flight cancellations, not to mention increased cooling costs for homes and businesses.

Climate impacts can also cost lives. Hyperthermia, or prolonged high body temperature, is blamed for the deaths of an elderly man and woman in San Jose, California, which had a week of 103-degree temperatures. In New Mexico, extreme heat is believed to have played a role in the deaths of a father and son who were hiking at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A 1995 heat wave in Chicago was blamed for hundreds of deaths, and thousands of deaths across Europe were attributed to a 2003 heat wave.

The risks of heat-related deaths don’t apply to everyone equally. The elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are more at risk. People with low incomes are less likely to have air-conditioning. People in urban areas with vast stretches of heat-absorbing concrete and asphalt also experience the heat island effect, which can increase evening temperatures as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit above surrounding areas.

Bob Perciasepe on climate risk disclosure recommendations

Statement of Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

June 29, 2017

On the final recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures on ways to better integrate into financial filings the risks and opportunities posed by climate impacts and the transition to a lower carbon economy.

Most large companies recognize the risks climate change poses to their facilities, operations, and supply and distribution chains. But reporting these risks varies extensively from company to company, and sector to sector.

The task force’s voluntary disclosure guidelines will help companies work toward consistency, which over time will help inform stakeholders on climate risks and opportunities. Better financial reporting will inform the long view for companies as they manage the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

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To reach a C2ES expert, contact Marty Niland at press@c2es.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Putting the Genie Back: Solving the Climate and Energy Dilemma

by David Hone, Chief Climate Change Strategist, Shell International, and C2ES board member – published by Emerald Publishing, June 2017

Putting the Genie Back: Solving the Climate and Energy Dilemma

Shell Chief Climate Change Strategist and C2ES board member David Hone tells the story of the climate change issue and the transition in the energy system that must be implemented to finally address it.

The book brings together and builds on Hone’s blogs and e-book series, covering many of the pertinent issues of climate change today, including carbon trading and the Paris Agreement.

Stepping away from the emotional aspect of climate change, Hone addresses the topic from an engineering perspective. He argues for a transition in our fossil fuel-based energy system, which ushered in the Industrial Revolution nearly 200 years ago and continues to grow and evolve, even as new sources of energy come into the market and compete.

Webinar - Financing Clean Infrastructure: Private Activity Bonds

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Noon-1 p.m. EDTRSVP Here

Financing Clean Infrastructure: Private Activity Bonds

July 24, 2017, Noon - 1 p.m. EDT


States and cities have many tools to encourage private investment in clean infrastructure that reduces carbon emissions. Recently, policymakers have focused on expanding the use of private activity bonds (PABs). During this webinar, panelists will discuss how PABs were used successfully to build the Denver Eagle commuter rail project, and how they could facilitate private investment in carbon capture projects. After the presentations, we will have an interactive discussion on the outlook for investment in clean infrastructure in 2017.

RSVP Here

 

 

Panelists:  

 

 


Jeff Brown
Research Fellow, Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center

Jeff Brown is a lecturer at Stanford’s Law and Business Schools for the joint Law School/Business School course “Clean Energy Project Development and Finance”, co-taught with Dan Reicher and fellow lecturer Dave Rogers. Mr. Brown was named a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance in June 2016. He is researching the interactions of federal energy and environmental regulation, state and ISO power markets regimes, and federal clean energy grants and tax incentives upon the financial feasibility of projects to decarbonize the power and industrial sectors.

 


Marla Lien
Partner, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell

 

Marla Lien was the General Counsel for the Regional Transportation District (RTD from 2005 through 2016), having served as Associate General Counsel from 1990 through 2005 and then as General Counsel. Marla's current practice focuses on project development including rail and property acquisition. Her experience encompasses the FasTracks Program including the University of Colorado A Line, U.S. 36 BRTD, and other commuter and light rail lines in Denver, as well as the Denver Union Station redevelopment, where she negotiated and drafted contracts with the U.S. DOT, the City and County of Denver, the Denver Union Station Project Authority, and the master developer. 

Patrick Orth
Office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

 

Patrick Orth advises U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on all environmental, energy and agriculture issues. Prior to joining Sen. Portman’s office, Mr. Orth was the director of federal affairs for America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), where he worked closely with Congress to advance ANGA’s mission. Before joining ANGA, He served as U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-OH) Legislative Director from 2011 – 2015, covering energy & environment issues while also managing the congressman’s legislative team. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Orth served as manager of corporate relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focusing on member development. 

