As the federal government gets started implementing a national Climate Action Plan, the country’s boldest state-level experiment is making strong progress. Yesterday, California announced the results of its latest auction of carbon pollution permits, completely selling out of its permits for future carbon pollution for the first time. The increased demand for these pollution permits reflects an encouraging development: Confidence in California’s climate action program is growing, and its long-term future is becoming more and more certain.
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The World Resources Institute’s Sustainability Initiative seeks to align the Institute’s business practices with its mission. Using research and expertise from staff to guide us, WRI is committed to reducing the environmental and social impact of its operations. This report details WRI's fiscal...
Building support for action on climate change by ensuring that policy makers, media and citizens are aware of the local climate impacts occurring across the country.
Providing support for ambitious implementation of the Climate Action Plan to achieve near-term emission reductions and to enable the Obama Administration to put forward an ambitious offer for the 2015 agreement.
As I prepare to take part in an event on hurricanes and extreme weather in Miami, Florida later today, it’s clear just how much climate change threatens the state’s local communities. Florida is the most vulnerable U.S. state to sea-level rise, with seas projected to rise along the state’s coast by as much as 2 feet by 2060--threatening valuable infrastructure, homes, and communities. Even Superstorm Sandy--which had the greatest impacts in New York and New Jersey--caused significant damages along Florida’s east coast while centered miles offshore. Rising seas contributed to Sandy’s storm surge and tidal surges, causing flooding throughout Miami-Dade County and sweeping away portions of State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale.
But as overly concerned as I am of the climate change impacts Florida faces, I’m also encouraged. Florida has something that few other states have: A bipartisan collaboration to address global warming’s disastrous impacts.
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President Obama announced a national climate plan in June 2013, directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set carbon pollution standards for the power sector. Once EPA establishes those standards, states will implement their own plans for achieving those reductions.
As part of his recently released Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. While these federal standards are a critical component of the U.S. plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change, the responsibility to actually implement them will fall to individual states.
The good news for many states is that they can greatly reduce their power sector emissions through existing policies and infrastructure, such as by meeting state standards for renewables and efficiency and increasing the use of existing natural gas power plants. These measures will ease the path for those states to meet future EPA power plant emissions standards and combat climate change.
WRI recently analyzed the existing tools Ohio can use to reduce its power sector emissions and help meet future EPA emissions standards. Over the coming months, we’ll release a series of fact sheets that outline the steps several other states can take.
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WRI analysis finds that Ohio can reduce its CO2 emissions 27 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 using existing state policies and infrastructure opportunities. These reductions would meet or exceed potentially stringent federal standards by the EPA for existing power plants.
Charts & Graphs
The Obama Administration committed in 2009 to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. While the Administration is not currently on track to meet this goal, it can pursue a suite of policies even without new legislation.
WRI established its U.S. office in 1982. We work to improve water quality, increase awareness of local climate change impacts, and identify cost-effective emissions-reduction opportunities in the United States. Learn more about our Eutrophication and Hypoxia, Water Quality Trading, U.S. Local Climate Impacts Initiative, and U.S. Climate Action projects.
The financial implications of environmental opportunities and risk need to be understood by financial institutions and investors, and reflected in the world’s capital markets. Our collaboration with Merrill Lynch, one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, has resulted in their report, “Energy Security and Climate Change: Investing in the Clean Car Revolution.” Merrill Lynch uses this report to advise clients about investments in the auto industry. WRI’s work with Merrill Lynch advances our efforts to involve the financial sector in addressing climate change.
WRI’s partnership with General Electric is one example of harnessing the power of business to solve environmental challenges. This year, GE launched “Ecomagination”, a climate strategy based on product development and operational performance goals. GE plans to double its revenue from energy-efficient and other green products while reducing its corporate greenhouse emissions by 2010. Working with WRI, as a member of our corporate working group on climate, GE made the business decision that it can find opportunity in selling technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When an iconic company like GE makes confronting global climate change a major element of its business strategy, other corporate leaders take heed.
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moves forward with standards to reduce emissions from existing power plants—expected to be proposed by June 2014—many states are beginning to think about how they will comply. WRI’s fact sheet series, Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions, examines the policies and pathways various states can use to cost-effectively meet or even exceed future power plant emissions standards. This post explores these opportunities in Michigan. Read about additional analyses in this series.
New analysis by WRI reveals that Michigan has already made big strides to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, including saving energy and increasing renewable power. And, it has the potential to go even further. According to our research, Michigan can reduce its power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 33 percent below 2011 levels by 2020 by complying with existing policies and improving infrastructure already in place. Taking these actions now can help the state meet future EPA emissions standards for existing power plants and achieve significant economic benefits.
WRI assisted Whole Foods Market in completing the largest purchase of green power in U.S. history, 4598 kilowatt-hours per year from wind farms—enough to power 40,000 homes. Corporate leadership is essential to the growth of green power and Whole Foods’ purchase has set a new benchmark. Whole Foods worked with WRI because of the success of our Green Power Market Development Group, a partnership of Fortune 500 companies building corporate markets for renewable energy. Group members are now the nation’s largest corporate users of renewable energy. Starbuck’s, J&J, and IBM support wind power. DuPont and GM are the country’s largest corporate users of landfill biogas for thermal energy, while J&J, Staples, and GM are among the nation’s top business users of solar power.
Which companies are going to thrive in a carbon-constrained future? It’s a critical question that the capital markets are currently ill-equipped to answer. Citigroup Investment Research, in partnership with WRI’s Capital Markets Research Team, looked at the risks and opportunities that climate change is creating for business. The findings were distributed to Citigroup’s real client base, including the largest investment and mutual funds in the world. When Citigroup, the world’s largest financial services company, says there are opportunities to make money solving climate change problems, investors will listen and other financial institutions will be inspired to follow. This is an example of the power of market-based strategies to steer business investment and innovation toward solutions to environmental and development challenges.
Our work with Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine publisher, is a terrific example of the successes enabled by our partnership-based approaches. While many companies set their own internal greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, Time Inc. announced a GHG reduction target goal for its paper suppliers. This groundbreaking move sets a new standard for a company having impact along its supply chain. Time Inc. worked with WRI to implement this initiative. They also were part of WRI’s Climate Northeast Partnership, working to build strategies that will allow companies to thrive in a carbon-constrained economy. When an iconic company like Time Inc. takes confronting global climate change seriously, other industry leaders take heed.
Mandatory reporting programs help build a strong foundation to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and strengthen countries’ capacity to adequately tackle climate change. This working paper provides insight into the factors influencing the design and development of reporting programs and...
As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moves forward with standards to reduce power plant emissions—which are due to be finalized in June 2015—many states are wondering how they will comply. WRI’s fact sheet series, Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions, examines the policies and pathways various states can use to cost-effectively meet or even exceed future power plant emissions standards. This post explores these opportunities in North Carolina. Read about additional analyses in this series.
Powering development with affordable, sustainable electricity
International climate action took an encouraging step forward today. President Obama reached agreements with the G-20 and with China to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners.