Farm Group Agrees with Climate Change Report

NFUlogoThe National Farmers Union (NFU) agrees with the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that renewable energy must play a significant role in climate change mitigation.

“The working group’s report complements NFU’s long-held, member-led policy positions by recognizing the need for a comprehensive renewable energy strategy,” said NFU vPresident Roger Johnson. “Tripling or even quadrupling the share of zero- and low-carbon energy supply from renewables, as the report recommends, will require significant investments in energy technologies that utilize rural America’s renewable and human resources. These investments would pay off not only by helping to mitigate the effects of climate change but by driving significant rural economic development.”

WGIII_AR5_Cover_webThe IPCC third working group report released this week finds that climate change is occurring at a rapid rate, but mitigation strategies such as scaling up renewable energy production could substantially reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the report, total anthropogenic GHG emissions have continued to increase over 1970 to 2010 in spite of a growing number of climate change mitigation policies. Total anthropogenic GHG emissions were the highest in human history from 2000 to 2010. Without additional efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond those in place today, emissions growth is expected to persist, driven by growth in global population and economic activities.

ILUC Modeling Still Unverifiable

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released their 2014 Climate Change Mitigation Report. According to the Global Renewable Fuels Association (GRFA), the report confirms that biofuels production is economically beneficial and that Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) modelling is unverifiable. The report, says GRFA spokesperson Bliss Baker, is further proof that biofuels contribute to local economies and that ILUC modelling is nothing more than a flawed theory.

The report found that “Bioenergy projects can be economically beneficial by raising and diversifying farm incomes and increasing rural employment through the production of biofuels for domestic or export markets. The IPCC report went on further to say that “Brazilian sugar cane ethanol production provides six times more jobs than the Brazilian petroleum sector and spreads income benefits across numerous municipalities…Worker income is higher than in nearly all other agricultural sectors and several sustainability standards have been adopted.”

Baker says the IPCC report’s finding are consistent with one of their 2012 reports that found that global ethanol production in 2010 supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors worldwide and contributed over $273 million to the global economy. In the European Union WGIII_AR5_Cover_webalone the ethanol industry created 70,000 direct and indirect jobs. The IPCC report’s findings also align with a recent study conducted by ABF Economics, which found that the U.S ethanol industry in 2013 created 86,503 jobs, sustained an additional 300,277 indirect and induced jobs while contributing $44 billion to the United States’ Gross Domestic Product and added $30.7 billion to household incomes.

“Not only do biofuels, particularly ethanol, have the lowest CO2 abatements compared to any other renewable energy but the latest IPCC climate change mitigation report confirmed that they make significant contributions to economies around the world and in some cases like Brazil, biofuels employment is eclipsing crude oil,” added Baker.

Baker says the IPCC report contained another significant finding regarding ILUC: an attempt to predict future land use patterns globally. The report stated, “These estimates of global LUC (Land Use Change) are highly uncertain, unobservable, unverifiable, and dependent on assumed policy, economic contexts, and inputs used in the modelling.”

According to Baker, these significant findings mean that the IPCC has joined the overwhelming number of scientists and academics that have found the ILUC theory to be faulty because modeling relies on hundreds of assumptions, not facts, to predict future land use patterns around the world.

“The GRFA applauds the UN for recognizing that the ILUC theory has no ability to accurately predict future land use patterns and hopefully it can now focus on the real challenges to food security like rising crude oil prices and food waste,” Baker concluded.

IPCC Releases Fifth Assessment Climate Report

AR5cover1_275_355_70The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its Fifth Assessment Climate Report that says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The report finds in many cases the world is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. A total of 309 coordinating lead authors and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and a total of 1,729 expert and government reviewers.

The report concludes that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is increasingly clear, though the report finds climate change will also continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability (lack of preparedness) and exposure (people or assets in harm’s way) overlapping with hazards (triggering climate events or trends). Each of these three components can be a target for smart actions to decrease risk.

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. “In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”

According to Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II, adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now starting to occur, but with a stronger focus on reacting to past events than on preparing for a changing future.

