Tag Archives: United States Environmental Protection Agency

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

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United States Carbon: No More Free-Pass for Carbon Pollution

For more than 40 years, the Clean Air Act has proved itself an effective, efficient and flexible tool that has safeguarded public health while fostering economic growth and innovation.

My colleagues and I at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a new analysis today that finds curbing carbon pollution from power plants using the Clean Air Act would have similarly positive results.

In the analysis — “Less Carbon, More Jobs, Lower Bills” — we found that NRDC’s proposal to cut carbon pollution would create new jobs nationally and lower the average American’s monthly electric bill. This analysis is based on a proposal detailed in our December 2012 report “Closing the Power Plant Carbon Pollution Loophole: Smart Ways the Clean Air Act Can Clean Up America’s Biggest Climate Polluters.”

Specifically, we found that our proposed carbon standards would, in 2020, increase national employment by a net total of 210,000 jobs, lower average residential electricity bills by $0.90 per month and have essentially no overall impact on the nation’s GDP.

Total net jobs added by state (select U.S. states) in 2020 from carbon standard
Total net jobs added by state (select U.S. states) in 2020 from carbon standard.
Credit: NRDC.

The analysis

In December 2012, NRDC shared its proposalfor how the EPA could set carbon standards for power plants that would achieve big reductions at far lower cost than conventional wisdom would have suggested. At the same time, these actions would create vast benefits for the American people, including a surge of investment in energy efficiency. The plan would give EPA the flexibility it has under the Clean Air Act to set carbon reduction goals based in part on states’ current electric generation mixes. It would also allow power companies to draw from a wide range of options to meet emissions reduction targets.

With that kind of practical, flexible approach, we showed that EPA could reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020 (relative to the peak levels in 2005), while at the same time lowering electricity prices. The price tag? About $4 billion in 2020. But the benefits — in saved lives, reduced illnesses and avoided environmental damage — would be worth $25 billion to $60 billion, or six to 15 times greater than those costs.

That report outlined the big picture. Today, we are releasing a companion analysis that digs into the details and examines how our proposal would affect jobs, GDP and electricity bills for average Americans. This analysis also examines how our proposal would look in several states around the country.

Nationally, we see a total net gain of 210,000 jobs in 2020. Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia jobs would increase and electric bills would decrease. Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota would see job gains, and Maine residents would save on their electric bills.

Energy efficiency upgrades are the primary driver of job gains in the analysis, responsible for 236,000 additional direct jobs in 2020. Shifts in other sectors (including not just power plants, but also industries that supply inputs to the production of these plants) would reduce the net increase to 210,000; some job gains are also offset because households would be spending money on energy efficiency measures instead of other economy-wide goods and services.

Energy bill savings occur even though the efficiency programs add costs to electricity bills. This is because these charges are still lower than the cost of electricity required without such efficiency changes. While electricity rates (cents per kilowatt-hour) could go up modestly in some cases, electricity bills (rate multiplied by usage) go down, on average, because energy efficiency improvements reduce overall electricity consumption.

Carbon Standard Bills changes
Changes in net job years and utility bills in the United States and in selected states from carbon standard in 2020 (policy case relative to business-as-usual).
Credit: NRDC.

Conservative estimates

Our estimates are conservative.

In the report, changes in utility bills capture savings from energy efficiency only for the year 2020, yet energy efficiency upgrades installed up to that point will continue to have benefits for consumers for many years beyond. The bill savings we estimated reflect up-front charges on electricity bills for energy-efficiency programs and investments in cleaner generation, all of which occur in 2020, minus savings gained from avoiding some energy generation in 2020 alone).

Additionally, the analysis did not include two positive impacts our proposal would have on GDP; due to modeling limitations, we had to leave these effects out. First, we did not calculate productivity improvements to the economy that would result from the $25 billion to $60 billion in health and environmental benefits. These improvements could be significant: a series of studies led by Dale Jorgenson at Harvard University concluded that the healthier workforce resulting from the Clean Air Act increased GDP by as much as 1.5 percent by 2010. Similar to other environmental damages , climate change disrupts worker productivity because of work days lost to extreme weather (e.g. from damages to homes, businesses, and transportation and other infrastructure) and climate-related illnesses (e.g. exacerbated respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, and emergency room visits during heat-waves for various health impacts). Extreme heat also directly lowers the productivity of outdoor workers.

