Tag Archives: climate change

154 American Companies Totaling 11 Million Workers, $4 Trillion Revenue Commit to Climate Action

Google is among the 154 companies - altogether employing 11 million workers and totaling $4 trillion in revenue - which have signed onto the "American Business Act on Climate Pledge" © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Google is among the 154 companies – altogether employing 11 million workers and totaling $4 trillion in revenue – which have signed onto the “American Business Act on Climate Pledge” © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even as the House Republicans, following the Senate, passed two laws nullifying the Obama Administrations efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, Obama continued his campaign at the COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris to bring more than 150 countries together in commitments intended to keep the planet from exceeding 2 degrees Centigrade – a level of warming that would prove catastrophic. 

And while Republicans insist that “There is no crisis because I don’t believe it” (Chris Christie), or that the earth is always changing and therefore there is nothing to worry about (Marco Rubio), or that worrying about climate change “Is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard” (Donald Trump) and that efforts to transition the economy away from dependence on dirty Fossil Fuels to clean renewables will “destroy” the economy (Mitch McConnell, who is desperate to preserve dirty coal mines in Kentucky and West Virginia), some of the biggest, most important businesses in the US (certainly not Koch Industries) are pledging to support climate action, and make significant investments in developing clean technologies.

The White House just announced additional commitments from 73 companies from across the American economy who are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. With this announcement, a total of 154 companies will have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to demonstrate their support for action on climate change and the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.  These 154 companies have operations in all 50 statesemploy nearly 11 million people, represent more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion. 

By signing the American Business Act on Climate pledge, these companies are:

  • Voicing support for a strong Paris outcome. The pledge recognizes those countries that have already put forward climate targets, and voices support for a strong outcome in the Paris climate negotiations.
  • Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to climate action. As part of this initiative, each company is announcing significant pledges to reduce their emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and take other actions to build more sustainable businesses and tackle climate change.

These pledges include ambitious, company-specific goals such as:

    • Reducing emissions by as much as 50 percent,
    • Reducing water usage by as much as 80 percent,
    • Achieving zero waste-to-landfill,
    • Purchasing 100 percent renewable energy, and
    • Pursuing zero net deforestation in supply chains.
    • Setting an example for their peers. Today’s announcements builds on the launch of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge in July, and the second round of announcements in October. 

The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide. Nineteen of the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the past two decades. Countries and communities around the world are already being affected by deeper, more persistent droughts, pounded by more severe weather, inundated by bigger storm surges, and imperiled by more frequent and dangerous wildfires. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries, all of which imperil public health, particularly for vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. No corner of the planet and no sector of the global economy will remain unaffected by climate change in the years ahead.

Climate change is a global challenge that demands a global response, and President Obama is committed to leading the fight. The President’s Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years. The Clean Power Plan, the most significant domestic step any President has ever taken to combat climate change, will reduce emissions from the energy sector by 32% by 2030. And while the United States is leading on the international stage and the federal government is doing its part to combat climate change, hundreds of private companies, local governments, and foundations have stepped up to increase energy efficiencyboost low-carbon investing, and make solar energy more accessible to low-income Americans.

The measures taken by the public and private sectors enabled President Obama to set an ambitious but achievable goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26-28% by 2025 last November. And in the eleven months since, we’ve seen unprecedented global momentum in the fight against climate change.

To date, more than 180 countries representing nearly 95% of global carbon emissions have reported post-2020 climate policies to the United Nations. This includes the major economies like the U.S., China, the European Union and India and it includes a large number of smaller economies, developing nations, island states and tropical countries – some of whom are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“As the world looks toward Paris, President Obama is committed to building on this momentum, with American leadership at all levels – the federal government, state and local governments and the private sector,” the White House stated.

*          *          *

THE AMERICAN BUSINESS ACT ON CLIMATE PLEDGE

We applaud the growing number of countries that have already set ambitious targets for climate action. In this context, we support the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future. 

We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.  