“Climate-change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms, and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation,” Field said. “This experience forms a starting point for bolder, more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change.”

Mayors Leading Way in Energy Efficiency

This week the mayors from across the U.S. released results of a new survey pointing to successes of cities using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to improve energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 9.18.21 AMUnveiled by Gresham, Oregon Mayor Shane Bemis, Bridgeport, Connecticut Mayor Bill Finch, and Carmel, Indiana Mayor Jim Brainard, the survey findings derived from the responses of 204 mayors demonstrate how cities invested their EECBG program funds to help further local initiatives to reduce energy use, deploy new energy technologies and curb harmful energy emissions, among other local outcomes. All three mayors are members of the Mayors’ Climate Protection Center.

“These findings underscore that mayors have been leading by example on energy efficiency and conservation for years,” said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Chair of the Conference’s Energy Committee. “Mayors all across the country have been actively working to advance energy-saving measures in communities large and small, and what we see in this report translates into real budgetary savings, local job creation and small business growth.”

Some of survey’s key findings include:

  • The three top uses of EECBG dollars by cities were energy retrofits of government buildings (83 percent of cities), LED/other energy-efficient street lighting (42 percent), and solar energy systems on public buildings and facilities (31 percent).
  • Most mayors directed a majority of their EECBG funds to investments in municipal projects and operations. Nearly seven in eight mayors (87%) expended a majority of their EECBG grant dollars on municipal projects and operations.
  • LED/other energy-efficient lighting ranked first among energy technologies that have already been deployed by cities, with local and federal resources, most notably EECBG grants, providing the primary sources of funding for these deployments.
  • The availability of EECBG funds to cities has influenced city budgetary priorities, and also prompted new partnerships with a range of private sector and governmental entities.
  • A majority of mayors cited energy service contracting as the innovative energy financing strategy that EECBG funds helped most often.

Of the report’s findings, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, who Co-Chairs the Conference’s Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force noted, “Even as mayors were confronting budget constraints due to the recession and federal spending cuts, this report shows that cities leveraged EECBG dollars by making investments that are still paying dividends today. In my city, we are reducing electricity usage and making solid waste and sewage sludge operations more efficient. So, clearly, this modest federal commitment has bolstered mayors’ efforts to advance energy efficiency, conservation and technology deployment initiatives in their cities.” Continue reading

Cali Drought Intensifies, Climate Action Calls Heat Up

As California battles the worst drought the state has seen in centuries, calls for climate action are heating up. During the U.S. Climate Leadership Conference taking place this week in San Diego, California, more than a dozen businesses including Apple, SolarCity, San Diego International Airport, Sapphire Energy and Sungevity signed the Climate Declaration. The declaration urges federal and state policymakers to “seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change”.

Launched last year by Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy organization, and its business network, Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), the Climate Declaration has more than 700 signatories nationwide. The California signatories have added their own special message to the declaration for Washington:

Ceres_BICEPDeclaration_Ad_CA_022414_1“As the world’s 8th largest economy, California is a champion of clean energy progress and innovation,” states the declaration. “Thanks in part to its smart energy policies including its landmark climate law, AB32, California has been a global leader in job creation, clean energy investments and GDP growth.”

In 2012, California supported more than 43,700 jobs in the solar industry (one-third of all solar jobs in the U.S.) and more than 7,000 jobs in the wind industry. In 2013, the state doubled its solar rooftop installations, from 1,000 megawatts to 2,000 megawatts. It also ranks 48th in the country in per capita energy consumption, due in part to the state’s strong energy efficiency programs.

“The 140 plus California companies which have signed the Climate Declaration see the financial upside of tackling climate change today, both for their own bottom lines and the overall economy,” said Anne Kelly, director of policy and BICEP at Ceres. “We welcome them, invite others to come on board and applaud the state of California for its bold steadfast leadership on climate and energy policy.”

Among those is Sungevity, a Bay-Area based solar provider whose workforce has grown from four to about 400 since 2007. The company has operations in nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Europe and Australia, and its global network of customers has offset over 100 million pounds of carbon emissions to date.