Second, our proposed carbon standard reduces wholesale electricity prices in the regions we studied in the eastern part of the country due to reduced electricity demand and the form of the output-based standard (the regulatory limit on power-plant outputs). However, we did not estimate the positive effect this price drop would have on businesses and economy-wide production.

Details aside, though, the big picture is clear. Climate change is fueling extreme weather, heat, drought, forest fires, asthma and many other effects that are harming our children’s health and their future. Yet, one of the largest sources of the dangerous heat-trapping gases driving climate change, our nation’s power plants, emit with no carbon limits whatsoever. They areresponsible for almost 40 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution in the United States.

President Obama has laid out a robust plan for tackling climate change, noting that we have an obligation to protect future generations from its effects.

“Today, for the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,” he announced in presenting his climate plan on June 25, 2013.

The centerpiece of that plan is the task of cleaning up dangerous carbon pollution from power plants. These plants are our biggest source of carbon pollution, and while they must observe strict limits for arsenic, mercury, lead and other emissions, they face no limits for their carbon dioxide pollution.

As President Obama said, “That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

So the president is outlining a common-sense step, using a common-sense tool: the Clean Air Act. Just as we used this act to set limits for arsenic, mercury, lead and other dangerous pollution coming from power plants, we can set limits to efficiently cut the carbon pollution these plants emit.

Our two analyses demonstrate that NRDC’s proposal for reducing carbon pollution from power plants by 26 percent in 2020 will add over 200,000 jobs to the U.S. economy, save Americans money on their electric bills and avoid up to $60 billion in health impacts and other climate-related costs.

When we consider that climate change is already happening in the United States, already affecting communities all across the nation, we think that having a path forward to less carbon, more jobs and lower bills is the right path to take.

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: Obama Unveils Sweeping Carbon Reduction Plan

President cites moral, economic and weather concerns in call for climate action

Citing moral, economic and weather related concerns, President Barack Obama is set to unveil sweeping measures aimed at reducing U.S. carbon emissions Tuesday during a speech at Georgetown University on climate change. In addition to cutting carbon emissions in America, Obama hopes to prepare the United States for climate change and lead a global effort, working with countries such as China, India and Brazil to accomplish similar goals.

Obama will double-down on several policies already in place, including a widely anticipated move to extend a proposal to regulate carbon standards for new power plants to include existing plants as well, according to a White House fact sheet. Many experts have said the expected Environmental Protection Agency regulation would end the building of new coal plants because doing so would no longer be profitable.

The president also will call for greater energy efficiency in appliances and direct federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense, to meet new renewable energy and energy efficiency goals,

“Last year alone, there were 11 different weather and climate disaster events with estimated losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States,” said a White House report released Tuesday. “Taken together, these 11 events resulted in over $110 billion in estimated damages, which would make it the second-costliest year on record.”

The Obama administration also says it will work to improve infrastructure such as the electricity grid by streamlining new transmission project siting, permitting and review processes at the federal, state and local levels.

The announcements come as Obama’s nominee to lead the EPA, Gina McCarthy, is working her way through a contentious nomination process. Though she garnered praise from both the environmental and business communities, the career regulator was approved by a committee vote only after Republicans forced a delay on the scheduled vote by refusing to meet with Democrats. Republicans said the EPA and McCarthy, by extension, were not forthcoming enough with information requests they had made, despite the fact that McCarthy answered more than 1,000 submitted questions.

A conservative energy lobbyist says Obama’s announcements were widely anticipated and won’t likely poison the well further for McCarthy’s nomination.

“Everyone knows this is coming,” says the lobbyist, who spoke on background but declined to be named in order to speak freely. “I think the Republicans are going to try to hold up Gina McCarthy, I don’t think [Tuesday’s speech] is going to change anyone’s decision on her, though.”

Obama’s speech is likely going to be more notable for what he didn’t say than what he did, the lobbyist says.

The administration has yet to make an announcement about whether the State Department will permit a vast oil pipeline known as Keystone XL through the middle of the country, to connect oil sands in Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast. For environmentalists, it’s a make-or-break issue, as it is for energy companies, businesses and Republicans on the other side.

