Tag Archives: Climate change

United States Carbon: A Republican Case for Climate Action

EACH of us took turns over the past 43 years running the Environmental Protection Agency. We served Republican presidents, but we have a message that transcends political affiliation: the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally.

There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.

The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”

A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate.

The president also plans to use his regulatory power to limit the powerful warming chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons and encourage the United States to join with other nations to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase out these chemicals. The landmark international treaty, which took effect in 1989, already has been hugely successful in solving the ozone problem.

Rather than argue against his proposals, our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally.

As administrators of the E.P.A under Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, we held fast to common-sense conservative principles — protecting the health of the American people, working with the best technology available and trusting in the innovation of American business and in the market to find the best solutions for the least cost.

That approach helped us tackle major environmental challenges to our nation and the world: the pollution of our rivers, dramatized when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire in 1969; the hole in the ozone layer; and the devastation wrought by acid rain.

The solutions we supported worked, although more must be done. Our rivers no longer burn, and their health continues to improve. The United States led the world when nations came together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. Acid rain diminishes each year, thanks to a pioneering, market-based emissions-trading system adopted under the first President Bush in 1990. And despite critics’ warnings, our economy has continued to grow.

Climate change puts all our progress and our successes at risk. If we could articulate one framework for successful governance, perhaps it should be this: When confronted by a problem, deal with it. Look at the facts, cut through the extraneous, devise a workable solution and get it done.

We can have both a strong economy and a livable climate. All parties know that we need both. The rest of the discussion is either detail, which we can resolve, or purposeful delay, which we should not tolerate.

Mr. Obama’s plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: Buildings Account for 39% of CO 2 emissions in the United States

The commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other sector. U.S. buildings alone are responsible for more CO 2 emissions annually than those of any other country except China. Most of these emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels to provide heating, cooling and lighting, and to power appliances and electrical equipment. By transforming the built environment to be more energy-efficient and climate-friendly, the building sector can play a major role in reducing the threat of climate change.

A growing source of CO2 emissions:
  • In 2004, total emissions from residential and commercial buildings were 2236 million metric tons of CO 2 , or 39% of total U.S. CO 2 emissions—more than either the transportation or industrial sector
  • Over the next 25 years, CO 2 emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than any other sector, with emissions from commercial buildings projected to grow the fastest—1.8% a year through 2030
  • When other CO 2 emissions attributable to buildings are considered—such as the emissions from the manufacture and transport of building construction and demolition materials and transportation associated wi th urban sprawl—the result is an even greater impact on the climate

Buildings consume 70% of the electricity load in the U.S. The most significant factor contributing to CO 2 emissions from buildings is their use of electricity:

  • Commercial and residential buildings are tremendous users of electricity, accounting for more than 70% of electricity use in the U.S.
  • The building sector consumed 40 quadrillion Bt us of energy in 2005 at a cost of over $300 billion. Energy use in the sector is projected to increase to 50 quadrillion Btus at a cost of $430 billion by the year 2025.
  • The energy impact of buildings is likely to be even greater when taking into account other energy use attributable to buildin gs. For example, the energy embodied in a single building’s envelope equals 8-10 times t he annual energy used to heat and cool the building.
  • Buildings have a lifespan of 50-100 years during which they continually consume energy and produce CO 2 emissions. If half of new commercial buildings were built to use 50% less energy, it would save over 6 million metric tons of CO 2 annually for the life of the buildings—the equivalent of taking more than 1 million cars off the road every year.

Green buildings are a vital tool in the fight against climate change

Scientists predict that left unchecked, emissions of CO 2 and other greenhouse gases from human activities will raise global temperatures by 2.5ºF to 10ºF this century. The effects will be profound, and may include rising sea levels, more frequent floods and droughts, and increased spread of infectious diseases. To address the threat of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be sl owed, stopped, and reversed. Meeting the challenge will require dramatic advances in technologies and a shift in how the world economy generates and uses energy.

Building green is one of the best strategies for meeting the challenge of climate change because the technology to make substantial reductions in energy and CO 2 emissions already exists. The average LEED certified building uses 32% less electricity and saves 350 metric tons of CO 2 emissions annually. Modest investments in energy-saving and other climate-friendly technologies can yield buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthier places to live and work, and that contribute to reducing CO 2 emissions.