“Actively addressing climate change is the biggest economic opportunity of our time,” said Danny Kennedy, co-founder of Sungevity and author of Rooftop Revolution, How to Save Our Economy – and Our Planet – from Dirty Energy. “Sungevity’s rapid growth is proof positive that the solar service sector can spur the economy with high-paying jobs that cannot be easily off-shored, particularly in sales, service and maintenance.”

Beyond signing the declaration, or taking their own steps to become more sustainable, many of the company signatories are engaging further with policy makers. Seventy percent of the major company signatories (those with over $100 million in annual revenues) have expressed their views on the need for climate policy by lobbying on Capitol Hill, sending a letter, and/or engaging with the public through social media.

GRFA: Biofuels Must Be a Priority

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is kicking off and this week the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) called on attendees to make increasing global biofuels use a top priority. During the week, global leaders will address the energy and sustainability challenges of the future. In addition, the World Future Energy Summit is also taking place.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and it’s complement of events is the ideal setting for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Weekattendees to endorse expanding biofuels strategies because they create much needed rural jobs, significantly curb green house gas emissions and reduce our reliance on crude oil,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA.

Baker continued, “Attendees of the IRENA Renewable Energy Jobs Conference must endorse expanding the global biofuels industry because it is a bright spot in the world economy, contributing billions of dollars to output and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs now and in the future.”

According to the GRFA, global biofuels production today is making a significant contribution to the global economy, having contributed $277.3 billion and supported nearly 1.4 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy in 2010. By 2020 the global biofuel industry is forecasted to grow to support over 2.2 million jobs in all sectors of the global economy.

“Attendees of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the IRENA Meeting also need to recognize that biofuels are the only real feasible option available to reduce emissions in the transportation sector immediately,” said Baker.

In 2013, the International Energy Agency’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress report stated that biofuels will have to play an increased role in order to reduce Green House Gases (GHG) as part of their Climate Change Scenario by 2020. According to the GRFA, in 2013, an estimated 85 billion litres of ethanol were produced which is estimated to have reduced GHG emissions by over 100 million tonnes, the equivalent of removing 20 million cars off the road.

“How can we not expand the global biofuels industry? Last year’s global ethanol production alone reduced GHG emissions equal to removing all the cars registered in Portugal and the Netherlands from the road,” added Baker.

He concluded, “It’s clear, that with all the positive economic and environmental benefits of biofuels, attendees of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s events must commit to globally increasing biofuels use so they have a greater share of the future global energy mix,” concluded Baker.

Radio Disney Dumps Dirty Energy Road Show

Climate Parents has announced that after more than 100,000 people signed petitions the organization began, Radio Disney announced it will withdraw from a controversial program that promotes fossil fuel extraction to school-age children in Ohio. Climate Parents is a national organization comprised of parents taking action on climate change.

“We are pleased that Disney responded to our request to stop promoting oil and gas extraction to kids in Ohio,” said Lisa Hoyos, Founder and Director of Climate Parents. OOGEEP_FB1However, Disney engages schools all over the country on energy education, and we remain deeply concerned that the company has no policy in place prevent this from happening again.”

Climate Parents worked closely with their partners at CREDO Action, who helped gather more than 80,000 petition signatures on Credo In addition to working with CREDO Mobilize, Climate Parents also hosted petitions on and to gather more than 100,000 signatures and generate hundreds of social media posts.

“There’s no place for fracking in the Magic Kingdom,” said said Zack Malitz, CREDO’s Campaign Manager. “Disney has done the right thing by refusing to use its brand to promote dirty energy, and it needs to go further say it will never again partner with oil and gas industry groups to produce Disney-themed dirty energy propaganda for children.”

The program Climate Parents was opposed to was called “Rocking in Ohio,” a road show the Ohio Oil and Gas Association created in partnership with Radio Disney. The program engaged school kids in a “game show” type activities that celebrated oil and gas extraction.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Hoyos. “People from all over the country have spoken out against Radio Disney’s promotion of dirty energy in Ohio. But until Disney takes that commitment nationwide, we will continue to mobilize parents and families to ensure that Disney only promotes kid-safe, climate-safe energy.”

