U.S. States & Regions

States and regions across the country are adopting climate policies, including the development of regional greenhouse gas reduction markets, the creation of state and local climate action and adaptation plans, and increasing renewable energy generation. Read More
 

VW Settlement in Action: How Cities, States, and Businesses Can Get Involved

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1 p.m. EDTRegister Here

C2ES Webinar:

VW Settlement in Action:
How Cities, States, and Businesses Can Get Involved

 

October 26, 2017, 1 p.m. EDT

 

Register Here

 

Please join the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) for a webinar on upcoming deadlines and funding opportunities under the Mitigation Trust established under the $14.7 billion Volkswagen Settlement, which became effective Oct. 2. The webinar will also discuss experiences in planning electric vehicle charging strategies and related investments..

 

Speakers

Cassie Powers
Senior Program Director, National Association of State Energy Officials

Kirk Brown
Director for Strategic Partnerships, Plug In America
(Invited)

Tyler Svitak
Energy and Transportation Administrator, City and County of Denver

Moderator
Dan Welch
Solutions Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 

Bob Perciasepe on the Clean Power Plan repeal

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

October 10, 2017

On the repeal of the Clean Power Plan:

The Clean Power Plan provided a clear and achievable path for reducing U.S. carbon emissions, and abandoning it means huge new uncertainties for the power sector. Although market and technology forces thankfully continue to drive down emissions, power companies are telling the EPA they need a sensible replacement. The Administration’s apparent intent to develop a new plan is a welcome acknowledgement that climate change is real and that it has a legal obligation to address it. But, the EPA needs to move quickly and offer more than the bare minimum.

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To reach a C2ES expert, contact Alec Gerlach 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.

Mayors, Businesses Pick Up the Ball on Climate

C2ES President Bob Perciasepe speaks at a panel discussion with U.S. mayors at Climate Week NYC. Also pictured are Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Des Moines, Iowa, Mayor Frank Cownie and Santa Fe, N.M. .Mayor Javier Gonzales, chairman of the Alliance for a Sustainable Future.

The Paris Agreement sent a strong signal that the nations of the world are ready to address climate change. But, they are not alone. States, cities, and companies have been showing climate leadership, and they can make strong progress in the near term. 

In the absence of federal leadership on climate policy, local governments and businesses are pushing ahead efforts to reduce carbon emissions and spur the transition to a low-carbon future. In a meeting of The US Conference of Mayors (USCM) in June, the 1,400-member Conference pledged to support cities establishing targets of powering their communities with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035. Importantly, the question of how cities across the U.S. will reach such ambitious goals must be answered through a variety of practical solutions.

The full potential of local climate measures has yet to be realized. By working together with businesses and other cities, effective programs can be implemented more economically across the country. In a new nationwide survey by The USCM and C2ES, a third of participating cities revealed they are already working with businesses and other local governments to reduce emissions. And in a set of newly released case studies, we’ve captured how some of these partnerships are advancing climate action in communities around the country:

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

City governments can lead their communities in energy efficiency efforts, and most start with action in their own buildings. Two-thirds of surveyed cities have established efficiency standards for new and existing municipal buildings, and half have policies to promote efficient commercial and residential buildings. Cities are taking a variety of steps to reach all types of building sectors in their communities:

  • Kansas City promotes energy efficiency investments in residential buildings through an innovative PACE loan program. In conjunction with the Missouri Clean Energy District and Renovate America, the HERO program offers Kansas City residents loans to finance home energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. Since its launch in September 2016, the HERO program has approved 650 residential assessment applications and completed 538 projects with homeowners in the city, an estimated value of $5.2 million.
  • The Renew Boston Trust is ensuring that City of Boston buildings are as efficient as possible through an expansive, long-term energy service performance contract with Honeywell. As a first step all city facilities will undergo an energy audit (a step that 2/3 of surveyed cities report routinely pursuing to some degree), which will be followed by a focus on improvements to 38 pilot facilities.
  • While cities are leading efficiency efforts through policy measures, utilities are important partners in successfully cutting energy use. Duke Energy is working in North Carolina with the cities of Charlotte and Asheville to pioneer approaches to cut energy use in commercial buildings and establish a community-wide strategic energy planning process to meet community preferences to avoid additional natural gas generation.  

