Live Green Launch Party

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 18 Jun 2008 22:00:00 GMT

In partnership with DC Gives, we are unveiling our new membership program that will make greener lifestyles more affordable and accessible for everyday living in DC and beyond.

Sponsors include: Local 16, Center for a New American Dream’s Conscious Consumer Marketplace, Green Drinks DC, Going Green DC, and Stacey Vaeth Photography.

Local 16 1602 U Street, NW Washington, DC

$15 at the door benefiting Live Green (RSVP required at: contactlivegreen@gmail.com) or $13 right here (your name will be added to our door list.)

Cover includes: light fare, an optional one-year membership with Live Green, and live music from:

THE BLACK AND TAN FANTASY BAND

Featuring Ashish Vyas of Thievery Corporation, Jerry Busher of Fugazi and Will Rast of Funk Arc

In partnership with DC Gives, we are unveiling our new membership program that will make greener lifestyles more affordable and accessible for everyday living in DC and beyond.

ABOUT LIVE GREEN: Live Green is a DC-based membership organization providing discounts on everyday green products and services, and programs supporting sustainable living communities.

ABOUT DC GIVES: DC Gives is a network of individuals who organize fundraisers for DC-based community groups and progressive organizations. Its goals are to throw distinctive, creative events and foster collaboration between DC’s artistic and progressive communities. It believes the best networking happens when people are having a really good time.

USCAP Offshoot Announces Support For Lieberman-Warner

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 02 Jun 2008 20:24:00 GMT

A coalition of corporations, labor, religious and environmental organizations has announced its support of Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) manager’s mark of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. Several are members of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), which called for mandatory climate legislation in January 2007, but more recently has been wrapped in internal conflict.

The letter begins:
The undersigned companies and organizations urge you to vote in favor of the Climate Security Act, S. 3036 (formerly S. 2191), which is expected to be considered by the full Senate beginning June 2. This is a very important vote on a bipartisan plan to address climate change. Prompt action on climate change is essential to protect America’s economy, security, quality of life and natural environment.

USCAP signatories are Alcoa, Environmental Defense Action Fund, Exelon Corporation, FPL Group, General Electric, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, NRG Energy, Inc, and PG&E Corporation. Non-USCAP signatories are Calpine Corporation, Interfaith Power and Light Campaign, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Izaak Walton League of America, National Grid, National Parks Conservation Association, Pew Environment Group, Public Service Enterprise Group, Trout Unlimited, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting (UA).

Full text is below:

Alcoa * Calpine Corporation * Environmental Defense Action Fund * Exelon Corporation * FPL Group * General Electric * Interfaith Power and Light Campaign * International Brotherhood of Boilermakers * Izaak Walton League of America * National Grid * National Parks Conservation Association * National Wildlife Federation * Natural Resources Defense Council * NRG Energy, Inc. * Pew Environment Group * PG&E Corporation * Public Service Enterprise Group * Trout Unlimited * UAM

Dear Senator:

The undersigned companies and organizations urge you to vote in favor of the Climate Security Act, S. 3036 (formerly S. 2191), which is expected to be considered by the full Senate beginning June 2. This is a very important vote on a bipartisan plan to address climate change. Prompt action on climate change is essential to protect America’s economy, security, quality of life and natural environment.

The Climate Security Act, as revised in the manager’s substitute amendment released last week, sets forth a sound overall framework for reducing America’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Most notably, it establishes an emissions cap that steadily reduces greenhouse gas emissions from current levels at a rate of about 1.8% annually. The bill creates a flexible cap-and-trade system to achieve these reductions at lower cost by tapping the power of free markets. It includes an unprecedented national investment in zero- and low-carbon technologies, and includes important policies to advance energy efficiency and alternative energy sources. The bill provides assistance to small energy consumers, including low-income families, to ease the transition to a low-carbon economy. And the bill protects American industry to ease the transition to a cleaner future.

We all support the framework and approach contained in the Climate Security Act. However, we also recognize that there is continued work to be done to refine the details of the legislation through the amendment process in the Senate and as a bill is taken up in the House. Some of the undersigned groups have already communicated with you on amendments and will continue to do so and others may do so later.