EU to Miss Its Climate Objectives

According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), the European Commission’s “EU Energy, Transport and GHG Emissions Trends to 2050,” published during the holiday shows that on the basis of current policies the European Union (EU) will fail to meet is 2050 commitment of 80 percent to 90 percent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions.

The European Commission’s latest reference scenario, based on current trends and adopted policies, shows that EU GHG emissions would fall by 24 percent in 2020, but by EU Trends to 2050just 44 percent in 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), with energy import dependency increasing during the period to almost 57 percent.

“With the EU’s power sector expected to be still pumping out almost 400 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050, and the EU in an even worse energy security situation, an ambitious 2030 climate and energy framework, with targets for renewable energy and GHG reductions, is more critical than ever. Without such targets energy security and a zero-carbon power sector will be impossible,” said Justin Wilkes, EWEA’s Deputy CEO.

The scenario shows that even under current trends and policies, more wind power capacity will be installed over the next 20 years than any other generating technology – accounting for 37 percent of new installations – with the result that wind energy will be the leading generating technology in Europe by 2040.

“The European Commission’s scenario highlights a positive medium- and long-term outlook for the wind industry. However, a sharp decline in new installations of wind power from 2021 onwards of 27% highlights the vital importance of a long-term stable regulatory framework for the sector, underpinned by a 2030 renewable energy target,” continued Wilkes.

In the European Commission’s scenario, wind and other renewables together account for 59 percent of all new electricity generating installations over the 20 year period to 2035.

Denmark Awarded for Climate Achievements

Denmark has received the “Gift to the Earth” from WWF, for their climate achievements and its commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy across the economy by 2050. Jim Leape, WWF International Director General, will present the report to the Prime Minister of Denmark, Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt on October 21, 2013.

“Denmark shows that it is possible to develop a sustainable society and at the same time secure economic growth and welfare. It is the lighthouse we need to show that change is possible. Hopefully other countries will look toward Denmark for inspiration to rise to the urgent challenge of protecting the Earth’s climate. As a global conservation organization, WWF recognizes Danish leadership on this important matter,” said Leape.

WWF The Energy Report coverWWF says in The Energy Report, 100% Renewable Energy by 2050, that the world must develop an equitable low carbon economy by 2050, an achievable goal. However, WWF says the world is not reacting quickly enough.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just re-confirmed in their latest report that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate. The report shows these temperature changes are already having serious consequences for people and nature and recommends more than two thirds of presently existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to address climate change. In addition, major investors – including governments – must shift their focus to enabling renewable energy and phasing out investment in fossil fuels, especially coal.

“We know that the world’s current economic growth model is no longer sustainable. Denmark is demonstrating strong leadership by showing the potential for long-term sustainable growth through the development of renewable energy and energy efficient solutions,” added Leape.

Gitte Seeberg, WWF-Denmark CEO, is proud to promote Denmark as a global example of how the climate challenge can be addressed. “Since the oil crisis in the 1970s the Danish Parliament has had a strong and long tradition of cooperating on renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. We are thrilled that the present government and Parliament has taken even further ambitious steps to bring Denmark on the safe road towards a 100% renewable society in 2050.”

2013 Solar Decathlon Underway in Cali

2013 solar Decathalon2The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2013 has kicked off in Irvine, California and on display are solar houses designed and built by more than 1,000 college students from around the country. The best houses are one that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive and easy to live in.

“These inspiring collegiate teams show our onsite visitors and online Solar Decathlon audience around the world how efficient building design and clean energy products available today can help families and businesses save money by saving energy,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “The event provides student competitors with unique real-world training to become the clean energy workforce of the future and helps ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global race for clean energy.”

In addition to educating the public about money-saving and energy-saving opportunities currently available the competition engages students from across the nation and around the world to develop the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of architects, engineers and clean energy entrepreneurs. DOE says over the last decade, the competition has prepared approximately 17,000 students to become future innovators in clean energy technologies and efficient building designs that cut carbon pollution and help slow the effects of climate change to leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. The Solar Decathlon also supports the Obama Administration’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy economy while saving families and businesses money.