RENEWABLE ENERGY

The sustainability survey also revealed that cities large and small are supporting renewable energy in their communities, with 65% of responding cities purchasing renewable energy for municipal operations.

The potential impact of cities fully supplying their operations with clean power is tremendous: the aggregate electricity bill of just 74 surveyed cities sums to over $1.4 billion, representing a significant potential investment in the renewable energy industry. While some of these dollars are already going toward renewable electricity purchases, the ambitious renewable energy goals of a broad group of cities points to greater procurement expectations. For example, eighteen of the cities considering entering the renewable electricity market in the next few years spend a combined $123.5 million annually.

The following cities are pioneering programs to advance renewables in their community, providing examples that could be replicated across the nation:

  • Las Vegas powers 100% of its municipal operations with clean energy while greatly reducing electricity costs. The City has pursued energy efficiency projects and installed clean energy systems on municipal buildings. The remaining electrical demand is met by clean energy produced at the Boulder One solar facility, contracted through a simple but innovative Renewable Energy Agreement with utility NV Energy. Through these efforts, the city has reduced its emissions by 90% and cut annual electricity costs from $15 million in 2008 to just $9 million in 2017.
  • A new Santa Fe program aims to jointly address economic disparity and sustainability efforts. The city’s newly established Verde Fund ensures that the benefits of solar energy and energy efficiency reach disadvantaged communities through a unique fund for local non-profits. The inaugural Verde Fund recipients bring solar and energy efficiency technologies to moderate and low-income households, and integrate workforce development into their delivery models.
  • In August 2016 Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain Power signed a Clean Energy Cooperation Statement pledging to work together to meet the city’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. The unique 5-year agreement requires the city and utility to report progress annually. This establishes more frequent check-ins than a typical 25-year franchise agreement, which is commonly held by cities and utilities.

The innovative local programs and policies described represent incremental steps towards an economy that provides Americans affordable and abundant clean energy, energy efficiency, and low-carbon transportation. These collaborative investments and strategies create environmental and financial benefits, and can also address economic and resilience issues that challenge communities.

Cities and businesses are experiencing the impacts of climate change now and want to reduce the risks of even greater harm in the future. That’s why they’re already demonstrating that elements of a low-carbon future are beginning to improve our communities, and there is plenty of room for greater action. Without the certainty and leadership of the federal government, partnerships will become increasingly essential to a successful and swift transition to a low-carbon future. Luckily, more than half of U.S. cities are interested in establishing new collaborations, and appear ready to lead the country toward a sustainable future for us all. 

American Mayors and Businesses: Building Partnerships for a Low-Carbon Future

American Mayors and Businesses:
Building Partnerships for a Low-Carbon Future

September 2017

Download (PDF)

The summary case studies contained in this document are meant to illustrate how cities can partner to achieve their clean energy goals. Whether it is Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonazales’ Verde Fund, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s Climate Positive 2040, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s Renew Boston Trust, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s “100 Percent Renewable Energy”, Kansas City Mayor Sly James’ HERO Residential PACE program, or Duke Energy’s Utility Collaborations with the cities of Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina - all these model programs show that informed cooperation is the key to our mounting a sustained clean energy strategy from the local level up.

Read the full survey.

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Survey finds cities are pushing ahead with climate change efforts

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 18, 2017

Contacts:
Alec Gerlach, 703-516-0621, press@c2es.org
Sara Durr, 202-215-1811, sara@durrcommunications.com    

Cities Push Ahead with Climate Change Efforts

Nationwide Survey Finds Many U.S. Cities Leveraging Purchasing Power, Business Relationships to Drive Climate and Energy Solutions

NEW YORK, NY – As weather patterns continue to grow more erratic and powerful, as seen with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the recent wildfires in Los Angeles, mayors across the country are taking action to address these real climate change threats by committing to reduce carbon emissions. A nationwide survey released today by the U.S. Conference of Mayors(USCM) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) as part of their partnership—the Alliance for a Sustainable Future—found that nearly two-thirds of the responding cities are procuring green vehicles, purchasing renewable electricity and requiring efficient government buildings. The Alliance also released today a case study of six cities, which provides a more detailed description that illustrates the breadth of carbon reduction programs.