“I still think Keystone is everything; everything is a decision tree off of Keystone,” the lobbyist says, referring to what Obama’s energy policy will look like moving forward.

By making a big, flashy speech on reducing carbon emissions, Obama may be attempting to placate those on the left ahead of approving the pipeline project, he speculates.

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 Statees Carbon: What is sustainability?

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have,  the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.

What is United States Carbon doing?

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. Contact us today and let us show you how.

United States Carbon aims to make sustainability the next level of environmental protection by drawing on advances in science and technology to protect human health and the environment, and promoting innovative green business practices.

How can I help?

United States Carbon has tools to help you learn and understand the issues and help you reduce your environmental footprintVisit our website.

Government Regulations and Practices

Executive Order 13423: “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management” of 2007 set policy and specific goals for federal agencies to ”conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner.”

Executive Order 13514: “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance” of 2009 enhances EO 13423 “to establish an integrated strategy towards sustainability in the Federal Government and to make reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) a priority for Federal agencies.”

The Federal Government Sustainability website includes the latest information from federal agencies relevant to developing and maintaining sustainable facilities and to developing and promoting sustainable practices within their environmental programs.

Greening EPA. EPA implements a wide range of programs to reduce the environmental impact of its facilities and operations, from building new, environmentally sustainable structures to improving the energy efficiency of older buildings.

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 states look to cut greenhouse gases

A growing number of American states are looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of federal climate change legislation, with a northeastern scheme for trading carbon becoming a model.

The proponents of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based emissions reduction scheme adopted by nine northeastern states from Maine to Maryland, are touting their programme as a way to cut greenhouse gases and boost economic growth.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of states lately, asking: ‘How would this programme work? If we were interested in joining what would the mechanism be, how would caps be set, how would money flow?’,” says Collin O’Mara, Delaware’s environment and energy secretary and chair of RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”).

The Environmental Protection Agency has already introduced a rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new coal-fired power plants, although it missed its own April deadline for finalising it.

The agency is expected soon to start the process of applying the rule to the US’s 600 existing coal-fired plants, which produce more than one-quarter of the US’s emissions.

With no prospects for passing climate change legislation through Congress, the Obama administration has been using regulation to try to meet the president’s pledge to cut the US’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent compared with 2005 levels by 2020.

Opponents say that the rules will force existing coal-fired plants to close, while environmentalists contend that more aggressive regulation is needed to counteract global warming.

Regardless, the EPA will set targets for reductions but will probably leave states with a lot of flexibility on how these are met, analysts say.

That is leading some states – including Colorado and Illinois – to look closely at schemes like RGGI.

The scheme, introduced in 2009, applies only to power plants and was the first cap-and-trade type scheme in the country, auctioning emissions permits. California, another environmentally conscious state, followed suit with regulations aimed at reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.

RGGI’s members say the scheme has been more successful than even they anticipated, and should serve as an example to the rest of the country.

“We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in emissions across the region, while at the same time we’ve seen an increase in productivity and an increase in energy production,” Mr O’Mara says.

“The lesson is that we can still support a healthy robust economy while improving energy efficiency,” he says.

Emissions from power plants in the RGGI area were a third lower than the limit in the first three years, while they were 45 per cent below the cap in 2012, although this was partly because the depressed economy reduced demand for electricity.

The Analysis Group, an independent Boston-based think-tank, meanwhile concluded that the scheme had given a $1.6bn boost to the regional economy and created 16,000 new jobs.

Massachusetts, which the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has named the most energy-efficient state for the second consecutive year, has received similar inquiries directly, says Rick Sullivan, the state’s energy secretary.

“Other states that are setting their own policies see that RGGI is up and running and tried and true, and has shown good results,” Mr Sullivan says. “We would welcome new members.”

RGGI member states have also been urging the EPA to bear their system in mind while formulating the new rule for existing coal-fired power plants – to make sure the rule complies with the RGGI system, rather than the other way around.

“If the federal rule mirrors the RGGI approach, including a cap and trade system, it will make it easier for states to adopt RGGI in concert with compliance with the federal rule,” says Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton administration climate change official.

“But if the federal rule is more prescriptive, there may not be the same sort of overlap with the RGGI process, and I think the jury is still out on this,” he says.

The EPA said it was “continuing to review the more than two million comments the agency received on the carbon pollution standard for new power plants”.

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