Student teams in the 2013 competition span two continents, including teams from the United States, Canada, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Between October 3-13, 2013, the teams will compete in 10 contests that gauge each house’s performance, livability, and affordability, rewarding teams that build houses with estimated costs at or below $250,000. The teams will have to perform a variety of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, to test the livability and energy use of their houses. The winner of the overall competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Continue reading

Climate Hearing Sparks Frenzied Debate

This week the Energy and Power subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee heard testimony from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy about the President’s climate plan. This past June, President Obama unveiled his new action plan for climate change. Many of the opponents of the plan are criticizing the proposed regulations from EPA for new and existing power plants, which they argue will increase costs for consumers and send jobs overseas but haven’t put forth alternative solutions.

Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby said the time dedicated to the hearing would be better spend talking about effective alternatives to Obama’s plan. “We April in DCunderstand that conservatives object to the use of EPA regulations to curb greenhouse gases,” he said. “If that’s the case, and given the rapidly closing window for action on climate change, they should be talking about a market-based alternative, such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax.”

Citizens Climate Lobby proposes a steadily-rising carbon tax and returning proceeds to the public to offset increased energy costs. A number of conservatives have expressed support for this approach and Reynolds said they should be called to testify at the next hearing.

“I’m grateful that Chairman Ed Whitfield convened today’s hearing, and I hope there are more to come in the near future,” continued Reynolds. “Having held a hearing to critique the President’s plan, the next hearing should focus on solutions.”

Among them, Art Laffer, former Reagan economic adviser said, “Reduce taxes on something we want more of–income–and tax something we arguably want less of–carbon pollution. It’s a win-win.”

While Greg Mankiw, economic advisor to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney commented, “A proposed carbon fee — or carbon tax, if you prefer — is more effective and less invasive than the regulatory approach that the federal government has traditionally pursued.”

Reynolds concluded, “It’s easy to sit and complain that the President is trying to circumvent Congress. Congress, however, has failed to protect our nation from the risk of climate change. It’s time to stop complaining and take action.”

20 Climate Change Steps for DOE

Peer-Reviewed-Articles-Dr-James-L-Powell-756-by-506The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change recently released a white paper recommending 20 steps the Department of Energy (DOE) should take in carrying out the President’s Climate Action Plan. The recommendations include strengthening specific energy efficiency standards, accelerating the development and deployment of low-carbon energy technologies, expanding the use of energy savings performance contracts to save energy at federal facilities, encouraging reforms in state building codes and utility rate structures, maximizing the contribution of power marketing administrations, and analyzing the climate change impacts of liquefied natural gas exports.

“This report provides a roadmap for the Department of Energy as it implements President Obama’s climate change plan,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “The steps we outline would accelerate the development of clean, renewable energy; improve energy efficiency; and reduce dangerous carbon pollution. I look forward to working with Secretary Moniz as DOE ramps up its work to address this serious threat.”

The report is based on feedback by more than 200 groups ranging from efficiency advocates to Fortune 500 companies to environmental organizations to electric utilities. In addition, DOE officials and academics also provided input.

Keeping in mind the “financial” crisis of the federal government, page 11 of the report notes that while Congress seems unlikely to act to support additional loan guarantees, DOE currently has $2.3 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy loan guarantees as well as $4 billion in loan guarantee authority that it can use for projects of any type.

“Congress should act to support additional loan guarantees, but there is little
prospect that Congress will do so in the near term . . . “We recommend that DOE support innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to the full extent of DOE’s remaining authority. Providing loan guarantees for worthy projects of these types would be a concrete step towards reaching the President’s goal of once again doubling renewable electricity generation from wind, solar, and geothermal resources by 2020.”

Vital Signs: Volume 20 Released

The Worldwatch Institute has released Vital Signs: Volume 20, the latest compilation from the Vital Signs project. The report finds that in 2012, global oil consumption reached an all-time high and physical water scarcity affected nearly 1.2 billion people. The Vital Signs report provides insight on many of the most critical global concern and provides data and analysis on significant global trends such as fossil fuel subsidies, agricultural commodities and rapid urbanization in the developing world.