Green buildings provide abundant opportunities for saving energy and mitigating CO 2 emissions

Building green can reduce CO2 emissions while improving the bottom line through energy and other savings. Examples of measures that can be taken to improve building performance include:

  • Incorporating the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with operations and maintenance of such systems to assure optimum performance
  • Using state of the art lighting and optimizing daylighting
  • Using recycled content building and interior materials
  • Reducing potable water usage
  • Using renewable energy
  • Implementing proper construction waste management
  • Siting the building near public transportation
  • Using locally produced building materials

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: Business Leaders Call to Action on U.S. Climate Policy by Signing Climate Declaration

Two weeks after President Obama announced plans to address climate change in a major speech, large American businesses are continuing to express their support for U.S. policy action on climate change. Eight more leading businesses, including several multi-billion dollar enterprises, have signed the Climate Declaration, which calls on U.S. policymakers to capture the American economic opportunity of addressing climate change.

The new signatories include leaders in the IT, healthcare, media, hospitality and consumer products sectors: Akamai Technologies, AMD, Dignity Health, K2 Sports, Participant Media, Saunders Hotel Group and The Weather Company. In addition, Mars, Incorporated, one of the nation’s largest private companies, recently endorsed the Climate Declaration when it joined CeresBICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) network in June.

By signing the Climate Declaration, these business leaders join more than 600 other companies, including Starbucks, Nestle, adidas and Patagonia, in asserting, “Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century … We cannot risk our kids’ futures on the false hope that the vast majority of scientists are wrong … There must be a coordinated effort to combat climate change—with America taking the lead here at home.”

“For us, climate change isn’t a political issue; it’s a scientific issue, and the science tells us we have to act,” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company. “The Weather Company believes there is an economic opportunity as well as a moral obligation as a good corporate citizen in responding to climate change, and we will continue to inform our viewers and users about the science behind this important issue.”

“Responding to climate change is not only an imperative for the U.S. economy, but it is also an important issue of public health,” said Susan Vickers, RSM, vice president of community health at Dignity Health, the largest hospital system in California. “Reducing the harmful pollutants from power plants will improve air quality in our communities, which are already experiencing the destructive effects of pollution and the changing climate.”

“While there is no debating the scientific evidence of climate change, it is certain there is more debate ahead on the policies needed to combat its effects,” said Anne Kelly, director of BICEP. “The business community has been a strong supportive voice behind climate action, and you can see that reflected in this broad array of business leaders who have joined us in signing the Climate Declaration.”

Over the course of an ongoing campaign organized by Ceres and BICEP, other businesses, as well as individuals, are encouraged to sign the Declaration and join the call to action, along with other advocacy efforts. For more information about the Climate Declaration, please visit www.climatedeclaration.us.

About Ceres
Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership. Ceres mobilizes a powerful coalition of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $11 trillion. For more information, visit www.ceres.org.

About BICEP
BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) is an advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation enabling a rapid transition to a low-carbon, 21st century economy – an economy that will create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while stabilizing our planet’s fragile climate. BICEP is a project of Ceres. For more information, visit www.ceres.org/bicep.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: US investors show climate clout

fracking drilling

American business and industry is coming under closer scrutiny from shareholders concerned to see how prepared companies are to respond to the financial pressures of a warming world.

Shareholders in the US are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres, a US organization that promotes more sustainable business practices.

The annual round of corporate shareholder meetings – referred to in the US as the proxy season – has recently ended. Ceres says that at those meetings a total of 110 shareholder climate change and environmental sustainability-related resolutions were filed with 94 US-based companies: issues covered by the resolutions included concerns about hydraulic fracturing, flaring and both the environmental and financial risks of further exploitation of fossil fuel reserves.

Some of the US’s largest public pension funds were among those filing resolutions, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York State and New York City Comptrollers’ Offices.  Ceres estimates that along with other large institutional investors these groups manage funds worth in excess of $500 bn in assets.

“The strength of this year’s proxy season shows unwavering investor concern about how companies, especially energy companies, are managing the profound climate-related risks of fossil fuel production, including traditional and unconventional oil and gas extraction,” says Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

“Investors saw especially important progress in tackling flaring, hydraulic fracturing and methane emission impacts, all key contributors to climate change.”

A resolution questioning the activities of Continental Resources, a large oil producer, was withdrawn after the company agreed to reduce or eliminate flaring at its well sites. Similar resolutions filed with three companies involved in the booming hydraulic fracturing industry – EOG Resources, Ultra Petroleum and Cabot Oil & Gas – were also withdrawn after managements agreed to increase disclosure of their activities, including steps being taken to reduce the environmental risks of “fracking”.

Mounting concern

“Companies are responding to the growing calls for transparency and accountability,” says the head of a major investment fund. “Without qualitative reporting, shareholders cannot be assured that a company is taking real steps to minimize these risks and protect shareholder value.”

According to Ceres data, the number of investor resolutions relating to climate change and environmental sustainability has increased significantly in recent years – from around 30 a decade ago to more than 100 last year.