Today, the following companies have joined the pledge and their detailed commitments can be viewed at: www.whitehouse.gov/ClimatePledge

21ST CENTURY FOX
365 RETAIL MARKETS
ACER AMERICA
ADOBE
AGILE SOURCING PARTNERS
AIRBNB
AKAMAI
ALL STAR SERVICES
AMAZON

AMD

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY
AVERY DENNISON
BEN & JERRY’S
BHPBILLITON
BIO-AMBER
BMW NA
BNY MELLON
BURNS & MCDONNELL
CANTALOUPE SYSTEMS
CANTEEN & COMPASS GROUP
CH2M
CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.
CRAIG COMMUNICATIONS
DANFOSS
DUPONT
EDP RENEWABLES NORTH AMERICA
ENEL GREEN POWER NORTH AMERICA
EQUINIX
FRHAM
GAMESA
GENENTECH
GOURMET COFFEE SERVICE
GREENWOOD ENERGY
IHG
INTERFACE
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES
JETBLUE
JM HUBER CORPORATION
KAISER PERMANENTE
KELLY SERVICES
KIMBALL ELECTRONICS
KOHL’S DEPARTMENT STORES
KPMG
LEGRAND NA
LENOVO
LINKEDIN
MESA ASSOCIATES
MGM RESORTS
MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL
NATIONAL GRID
NEWS CORP
NOVARTIS
NRG
ORMAT TECHNOLOGIES
PATHEON
PROLOGIS
RIO TINTO
RM2
ROYAL VENDING
SKYONIC
STAPLES
SWITCH COMMUNICATIONS
SYMANTEC
TESLA MOTORS
TRI-ALPHA ENERGY
UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES
VALLEY ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS
VF CORPORATION
VOLVO GROUP NORTH AMERICA
THE WITTERN GROUP
XYLEM

The following companies have previously joined the American Business Act on Climate pledge:

ABENGOA BIOENERGY US
AEMETIS
ALCOA
AMERICAN EXPRESS

APPLE

AT&T
AUTODESK
BANK OF AMERICA
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY ENERGY
BEST BUY
BIOGEN
BLOOMBERG
CA TECHNOLOGIES
CALPINE
CAMPOS BROTHERS FARMS
CARGILL
COCA-COLA
COX
DELL
DISNEY
DSM NORTH AMERICA
EMC CORPORATION
ENER-G RUDOX
ENERGY OPTIMIZERS
FACEBOOK
FULCRUM BIOENERGY
GE
GENERAL MILLS
GENERAL MOTORS
GOLDMAN SACHS
GOOGLE
HERSHEY’S
HP
IBERDROLA USA
IBM
IKEA USA
INGERSOLL RAND
INTEL
INTEX SOLUTIONS
INTREN
INVENERGY
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
JOHNSON CONTROLS
KELLOGGS

KEYSTONE ELECTRICAL MANUFACTURING

KINGSPAN INSULATED PANELS INC
LAKESHORE LEARNING
LAM RESEARCH
LEVI STRAUSS & CO.
L’OREAL USA
MARS
MCDONALDS
MICROSOFT
MONSANTO
NATIONAL LABEL
NESTLE USA
NIKE
NOVOZYMES
ONE3LED
PACIFIC ETHANOL
PEPSI
PG&E
POET
PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC
PROCTOR & GAMBLE
PWC US
QUALCOMM
RICOH USA
SALESFORCE.COM
SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
SIEMENS USA
SONY USA
STARBUCKS
SYNGENTA/QCCP
TARGET
TRIGLOBAL ENERGY
UNILEVER
UPS
WAL-MART
XEROX

Senate Republicans Push Two Resolutions to Nullify Clean Power Plan; Obama Vows Veto

A majority of Americans favor cutting carbon emissions to protect air and water and address the impacts of climate change and global warning. 400,000 joined the People's Climate March in New York City in 2014. Republicans in Congress are trying to nullify Obama's Clean Power Plan in advance of the Climate Summit in Paris © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
A majority of Americans favor cutting carbon emissions to protect air and water and address the impacts of climate change and global warning. 400,000 joined the People’s Climate March in New York City in 2014. Republicans in Congress are trying to nullify Obama’s Clean Power Plan in advance of the Climate Summit in Paris © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Office of Management & Budget is vowing that President Obama would veto two resolutions proposed by Senate Republicans intended to nullify his Clean Power Plan and undermine the international climate summit that gets underway in December in Paris.

“Senate Leader, and King Coal cohort, Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate coal cronies will introduce two resolutions via the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used, filibuster-proof legislative scheme that only requires a simple majority to pass,” writes Anthony Rogers-Wright of Environmental Action.

“Even though President Obama has promised to veto any resolution that attempts to block his climate agenda, senators from coal-y rolling states are pushing ahead. Why the rush if they can’t get this legislation signed into law, you ask? Their real agenda is to reduce international confidence in the president’s ability to deliver on U.S. climate commitments2 – it’s a classic case of Paris sabotage. Should these senators succeed, it would send the wrong message to the world and reduce the U.S.’s standing as a global leader.”