The survey demonstrates that cities are pushing ahead with their efforts to implement climate programs to expedite carbon reduction initiatives to meet aggressive goals, and that they are eager to partner with business and other communities to do it. Eighty-five percent of cities are interested in or already partnering with the business community to advance climate solutions in the areas of electricity, buildings, and transportation.

But the survey also shows that there is much work to be done and the potential for growth in these programs is significant.

The survey included the responses of 102 cities from 35 states.  They represent a broad geography and range in size from 21,000 (Pleasantville, NJ) to 8.5 million (New York City).  Together, the cities surveyed represent nearly 42 million Americans.

Key findings include:

  • 64 percent of cities responding reported that they were generating or purchasing renewable electricity to power city buildings or other city operations. Additionally, 16 percent of cities source more than 40 percent of their electricity from renewables.
  • Of 99 cities responding, 63 indicated they already purchase green vehicles for their fleet and an additional 23 cities are actively exploring the possibility. And, 63 percent of cities offer public charging for electric vehicles.
  • 69 percent of responding cities purchase hybrid passenger vehicles; 51 percent purchase electric passenger cars; and another 51 percent purchase natural gas heavy duty vehicles.
  • Cities are taking action to promote energy efficient municipal buildings. 67 percent of cities responding have efficiency policies in place for new buildings, while 64 percent have policies in place for existing buildings. And, more than two-thirds of cities are employing energy audits to track consumption.
  • The purchasing power of responding cities alone is significant as they spend more than $1.4 billion on total electricity and procure more than 11,500 total vehicles every year—showing that they have the potential to leverage changes in the marketplace.  

The survey provides a baseline for understanding city efforts to develop climate solutions and create sustainable communities, and helps identify innovative practices, emerging trends and areas for assistance.  Today’s final survey release follows the prior release of preliminary results in June.

See here for the full survey.

“With the severe hurricanes and wildfires on the rise, we are in a race against time to address climate change,” said Chair of the Alliance Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales.  “Without the federal government’s partnership, cities and the business community will now have to bear the responsibility to reduce carbon and the effects of climate change.  It is critical that we expedite renewable technology deployment and adopt policies to meet aggressive carbon reduction goals.”

“These results show a growing momentum in cities to develop emission reducing programs and to strike new partnerships with other governments and the private sector,” said Vice-Chair of the Alliance Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Now is the time to work together at the state and local level to buy green vehicles, retrofit our buildings, purchase renewable electricity and develop more renewable energy projects.” 

“The nation’s mayors are assuming a national and global leadership role to respond to climate change. We have no choice but to act now,” said CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Tom Cochran. “The time for talking is over. Through our ongoing work, we will continue to track the progress cities make in implementing carbon reduction programs and meeting aggressive renewable energy goals.”

“This confirms that incredible strides are made when mayors and business leaders collaborate. But, we’ve learned too that cities want to do more, and we will be working to encourage city-business partnerships for the great number of cities interested in working with the business community,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe.

EVENT INFORMATION

The Alliance for a Sustainable Future will discuss the survey results and how cities are partnering with the business community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions Tuesday, September 19, in New York at Climate Week NYC. Case studies will also highlight partnerships between cities and the business that are already accelerating momentum toward sustainable, low-carbon communities. Details are below.

Date: Tuesday, September 19, 9:30- 11:15 a.m.

Place: NYU Wagner, 295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor, New York, NY

Speakers will include: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, AECOM Global Director of Resilience Josh Sawislak, NYU Wagner Dean Sherry Glied, U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran, and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Bob Perciasepe.

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About the Alliance for a Sustainable Future: The Alliance for a Sustainable Future was formed by USCM and C2ES in 2016 with the shared goals of keeping city officials and business leaders informed and empowered to design and implement local plans for low-carbon, sustainable communities.

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.

Mayors Leading the Way on Climate: How Cities Large and Small are Taking Action

Mayors Leading the Way on Climate:
How Cities Large and Small are Taking Action

September 2017

Download (PDF)

Mayors across the country are taking action to address these real climate change threats by committing to reduce carbon emissions. A nationwide survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions as part of their partnership, the Alliance for a Sustainable Future, demonstrates that cities are pushing ahead their efforts to implement climate programs. The survey also shows that cities are eager to partner with  business and other communities to expedite carbon reduction initiatives to meet aggressive goals. 