While some companies are responding to investor concerns on climate change and the environment, others are more hesitant.

Shareholder resolutions asking two of the US’s biggest coal companies – CONSOL Energy and Alpha Natural Resources – to disclose how their extensive coal reserves might be affected by proposed new carbon regulations were defeated.

Recent analyses have indicated that if targets to limit the rise in global temperature are to be met, then vast amounts of proven fossil fuel reserves need to remain unexploited.

Such reserves can account for between 50 and 80% of the market value of coal, oil and gas companies: if regulations are brought in to support meeting targets on limiting global temperatures, those reserves could become “stranded” underground – having the knock-on effect of exposing companies and investors to significant financial risk.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: Maryland Shores Up Support For Ambitious GHG Reduction Goal

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is advocating more than 150 programs and initiatives that support his state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by 2020, a plan that goes farther than any other state except Massachusetts.

With more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, Maryland is one of many US states at highest risk for sea level rise.

Aside from supporting a 55 million metric ton reduction in GHG emissions, the plan will generate $1.6 billion in economic benefits, create more than 37,000 jobs and positively impact public health, Governor O’Malley told business leaders, scientists, and environmental and renewable energy advocates who attended his state’s summit on climate change last week in Linthicum, Md.

Climate change is not an ideological issue any more than gravity is: it’s not about whether we move left or right, but whether we make the right choices for Marylanders. As severe weather events continue to grow in size and impact, and elongated trends of poor air quality continue, the costs of inaction would grow exponentially,” says Governor O’Malley. “In Maryland, we are moving forward and taking action by creating green jobs and protecting our land, water, air and public health.”

 

For more than six years, Governor O’Malley has been one of the most vocal national leaders for taking action on fighting climate change. Many of the programs announced in late July are expansions of existing efforts, meant to accelerate progress toward the bigger goals. He signed the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009, requiring Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% from a 2006 baseline by 2020. The act will be up for another vote in 2015, which means state lawmakers will have to decide whether to stick with it or develop a new framework.

Governor O’Malley’s administration isn’t waiting around for that. Here are some of the main strategies that support the state’s reduction goal:

Accelerated renewable portfolio standards – The state currently requires for Maryland power providers to source 18% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 20% by 2022. The new plan seeks an increase beyond the 20% to drive additional GHG emissions reductions. Earlier this year, Maryland became the first state to subsidize offshore wind development, which is being held back by huge upfront costs for developers. It is also one of the “Dazzling Dozen” states leading the way in solar installations.

Strengthened energy-efficiency measures – The EmPOWER Maryland program aims to reduce both Maryland’s per capita total electricity consumption and peak load demand by 15% by 2015, but the governor is calling for a higher goal.

A zero waste target – The state is adopting a strategy to ensure all products in Maryland can be reused, recycled or composted. Currently, the state requires that 60% of “government managed” waste be better utilized or recycled by 2020. The average county recycling rate is 45%.

Tougher emissions standards – The Maryland Clean Cars Program directly regulates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, effective with model year 2011 vehicles.

Improved regional cooperation – Maryland is part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the cooperative cap-and-trade initiative that includes nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The RGGI voted to lower the regional emissions cap, and Maryland will work on changing its own standards this summer.

Many of these programs are in place; they will be strengthened through new policies and policies, says Governor O’Malley.

They have strong support within the state: a recent George Mason University report shows that 86% of Marylanders believe climate change is happening, while three-quarters of them believe that state and local governments should take action to protect communities from the impacts.

“Science is clear that climate change is occurring, is caused primarily by human activities and poses significant risks to Maryland as it does to the rest of the world” says Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “Significant reductions in emissions must be made over just a few decades to avoid the worst of the consequences and Maryland has an opportunity and a responsibility to lead.”

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

United States Carbon: National Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

EPA develops an annual report called the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Inventory). This report tracks total annual U.S. emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas going back to 1990. EPA uses national energy data, data on national agricultural activities, and other national statistics to provide a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the United States. The most recent Inventory report is available for download at the bottom of this page.

For an overview of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States based on information from the Inventory including graphs of U.S. emissions by gas and source, click on the links below:

INVENTORY OF U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AND SINKS: 1990-2011
(April 2013)

The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks tracks the national trend in greenhouse gas emissions and removals back to 1990. The key findings of the 1990-2011 U.S. Inventory include:

  • In 2011, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,702 million metric tons CO2 Eq.
  • U.S. emissions decreased by 1.6 percent from 2010 to 2011. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were 6.9 percent below 2005 levels.

Read or download the entire Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011 (PDF, 505 pp., 12.3 MB). For faster access, individual report sections are posted below, for example the Executive Summary (PDF, 26 pp., 1.62 MB).