However, we think it is notable and a testament to the work of the bill’s sponsors and contributors that such a diverse group of interests are united on the following essential issue: A “yes” vote for the Climate Security Act represents historic leadership to advance bipartisan solutions to climate change; a “no” vote will slow progress and maintain the status quo, which only increases the risks of unavoidable consequences and potentially greater economic costs that could result from the need for even steeper reductions in the future. Sincerely,

Lee Califf Director, Government Affairs

Alcoa Yvonne A. McIntyre Vice President, Federal Legislative Affairs Calpine Corporation

Elizabeth Thompson Legislative Director Environmental Defense Action Fund

Betsy Moler Executive VP, Government and Enviro Affairs and Public Policy Exelon Corporation

Chris Bennett Executive Vice President FPL Group

Ann R. Klee Vice President Corporate Environmental Programs General Electric

The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham Founder and President The Regeneration Project Interfaith Power and Light Campaign

Newton B. Jones International President The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers

Scott Kovarovics Conservation Director Izaak Walton League of America

Thomas B. King Executive Director of Electricity Distribution and Generation National Grid

Mark Wenzler Director, Clean Air and Climate Programs National Parks Conservation Association

Jeremy Symons Executive Director, Global Warming Program National Wildlife Federation

David Hawkins Director of Climate Programs Natural Resources Defense Council

Steven Corneli Vice President Market and Climate Policy NRG Energy, Inc.

Phyllis Cuttino Director, US Global Warming Campaign Pew Environment Group

Melissa Lavinson Director, Federal Environmental Affairs and Corporate Responsibility PG&E Corporation

Eric Svenson VP of Environment, Health and Safety Public Service Enterprise Group

Steve Moyer Vice President for Government Affairs Trout Unlimited

William P. Hite General President United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada

Kempthorne: Polar Bear 'Threatened' By Decline of Arctic Sea Ice, But Drilling Can Continue

Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 15 May 2008 12:16:00 GMT

Originally posted at the Wonk Room.

After years of delay, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne made a landmark decision on whether global warming pollution is regulated by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Kempthorne ruled that the polar bear should be classified as a “threatened species” due to the decline of polar sea ice, critical to its survival. Kempthorne stated:

They are likely to become endangered in the near future.

The Department of Interior, under Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, fought for several years in the courts since 2005 to avoid making a decision on whether the precipitous decline in Arctic sea ice due to global warming is making the polar bear an endangered species. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dale Hall testified in January that there was no significant scientific uncertainty in the endangerment posed by global warming to polar bears—the only legal justification under the Endangered Species Act for a delay.

Kempthone’s decision to follow the science is in marked contrast to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson’s action to override his staff in refusing to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Kempthorne also argued vigorously that his decison does not compel the Bush administration to construct a plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, repeating President Bush’s entirely spurious claim that would be a “wholly inappropriate use” of the Endangered Species Act. The Interior news release announces, “Rule will allow continuation of vital energy production in Alaska.” Kempthorne claimed that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) is “more stringent” than the ESA, despite the court ruling that compelled him to make today’s ruling stating that “the protections afforded under the ESA far surpass those provided by the MMPA.”

Despite his protestations, Kempthorne’s decision clearly calls into question the legality of the sale of oil and gas drilling rights in polar bear habitat on February 6, while the polar bear decision was being illegally delayed.

Kempthorne complained that the Endangered Species Act is “one of the most inflexible” pieces of legislation because it didn’t allow him to consider economic impacts when protecting species like the polar bear from extinction.

From the Department of Interior press release on the 368-page rule:
To make sure the ESA is not misused to regulate global climate change, Kempthorne promised the following actions:
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 4(d) rule that states that if an activity is permissible under the stricter standards of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is also permissible under the ESA with respect to the polar bear. This rule, effective immediately, will ensure the protection of the bear while allowing us to continue to develop our natural resources in the arctic region in an environmentally sound way.
  • Director Hall will issue guidance to staff that the best scientific data available today cannot make a causal connection between harm to listed species or their habitats and greenhouse gas emissions from a specific facility, or resource development project or government action.
  • The Department will issue a Solicitor’s Opinion further clarifying these points.
  • The Department will propose common sense modifications to the existing ESA regulatory language to prevent abuse of this listing to erect a back-door climate policy outside our normal system of political accountability.

Andy Revkin at Dot Earth concludes, “So this leaves everything as it was, in a way, with the bears facing a transforming ecosystem and environmentalists successful in their litigation, but not necessarily empowered by the listing.” At Climate Progress Joe Romm calls the decision “bye-polar disorder.”

Sierra Club spokesman Josh Dorner tells the Wonk Room, “This is the regulatory equivalent of a signing statement—only this one gets to be challenged in court.”

Responses to Voinovich Climate Bill 1

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 02 May 2008 20:05:00 GMT

Responses to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio)’s draft climate legislation.

As E&E News reports, Sen. Voinovich is designing his bill “with input from several industry groups, including the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, the National Manufacturers Association, the Edison Electric Institute and the American Chemistry Council.”
The Washington office of Bracewell & Giuliani, a law firm that includes President Bush’s first-term U.S. EPA air pollution chief, Jeff Holmstead, and Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, also helped write the legislation.