Read case studies from this survey.

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What Hurricane Harvey tells us about climate change

The heartbreaking consequences of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas and Louisiana over the past week have led many public figures to comment regarding the potential connection between hurricanes and global climate change. With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Caribbean and Florida, this question will likely get another bump in the news cycle.

What does the science tell us about this connection? In 2014, the White House released the latest update of the congressionally mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA), a report produced by the relevant scientific agencies every few years. The NCA made the following statement:

The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.

That remains a good summary as far as hurricanes go, but there is a more fundamental point that I think decision-makers should be focused on as they consider how to direct investments to enhance our resilience to climate change: Precipitation extremes are intensifying and will continue to do so as the climate warms.

Consider the following:

  • In April 2014, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle experienced a historic rainstorm that set local records for daily and hourly rainfall totals. In Pensacola, nearly 6 inches of rain fell in an hour and more than two feet of rain fell over two days, causing catastrophic flash flooding.
  • In October 2015, many areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas experienced extreme rainfall and flash flooding. The greatest totals were south of Dallas, where more than 20 inches of rain flooded highways and derailed a freight train. Houston received around 10 inches and experienced flash flooding.
  • In March 2016, Louisiana experienced historic flooding and areas of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas experienced extreme rainfall and flash flooding. More than 20 inches of rain fell in Monroe, Louisiana, with one reporting station recording nearly 27 inches over three days.

Now we have Hurricane Harvey.

These events are a small selection of a large number of major flood events to strike Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas recently. Gulf states have seen historic flooding disasters from extreme precipitation every year for at least four years running. Many of these events were associated with hurricanes (or tropical storms in general). All of them required an enormous source of atmospheric moisture to generate such extreme rainfall totals in a matter of hours to days. 

That moisture source is no mystery: It is the warm tropical waters of the North Atlantic (principally the Gulf of Mexico) and eastern Pacific oceans. These bodies of water have been warming over recent decades and are evaporating more and more moisture into the atmosphere along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. The atmosphere is also warming, and warmer air holds more water vapor. As the climate warms, therefore, more moisture becomes available to supply rainfall.

This fact is basic physics and there isn’t any real uncertainty about it. Moreover, it is well understood that the oceans and atmosphere are warming as a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. (Without those emissions, the climate system would actually be cooling slightly).

The consequences are not limited to the Gulf Coast. The National Climate Asessment chart below shows the percent increase in the amount of rainfall associated with the heaviest 1 percent of downpours in regions of the United States from 1958 to 2012.

So what does Hurricane Harvey tell us about climate change? It confirms that our risk is rising as the climate warms. Harvey also teaches us about our vulnerabilities and adaptation needs.

As Dan Huber and I have explained, individual weather events are unpredictable, but our overall risk from changing weather patterns is predictable. Reducing our climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions will limit how much we ultimately ratchet up that risk. However, since the climate is already changing and the risk of damages is rising, we also need to adapt to the changes that are in the pipeline. Both reducing emissions and adapting to unavoidable change are essential to managing the risk

Jay Gulledge, Ph.D., is a Senior Adviser to C2ES

Best in Class: Back to school on an electric bus

          Photo credit: Fastcompany.net

As kids across the country hop on buses and head back to school, what else are they taking in besides an education? The answer may be pollutants.

School buses, typically powered by diesel engines, can emit dangerous levels of pollutants. Children are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of these emissions. A 2001 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that children in the back of diesel-powered school buses could be exposed to toxic pollutants at four times the rate of people in the cars behind those buses, and that riding in school buses powered by diesel could pose 46 times the rate of “significant” risk for cancer. A more recent 2015 study for the California Air Resources Board found that air pollution in diesel-powered school buses continues to put children in danger. The negative effects range from heightened absenteeism to persistent heart and lung conditions, such as emphysema and asthma.

Efforts to improve the tailpipe emissions of school buses could have wide-reaching effects. More than half of all U.S. students, or greater than 25 million children, ride in school buses. A 2015 study by the University of Michigan found that reductions in diesel tailpipe emissions had widely positive effects on children, from improved lung functions to reduced absenteeism.

One straightforward method of eradicating tailpipe emissions would be for school districts to adopt all-electric buses.