Individual sections of the draft report are also available for download:

Upfront (PDF) (6 pp., 359 KB) – Includes title page, acknowledgments and preface.

Table of Contents (PDF) (16 pp., 552 KB) – Contains the main inventory document’s table of contents as well as the list of tables, figures, and boxes.

Executive Summary (PDF) (26 pp., 1.62 MB) – Provides a broad overview of all U.S. greenhouse gas emission sources and sinks, introduces key concepts and discusses the primary drivers for changes in emissions. All material in the Executive Summary is drawn from the following chapters.

Introduction (PDF) (22 pp., 775 KB) – Includes background information on greenhouse gas emission inventories, an introduction to climate change, a discussion of methodological issues and plans for QA/QC and an uncertainty analysis.

Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (PDF) (32 pp., 1.84 MB) – Provides an overview of emission trends and discusses the primary drivers for changes in emissions.

Energy (PDF) (81 pp., 2.44 MB) – Discusses and quantifies energy related emissions of all greenhouse gases resulting from stationary and mobile source activities including fuel combustion and fugitive fuel emissions.

Industrial Processes (PDF) (97 pp., 1.75 MB) – Addresses emissions from industrial processes not directly related to energy activities.

Solvent and Other Product Use (PDF) (6 pp., 484 KB) – Addresses emissions resulting from the use of solvents and evaporative emissions of greenhouse gases arising from other types of product use.

Agriculture (PDF) (41 pp., 2.06 MB) – Addresses anthropogenic emissions from agricultural activities (not including fuel combustion and sewage emissions, which are addressed in the Energy and Waste chapters).

Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (PDF) (74 pp., 3.17 MB) – Addresses emissions and removals from forest and land-use change activities, primarily carbon dioxide.

Waste (PDF) (31 pp., 1.04 MB) – Addresses emissions from waste management activities.

Other (PDF) (1 pp., 211 KB) – Addresses emissions from the “Other” IPCC sector.

Recalculations and Improvements (PDF) (6 pp., 489 KB) – Includes an overview of changes in this year’s report, including historical data, methodology and other changes relative to the 1990-2010 report.

References (PDF) (61 pp., 981 KB) – Contains the list of references used in the main inventory document.

All Annexes (PDF) (429 pp., 10.6 MB) – Supplementary information, data tables, detailed emission calculations and methodological discussions.

Annex Introduction and TOC (PDF) (1 pp., 213 KB) – Contains the table of contents for the Annex.

Annex 1 (PDF) (28 pp., 1.10 MB) – Key Category Analysis.

Annex 2 (PDF) (93 pp., 2.11 MB) – Methodology and Data for Estimating CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Combustion.

Annex 3 (PDF) (249 pp., 7.28 MB) – Methodological Descriptions for Additional Source or Sink Categories.

Annex 4 (PDF) (10 pp., 406 KB) – IPCC Reference Approach for Estimating CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Combustion.

Annex 5 (PDF) (2 pp., 265 KB) – Assessment of the Sources and Sinks of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Not Included.

Annex 6 (PDF) (24 pp., 714 KB) – Additional Information.

Annex 7 (PDF) (22 pp., 652 KB) – Uncertainty.

CRF Tables (Zip) (8.18 MB) – Common reporting format (CRF) tables, which present standardized summary information consistent with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) inventory reporting requirements.

CSV Inventory Report Tables (Zip) (244 KB) – Tables from the 1990-2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, in comma separated values (CSV) format.

CSV Inventory Annex Tables (Zip) (315 KB) – Tables from the 1990-2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report Annex, in comma separated values (CSV) format.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com

A United States Carbon Sustainability Plan is self-funding. Benefiting People, Planet, And Profits…at the same time.

United States Carbon LLC, is an energy efficiency and Business Sustainability Project Management Company. Our business clients will become more Energy Efficient, Greener, Cleaner, More Socially Responsible and more profitable – all at the same time, and for little or no capital outlay. The energy savings from United States Carbon proposed projects are what is used to fund all project costs.  Simply put, we help companies reduce their energy consumption, increase the value of their  business and improve their company’s social responsibility through our Carbon Reduction Audit, Technologies & Project Funding Process.  United States Carbon combines the best in class technology utilizing, SMART WEB, SAETEC and SHOMEL to achieve the most comprehensive approach to reduction of energy in exchange for Carbon Assets. Our software solutions measure energy consumption and create the baseline for the Carbon Assets. Our solution can be offered as software service (SaaS) to large greenhouse gas emitters for corporate social responsibility, reporting and compliance management.

A United States Carbon Sustainability Plan is self-funding.  Benefiting People, Planet, And Profits…at the same time. 

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com