EDF:

Ohio Senator George Voinovich today proposed to address the rapidly escalating threat of climate change by delaying meaningful federal action to control greenhouse gas emissions, obstructing existing state programs, and allowing U.S. global warming pollution to increase for decades to come.

“This proposal can be summed up in one word: bankrupt,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s a detailed prescription for doing nothing. If you think climate change is a hoax, this is your bill.”

Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation:
The bill to nowhere.

Friends of the Earth:

This phony bill would not require mandatory reductions in global warming pollution. It’s Bush reincarnated—a repeat of the do-nothing policies of the last eight years, and an attempt to provide pollution-supporting senators a way to appear as though they are addressing global warming without actually doing so. Global warming threatens to create unprecedented food and water shortages in the coming decades, causing massive loss of life and social and political instability around the world. Any attempt, such as this, to block progress in this fight and prevent America from being a clean energy leader is repugnant and immoral. Voters are not going to be fooled. Any senator who votes for such sham legislation will answer for it at the ballot box.

Annual LCV Washington, DC Dinner

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Apr 2008 22:30:00 GMT

The League of Conservation Voters is holding their 2008 Annual Washington, DC Dinner at Union Station on April 30.

Featured Speakers:
  • Congressman Tom Udall (NM)
  • Congressman Mark Udall (CO)

Union Station – East Hall 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Benefit Committee: $10,000

Host Committee: $5,000

Ticket price: $500

Dress: Business Attire

To RSVP, visit the website or contact Amy Eckenroth:

amy_eckenroth@lcv.org, 202-454-4568

Transatlantic Conference on Climate Change and Energy

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 25 Apr 2008 13:00:00 GMT

The Washington Conference will take place over two days. The first day will be an intensive expert workshop focusing on emissions from transport and biofuels use; this reflects concerns over the lack of action to address emissions from transport, rising concerns about expanded use of biofuels and pressure from some to include aviation, marine transport and road transport within cap and trade systems.

Day two will be a larger event designed to inform civil society more broadly about the differences and similarities between action in the EU and US, discuss best practice domestic solutions, demystify key policies such as the EU ETS etc. Discussions will predominantly focus on cap and trade, and the differing perceptions of actors on both sides of the Atlantic.

IEEP will be taking experts from the EU over to Washington for the event. European experts would take part in the workshop on day one, and potentially present ideas and concepts from a European perspective on day two.

If you would like to find out more about the conference please contact Sirini Withana (IEEP) or Melanie Nakagawa (NRDC).

For more information and background papers from previous T-PAGE discussions, visit the T-PAGE project website.

Location: 1616 P Street, NW, 1st Floor Conference Room
Resources for the Future building
Washington, DC 20036

Celebrate Appalachia

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 08 Apr 2008 22:00:00 GMT

Please join mountain lovers from across the country to:

Celebrate Appalachia

Join citizens in the fight to protect their communities from mountaintop removal mining.

Reception Hosted By:

The Alliance For Appalachia

Appalachian Citizens Law Center * Appalachian Voices * Appalshop * Coal River Mountain Watch * Heartwood * Kentuckians For The Commonwealth * MACED * Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition * Save Our Cumberland Mountains * Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program * Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards * Southwings * West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

With special thanks to:

Alaska Wilderness League, Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Christians for the Mountains, EarthJustice, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resource Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, and the national Sierra Club.

RSVP to J.W. Randolph at (202) 669-3670 or jw@appvoices.org

Kansas, Bleeding Carbon Emissions, Looks to the Outback-Bound EPA

Posted by Warming Law Fri, 04 Apr 2008 16:32:00 GMT

Reports from Kansas this morning indicated that today, state legislators would attempt to overturn October’s denial of construction permits for two coal-fired power plants by the administration of Governor Kathleen Sebelius—which has cited concern over global warming impacts and a desire to move instead toward clean energy solutions. (UPDATE: Literally just as we were publishing this post, the bill fell short of a veto-proof majority by a single vote.) Sebelius recently vetoed similar legislation, which would also significantly amend state anti-pollution law to strip regulators of the ability to factor in CO2 emissions, instead tethering their authority to the federal government’s position on GHG-related harm. Legislative supporters have laden their efforts with a handful of green-friendly provisions in order to greenwash their intentions dub the bill a "compromise," and claimed to have finally lined up enough support to override the governor, "unless someone lied to [House Speaker Melvin Neufeld]."

It’s painfully ironic that Kansas might move the ball into the EPA’s court, given the past week’s news, and considering that state officials recently told Congress that the Bush administration’s intransigence has helped bring about this fiasco. Our earlier favorable comparison between KS environmental honcho Roderick Bremby and EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is also amplified by their divergent reactions to the hot seat: the former has publicly defended his decision, while the latter has infamously decided to dodge congressional testimony and subpoenas in Australia.

