Despite the new administration’s efforts to rollback Obama Era environmental regulations, most businesses in the U.S. are maintaining their commitments to sustainability. According to Lucid’s 2017 Sustainability Outlook Report, only 5% of private companies surveyed expect to decrease their commitment to sustainability programs in 2017, while 74% expect no change and 21% expect an increase in their commitments. Growing concern about climate change have presented companies with the opportunity to lead the way by increasing their sustainability efforts. Major companies are taking the threat of climate change more seriously, and already are developing solutions to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
President Trump is spearheading a government-wide roll back of Obama Era climate initiatives. The president and his EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, have delivered a one-two punch. They both have denied the impact of human activity on climate change, while seeking to resurrect the moribund fossil fuel sector. In March 2017, the President issued a wide-ranging “Energy Independence” Executive Order requiring review and reconsideration of any rule that might burden development of domestic energy sources, particularly oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy. After much drama, in June 2017, President Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (“Accord”). Moreover, in seeking to implement the new Administration’s energy independence strategy, government departments and agencies are pursuing delay or repeal of regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas (“GHG’) emissions, most notably EPA’s targeting for elimination the Clean Power Plan rule (“CPP”).
Despite the currently low prices of oil and natural gas, renewable electric power generation is poised for rapid growth. Based on a “business-as-usual” scenario, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook, June 2015 predicted a $6.9 trillion investment in new renewable electric power generation over the next 25 years. A newly published report by Ceres, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and Ken Locklin, Managing Director for Impax Asset Management LLC, predicts a much greater opportunity for private sector companies and commercial financiers to invest in new renewable energy.
Topics: Carbon Emissions, Biomass, Solar Energy, Renewable Energy, COP21, ITC, Energy Investment, Investment Tax Credit, renewable energy investment, PTC, carbon tax, Wind Energy, Climate change, Ceres, United Nations, UNFCCC, production tax credit, cap-and-trade, renewable portfolio standard, feed-in-tariff, COP22, carbon pricing
Co-authors Jeffrey M. Karp and Morgan M. Gerard
Topics: Renewable Energy, United States Supreme Court, Investment Tax Credit, clean power plan, renewable energy investment, clean power plan delay, united states energy policy, Climate change, Clean Air Act, scotus, clean power plan stay
On January 21, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) won an initial victory as the D.C. Circuit refused to grant opponents a stay of the Clean Power Plan (CPP or Rule).
The Rule, promulgated pursuant to section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), limits carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel fired electric generating plants (generating units). The CPP’s goal is to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and each state is provided an emissions reduction target. Qualifying state emissions reductions under the Rule generally prompt the retirement of coal plants and the greater adoption of natural gas and renewable resources. States must submit their implementation plans (SIP) in 2016 demonstrating that they will achieve the requisite emissions reduction by 2022, or request a two-year extension. However, if a state fails to submit an adequate implementation plan by the 2016 due date or request an extension for plan development until 2018, U.S. EPA will assign a federal implementation plan (FIP) that will enable that state to meet its emissions reduction target.
Topics: Carbon Emissions, CPP, Clean Power, clean power plan, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, State of West Virginia v. EPA, EPA Victory, West Virginia, Stay of the Rule, Climate change, Clean Air Act, Section 111(d), Global Warming, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Stay
Food waste is a major problem in the US. Studies show that around 40% of all food produced in the US gets wasted at some point in the food chain. According to the EPA, food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste sent to landfills, accounting for 18% of their waste stream. Left to decompose in landfills, food waste creates methane gas, a lethal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and global warming. EPA has found that, pound for pound, the comparative impact of methane gas on climate change is more than 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.
Topics: Biomass, university renewable energy, university sustainability, Methane, biogas, waste disposal, Energy Project Finance, Green Energy, biodigestor, food waste, waste to energy, Green house gas, Project Finance, College campus, Trayless Dining, Composting, energy, Energy Project, biodigester, university energy, clean energy, Climate change, College