All-electric buses that plug in to the electric grid virtually eliminate children’s exposure on school bus trips to dangerous pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. The buses also safeguard children’s futures by reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change. A switch to electric buses provides a double win of protecting our kids’ health and their environment.

Electric school buses have recently become available in the North American market. Only a few companies manufacture purpose-built electric school buses, but some school districts in the United States and Canada have committed to deploying them. Quebec company Lion manufactures electric school buses, and U.S. bus maker Blue Bird plans to produce electric school buses by the end of 2018 that will be able to put power back onto the grid or into a building. The capacity to operate buses with two-way power would improve the financial outlook of purchasing electric buses, which are more expensive to purchase but are less expensive to fuel and operate.

U.S. interest in electric buses is growing, although mostly for use in public transit systems (Los Angeles, for example, plans to switch its entire transit bus system to electricity by 2030). Recently, city planners have expressed the need to expand the benefits of zero-emission electric buses, such as better air quality and helping develop neighborhoods, to low-income residents and vulnerable populations. Falling battery prices and the introduction of new electric bus manufacturers to the school bus market will help extend these trends to school districts. Children, among the most vulnerable of groups, may soon be enjoying the quiet, pollution-free benefits of electric transportation.

Climate Solutions: How Mayors and Businesses Are Working Together

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NYU Wagner295 Lafayette Street, Second FloorNew York, NY 10012-9604Watch video

The U.S. Conference of Mayors
and
 Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

invite you to attend a Climate Week NYC event

Climate Solutions:
How Mayors and Businesses Are Working Together

Hosted by:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
9:30-11:15 a.m.
NYU Wagner
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012-9604

Cities and businesses are partnering to address climate change head on – by reducing the emissions causing climate change and preparing for the impacts already hitting communities. We’ll discuss results of a 100-city survey quantifying the direction of local climate policy, and highlight real-world case studies of city-business climate collaboration. Join us for a candid conversation with mayors and business leaders working together to advance climate solutions across the U.S. 
 

Featuring

Tom Cochran
CEO and Executive Director, The U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mayor Javier Gonzales
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Mayor Jackie Biskupski
Salt Lake City, Utah

Mayor Frank Cownie
Des Moines

Josh Sawislak
Global Director of Resilience, AECOM

Daniel A. Zarrilli
Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer, New York City Office of the Mayor

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


The Alliance for a Sustainable Future is a partnership launched by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions to strengthen cooperation between cities and businesses committed to meeting our climate and clean energy challenges.

  

Video of our Sept. 19 discussion at Climate Week NYC

Getting Down to Business: Corporate Climate Leadership

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JPMorgan Chase & Co.270 Park Ave, 50th FloorNew York, NY 10017

building image

Please join C2ES and JPMorgan Chase & Co. for a conversation on
business leadership on climate change at Climate Week NYC  2017

Getting Down to Business: Corporate Climate Leadership

Thursday, September 21, 2017
4 — 7 p.m.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.
270 Park Ave, 50th Floor
New York, NY 10017

 

This event was invitation-only.

Businesses are leaders in creating solutions that address climate change, while creating jobs and growing the economy. Leaders across a range of industries will discuss what's driving investment in actions that address climate change across their value chain—from reducing carbon emissions, to deploying innovative financing solutions, to investing in clean energy technologies. 

Agenda

4:00 p.m. – Registration

4:30 p.m. – Discussion
 

Welcome Remarks

Marisa Buchanan
Deputy Head of Sustainable Finance, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

 

Panel

Kevin Butt
General Manager, Environmental Sustainability, Toyota

Steve Harper
Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel

Erin Robert
Head of Capital Strategies, JPMorgan Sustainable Finance

Bjorn Otto Sverdrup
Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Statoil ASA

Moderator
Bob Perciasepe
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

5:45 p.m. – Reception

Additional speakers may be announced here

 

JPMorgan Chase seeks to comply with applicable rules concerning meals, gifts and entertainment offered to public officials and employees, including related disclosure requirements. We estimate the cost of hospitality to be provided at Getting Down to Business: Corporate Climate Leadership to be $53 per person. To the extent you wish to pay the cost of, or to decline, the hospitality to be provided at this event please contact Pauline Chow to make the necessary arrangements.
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