Finally, it bears mention that the full might of the anti-climate-regulation/denialist machine has been brought to bear on this issue (who can forget the infamous Ahmadiejad/Chavez/Putin ads?). An overwrought editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal—not that there’s any other kind from them on this topic, as Solve Climate has assiduously documented—accuses Sebelius of acting as though she were opposing "crimes against humanity" for daring to mention the moral implications of climate change (much in the same way the Supreme Court has). The current legislation was also greeted by an onslaught of Washington lobbyists testifying on its behalf, including former EPA official turned "Dirty Rotten Scoundrel" Bill Wehrum and born-again consumer-safety advocate Grover Norquist.

Enviros Criticize, Fete Ken Lewis of Bank of America For Climate Influence 1

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 04 Apr 2008 11:04:00 GMT

Originally posted at the Think Progress Wonk Room.

bofaBank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis received two utterly different awards from environmental groups on Tuesday, April 1—the Energy Action Coalition and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) voted him the “Fossil Fool of the Year,” while the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) honored him at their annual fundraising gala as a “Force for Nature.”

Rebecca Tarbotton of RAN said, “Ken Lewis faced a who’s who list of polluters, but voters deemed him the worst of a very deserving crop.”

Frances Beinecke of NRDC said, “We have the know-how to beat global warming. What we need is the leadership to make it happen, and Ken Lewis is providing that leadership.”

Climate and environmental activists celebrated “Fossil Fools Day” yesterday, April 1, with actions across the globe protesting the fossil fuel industry. Heeding Al Gore’s call for “young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources,” they blockaded coal mines, coal plants, and energy company headquarters.

As part of the day of action, the Energy Action Coalition dedicated the Fossil Fools Awards to “the world’s biggest contributors to our global addiction to fossil fuels.” Kenneth Lewis won top honors for facilitating “nearly $1 billion in loans to Massey Energy and Arch Coal, two of the largest companies involved in the environmentally devastating process of mountaintop removal coal mining” in the last few years. Bank of America also made several billion dollars in loans and facilitated stock offerings in 2006 for Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company.

NRDC’s tenth annual “Forces for Nature” $1000-a-plate fundraising gala feted Ken Lewis and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg at Cipriani 42nd Street.

NRDC honored Lewis for Bank of America’s ten-year, $20 billion environmental initiative which “addresses climate change by championing sustainable business practices through innovative lending and investing strategies, new financial products and services and operations.” The initiative was launched last year. The new Bank of America Tower in New York City, when completed in 2009, will be one of the most environmentally friendly and efficient office buildings in the world.

At the NRDC gala, Lewis made the major announcement that Bank of America would adopt the Carbon Principles, “a set of guidelines that help advisors and lenders to power companies evaluate and address carbon risks in the financing of projects” drafted in January by Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the ‘Principles’ push utilities to explore other alternatives to regular coal plants . . . Still, the banks make clear they won’t stop funding all conventional coal plants—they’ll simply want assurances higher rates will cover likely costs of carbon.”

New legal developments in the case of Mass. v. EPA

Posted by Wonk Room Wed, 02 Apr 2008 17:00:00 GMT

EPA Leaves Behind Wake of Broken Promises, Inaction as Anniversary of Landmark Global Warming Case Approaches

State Officials, Environmental Groups to Discuss Steps to Compel EPA Action

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court handed down a watershed decision in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA. Despite promises from EPA Administrator Johnson and even President Bush himself, EPA has willfully chosen to ignore the Supreme Court’s instructions. Indeed, EPA has instead proposed action consistent with the wishes of polluters and other special interests.

The petitioners in Mass v. EPA have repeatedly and publicly warned EPA that continued inaction on the so-called “endangerment finding” and promised regulations for global warming emissions from vehicles would force the petitioners to take steps to compel action. EPA’s brazen refusal to act has left the petitioners no choice but to take the agency back to court to force it to comply with the High Court’s decision.

This press teleconference will review developments over the past year, outline the Bush administration’s broken promises relating to this case, and outline the legal action that the petitioners are being forced to take in order to prevent EPA from continuing to ignore the Supreme Court.

  • G. Edmund Brown, Jr., Attorney General of California
  • James Milkey, Chief of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
  • David Bookbinder, Sierra Club Chief Climate Counsel
  • Joe Mendelson, Legal Director, International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA)

The ICTA brought the original petition that led to this case. James Milkey argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Conference ID: 41865683

Dial-in: (888) 228 – 9795

Contact: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384 (w), 202.679.7570 (m), josh.dorner@sierraclub.org

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