Fatima Maria Ahmad
Solutions Fellow, C2ES

 

Fatima Maria Ahmad co-leads the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative with the Great Plains Institute. Ms. Ahmad focuses on financing opportunities and policy development for energy technologies, including carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). Prior to joining C2ES, Ms. Ahmad was a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish & Wildlife & Parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), where she helped DOI license 10,000 MW of wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Ms. Ahmad also has volunteer experience with the development of offshore wind in the United States. 

 

 

 

 

Survey finds US mayors taking action on climate protection, and planning for more

For Immediate Release
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Contacts:
Laura Rehrmann 703-516-0621, press@c2es.org
Elena Temple Webb 202-286-1100, etemple@usmayors.org
 

Survey finds U.S. mayors taking action on climate protection, and planning for more


Cities are promoting renewable electricity, low-carbon transportation, and energy efficiency to reduce emissions

MIAMI BEACH, FL – Cities across the country are showing leadership in promoting renewable electricity, low-carbon transportation, and energy efficiency, according to preliminary results of a survey jointly conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The two organizations have partnered to form the Alliance for a Sustainable Future.

The survey also found overwhelming interest by cities in collaborating with the private sector to accelerate climate efforts, and identified several opportunities to do so.

Among the key findings:

  • 69 percent of responding cities generate or purchase renewable electricity to power city buildings or operations. An additional 22 percent are considering doing so.
  • 63 percent already buy green vehicles, including hybrid, electric, natural gas, and biodiesel, for their municipal fleets. 30 percent are considering it.
  • 71 percent have energy efficiency policies for new municipal buildings, and 66 percent have them for existing municipal buildings.

Responses to the survey have come from 66 cities, ranging in size from 21,000 to 8.5 million residents across 30 states. These cities spend more than $1.2 billion annually in electricity, representing significant purchasing power that can help shape the market.

The survey, which will be open through the summer, marks the launch by USCM and C2ES of an ongoing effort to collect information on progress cities are making in response to climate change, identify innovative solutions, and share them with mayors nationwide. Examples will include opportunities for public-private partnerships to help cities achieve their emissions-cutting goals not only within their own municipal operations and facilities but also community-wide.

The survey shows overwhelming interest by cities in working with one another (90 percent) and with the private sector (87 percent) to accelerate climate action, a finding that takes on even more importance following President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement—an agreement both organizations strongly supported.

The survey found opportunities for greater collaboration. For example:

  • Roughly half of responding cities are incentivizing energy efficiency in new and existing commercial and residential buildings.
  • Less than half have policies or programs that help citizens and businesses choose renewable electricity options.
  • 66 percent of responding cities have public charging stations, while 36 percent are facilitating private infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Read more about the alliance and a summary of survey results to date here.

“Cities and companies are making progress, but more can and must be done. Cities small and large across the country see the benefits of improving energy efficiency and deploying more clean energy and transportation,” said Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, chairman of the alliance steering committee. “But we need to create a baseline so we can measure our ongoing progress. Sustainability is a smart strategy for the future, and cities and companies need to learn from one another.”

“The nation’s mayors are poised to take an even greater leadership role in fighting climate change and protecting cities from its negative impacts. Working together with the business community, we can achieve deeper results more quickly and more broadly,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“Cities and companies both realize the risks of climate impacts and the economic opportunities of climate solutions. By partnering, they can keep the U.S. heading in the right direction toward a sustainable future,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe.

The USCM-C2ES alliance, which launched last summer, creates a framework for mayors and business leaders to develop concrete approaches to reduce carbon emissions, speed deployment of new technology, implement sustainable development strategies, and respond to the growing impacts of climate change. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales leads the public-private steering committee, with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski as vice chair. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Duke Energy, and AECOM are founding co-sponsors.

“Across America, cities are facing different climate threats and they’re deploying new clean technologies to mitigate against them and seize economic opportunities. What many cities share is a dedication to lean forward and drive innovation. AECOM is proud to be working with mayors on building a sustainable and resilient future," said Josh Sawislak, Global Director of Resilience at AECOM.

The Alliance for a Sustainable Future will discuss the survey results and showcase sustainability innovation Saturday, June 24, in Miami Beach at The U.S. Conference of Mayors 85th annual conference. Details are below.

Date: Saturday, June 24, 7:30- 9:00 a.m.

Place: Rooms Splash 9/10, Upper Lobby Level, The Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, FL

Speakers will include: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, AECOM Global Director of Resilience Josh Sawislak, Duke Energy Managing Director of Environmental and Energy Policy Kevin Leahy, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Dubuque (IA) Mayor Roy Buol, Denton (TX) Mayor Chris Watts, Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

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About The U.S. Conference of Mayors: The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Learn more at www.usmayors.org.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

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