Worldwatch Institute Logo,jpg“Our recent economic systems and theories are programmed to squeeze ever more resources from a planet in distress,” said Michael Renner, Worldwatch senior researcher and director of the Vital Signs project. “A mixture of population growth, consumerism, greed and short-term thinking by policymakers and business people seems to be inexorably driving human civilization toward a showdown with the planet’s limits.”

Some of the trends are positive. For example, within the agriculture sector, efficient irrigation methods have increased more than sixfold over the last two decades. In addition, socially sustainable ways of doing business continue to emerge.

“There is no shortage of alternatives to change the destructive trajectory that humanity finds itself on,” continued Renner. “Renewables and efficient irrigation are two practical options among many others. But we need to get serious about these tasks instead of consigning them largely to the margins.”

EU Votes to Cap Biofuel “Food” Feedstock Use

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.58.19 PMThis week the European Parliament Environment Committee voted for the European Union (EU) to cap the amount of food used as biofuels at 5.5 percent. Groups opposed to the measure want to see an end to biofuels created from “food” crops. The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive requires EU member states to use 10 percent of the road transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020. Historically, the mandate has been met with feedstocks also used to produce food (corn, wheat, soy).

The first generation cap on “agri-fuels” is an attempt to help the country transition to advanced biofuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from indirect land use change (ILUC).

“I nonetheless think that the industry must be given time to adapt, and I shall propose a compromise to this end in plenary session,” said rapporteur Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR) after the vote. Her first-reading report was approved by 43 votes to 26, with one abstention.

“While today’s vote for a 5.5 percent cap is better than no cap, it still means that people in the United Kingdom and Europe will put food in their cars that could have fed tens of millions of people. This is not acceptable at a time when 1 in 8 people go hungry globally,” said Anders Dahlbeck, Head of Policy at ActionAid UK.

EU Parliment copyThe EU is revising its biofuels policies and this week MEPs on the Environment committee voted on proposed amendments that will not have to be accepted or rejected by the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg in September. After that, the European Parliament will have to negotiate with the European Council (made up of EU governments) before a final revision to biofuels policies can be implemented. Continue reading

Small Biz Gives Thumbs up for Climate Plan

There have been several polls conducted in the wake of President Obama’s new plan to fight climate change. This week, a poll focused on small business owners shows that ASBC logoregardless of party affiliation, they support safe, cleaner, more efficient and renewable energy. The poll was commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and asked a range of energy and environment questions.

“Large majorities of small business owners want the country to develop energy that is clean and renewable,” said Richard Eidlin, Director of Public Policy for ASBC. “Whether Republican, Democratic or Independent, they want the government to promote energy efficiency and clean technologies and they don’t want our tax dollars to continue subsidizing coal, oil and gas.”

The poll, conducted by Lake Research, gauged opinions on several policy issues currently under consideration in states and in Washington, DC. Of the business owners surveyed, 47 percent were Republicans, 27 percent Democrats and 14 percent Independents. Key findings from the survey included:

  • ASB Council Poll79% of small business owners support increasing energy efficiency by 50% over next ten years.
  • 72% of small business owners think incentives for clean energy are a priority.
  • 63% of small business owners support EPA efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions of power plants.
  • 62% of small business owners oppose continuing subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies.
  • 63% of small business owners support a national renewable energy standard.
  • 57% of small business owners want banks and other investors to include environmental benefits in business investment decisions.
  • 80% of small business owners support requiring disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Confirming the poll results, Susan Labandibar, President of TechNetworks of Boston said, “Reducing the use of fossil fuels would benefit all businesses, but especially small businesses that are most affected by damage from severe weather. It makes sense that opinion polls would show that small businesses owners want the government to set and enforce standards for safer, cleaner energy sources. They understand that reducing fossil fuel pollution and boosting clean energy will help small businesses and assure economic stability over the long term.”