Sally King added, “Moments after the Clean Power Plan was formally published last month, opponents of the rule filed suit to strike it down. In a congressional hearing last month the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) critics continued to claim the plan will create economic catastrophe and violates the constitution. Although they can’t stop Obama’s plan, they’re hoping that the clamor will embolden governors and state policymakers to resist complying with the rule.

“But these claims should be taken for what they are: noise. The EPA’s flexible, cost-minimizing approach to reducing carbon pollution from power plants is consistent with the Clean Air Act and the Constitution.”

The OMB explains its objections to the resolutions and why the President would veto:

S.J.Res. 23 – Disapproving EPA Rule on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Electric Utility Generating Units

(Sen. McConnell, R-KY, and 47 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes S.J.Res. 23, which would undermine the public health protections of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and stop critical U.S. efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.  In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the CAA gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.  In 2009, EPA determined that GHG pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes to the climate that can, and are already, having a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.  This finding is consistent with conclusions of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and numerous other national and international scientific bodies.  Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic GHG emissions.  While the United States limits dangerous emissions of arsenic, mercury, lead, particulate matter, and ozone precursor pollution from power plants, the Carbon Pollution Standards and the Clean Power Plan put into place the first national limits on power plant carbon pollution.  The Carbon Pollution Standards will ensure that new, modified, and reconstructed power plants deploy available systems of emission reduction to reduce carbon pollution.

S.J.Res. 23 would nullify carbon pollution standards for future power plants and power plants undertaking significant modifications or reconstruction, thus slowing our country’s transition to cleaner, cutting-edge power generation technologies.  Most importantly, the resolution could enable continued build-out of outdated, high-polluting, and long-lived power generation infrastructure and impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from new and modified power plants – when the need to act, and to act quickly, to mitigate climate change impacts on American communities has never been more clear.

Since it was enacted in 1970, and amended in 1977 and 1990, each time with strong bipartisan support, the CAA has improved the Nation’s air quality and protected public health. Over that same period of time, the economy has tripled in size while emissions of key pollutants have decreased by more than 70 percent.  Forty-five years of clean air regulation have shown that a strong economy and strong environmental and public health protection go hand-in-hand.

Because S.J.Res. 23 threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector that take a flexible, common sense approach to addressing carbon pollution, if the President were presented with S.J.Res. 23, he would veto the bill.

S.J.Res. 24 – Disapproving EPA Rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Electric Utility Generating Units

(Sen. Capito, R-WV, and 48 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes S.J.Res. 24, which would undermine the public health protections of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and stop critical U.S. efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.  In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the CAA gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.  In 2009, EPA determined that GHG pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes to the climate that can, and are already, having a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.  This finding is consistent with conclusions of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and numerous other national and international scientific bodies.  Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic GHG emissions.  While the United States limits dangerous emissions of arsenic, mercury, lead, particulate matter, and ozone precursor pollution from power plants, the Clean Power Plan and the Carbon Pollution Standards put into place the first national limits on power plant carbon pollution.  The Clean Power Plan empowers States to cost-effectively reduce emissions from existing sources and provides States and power plants a great deal of flexibility in meeting the requirements.  EPA expects that under the Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from power plants will be reduced by 32 percent from 2005 levels.

By nullifying the Clean Power Plan, S.J.Res. 24 seeks to block progress towards cleaner energy, eliminating public health and other benefits of up to $54 billion per year by 2030, including thousands fewer premature deaths from air pollution and tens of thousands of fewer childhood asthma attacks each year.  Most importantly, the resolution would impede efforts to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants – the largest source of carbon pollution in the country – when the need to act, and to act quickly, to mitigate climate change impacts on American communities has never been more clear.

Since it was enacted in 1970, and amended in 1977 and 1990, each time with strong bipartisan support, the CAA has improved the Nation’s air quality and protected public health.  Over that same period of time, the economy has tripled in size while emissions of key pollutants have decreased by more than 70 percent.  Forty-five years of clean air regulation have shown that a strong economy and strong environmental and public health protection go hand-in-hand.

Because S.J.Res. 24 threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector that take a flexible, common sense approach to addressing carbon pollution, if the President were presented with S.J.Res. 24, he would veto the bill.

 

 

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline, Says US Must Lead on Transition to Renewable Energy

People's Climate March, September 2014: Environmentalists are hailing President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, in favor of promoting infrastructure supporting clean, renewable energy © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
People’s Climate March, September 2014: Environmentalists are hailing President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, in favor of promoting infrastructure supporting clean, renewable energy © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

by Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

In a statement on Friday, Nov. 6, President Barack Obama declared that the State Department, under Secretary John Kerry, made the determination that “Keystone would not serve the national interests of the United States… and I agree.”

Flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, President Obama said the Keystone XL pipeline would contradict America’s efforts – and its global leadership – to transition to clean, renewable energy in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change before communities are rendered “inhospitable” and even “uninhabitable.”

“Today, the United States of America is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.  America is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe.  America is leading on climate change by working with other big emitters like China to encourage and announce new commitments to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  In part because of that American leadership, more than 150 nations representing nearly 90 percent of global emissions have put forward plans to cut pollution.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

“Today, we will continue to lead by example [to prevent] a large part of this earth from not only becoming inhospitable but inhabitable in our lifetimes.

“As long as I’m President of the United States, America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.  And three weeks from now, I look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in Paris, where we’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.

“If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now.  Not later.  Not someday.  Right here, right now.:

The President took to task how Keystone was being used as a “political cudgel.”

“For years,” he said, “the  Keystone pipeline occupied an over-inflated role in political discourse – a symbol, a campaign cudgel rather than a serious policy matter.

“This pipeline was neither a silver bullet for the  economy as promised by some, nor an express lane to disaster as implied by others.” Ultimately, he said, the State Department rejected Keystone XL because, “it did not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.”

But, he said, if Congress were serious about creating jobs, “this was not the way to do it. What we should be doing is passing bipartisan infrastructure bill that would create more than 30 times the jobs each year than pipeline, and create long-term benefits.”

Indeed, in the absence of the Keystone XL pipeline, the United States added 271,000 jobs in October, the fastest pace so far this year as the unemployment rate declined to its lowest level since April 2008. 

Our businesses have now added 13.5 million jobs over 68 straight months, extending the longest streak on record,” reported Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. “The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.0 percent in October—its lowest level since April 2008—with stable labor force participation. Wages continued to rise; average hourly earnings for all private employees have now risen 2.5 percent over the past year, the fastest pace achieved since 2009…Overall, our economy has created 8.0 million jobs over the past thirty-six months, the fastest pace since 2000.” 

But if Congress were serious about jobs creation, President Obama continued, “This Congress should pass serious infrastructure plan and keep those jobs coming. That will make a difference. The pipeline would not make serious impact on those numbers and the American people’s prospects for the future.”

Moreover, he said, Keystone would not have lowered gas prices for the American consumer. On the other hand, “gas prices have already been falling steadily: 77c over a year ago – a $1 over 2 years, $1.27 over 3 years ago. Today in 41 states, you  can find at least one gas station selling for less than $2/gallon.”

Shipping the oil  from Canada’s tar sands, the dirtiest form, would not contribute to America’s energy security, either, Obama said. “What has increased energy security is decreasing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels imported from other parts of the world.”

He noted that three years ago, he set a goal of reducing America’s dependence on importing foreign oil, and that goal has been met five years early. “We now produce more oil than we buy from other countries.”

“The United States will continue to rely on oil and gas as we transition, but we must transition to a clean energy economy.”

That transition is happening “more quickly than many anticipated.

“Since I took office, we have doubled the distance we can go on a gallon of gas, tripled power from wind, multiplied the power we get from the sun 20 times over. Our biggest and most successful businesses are going all-in on clean energy. Thanks to the investments made, power from wind and sun is cheaper than conventional.

“The old rules said we couldn’t promote economic growth and protect our environment at the same time.  The old rules said we couldn’t transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers.  But this is America, and we have come up with new ways and new technologies to break down the old rules, so that today, homegrown American energy is booming, energy prices are falling, and over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, America has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”

The President said, “Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

“I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together.  I’m optimistic because our own country proves, every day — one step at a time — that not only do we have the power to combat this threat, we can do it while creating new jobs, while growing our economy, while saving money, while helping consumers, and most of all, leaving our kids a cleaner, safer planet at the same time.

“That’s what our own ingenuity and action can do.  That’s what we can accomplish.  And America is prepared to show the rest of the world the way forward.”

See:

FACT SHEET: ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVE TO INCREASE SOLAR ACCESS FOR ALL AMERICANS

 

FACT SHEET: Continuing to Drive Growth in Solar Energy Across the Country-Administration Announcing More than $120 Million to Scale Up Clean Energy in 15 States

 

FACT SHEET: Obama Administration and Private-Sector Leaders Announce Ambitious Commitments and Robust Progress to Address Potent Greenhouse Gases

FACT SHEET: White House Announces Commitments to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge

 

FACT SHEET:  Obama Administration Joins with Public and Private Sector to Increase Access to Off-Grid Clean Energy and the Deployment of Innovative Technologies Globally

 

FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces New Efforts to Promote Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture