New SEC rule could require companies to share climate stats

March 22, 2022 by  
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The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule on Monday that would require companies to explain how climate risks could affect their finances in public filings they submit to the SEC. If passed, this rule would be a new step toward  climate  accountability and transparency. Companies are required to submit info to the SEC on their revenues and profitability. But in the past, they haven’t been required to disclose climate risks in their annual reports. Those that already do, do so voluntarily. Policymakers have called climate-related disclosures inconsistent and unreliable. Related: Reports detail Canadian oil company’s crimes in Africa An especially interesting part of the proposed rule would require companies to disclose the volume of carbon  emissions  directly stemming from their operations. Plus, they’d have to fess up to emissions from the electricity they’re using. These are called scope 1 and 2 emissions. The rule would also require some reporting on scope 3 emissions, a more indirect category charting effects from the use of products sold by the companies. This third category is the most controversial. Many businesses want the SEC to exclude scope 3 emissions, claiming purchased goods are outside a company’s control. “Companies and investors alike would benefit from the clear rules of the road proposed in this release,” said SEC chairperson Gary Gensler, as reported by Grist. “I believe the SEC has a role to play when there’s this level of demand for consistent and comparable information that may affect  financial  performance. Today’s proposal thus is driven by the needs of investors and issuers.” People have 60 days to get their comments to the SEC. After the comment period, the agency will consider and perhaps revise the rule. Staring climate change stats in the face could have a similar effect to when  restaurants  post calories. Once customers know that donut has 1,000 calories, how many people decide to get out of line and eat elsewhere? Via Grist Lead image via Pixabay

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New SEC rule could require companies to share climate stats

Turns out, many Americans actually do support climate action

November 23, 2021 by  
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Americans are open to new climate change policies as long as they offer environmental, social and economic benefits. This is according to social scientists Janet K. Swim and Nathaniel Geiger. According to the two, many Americans are willing to embrace positive climate change policies regardless of political affiliation. Swim, a professor of psychology at Penn State, and Geiger, assistant professor of communication at Indiana University, say that their studies sought to understand people’s opinions on climate issues. They found some climate policies to be more popular than others. In general, they observed that Americans are willing to accept policies that offer incentives, as opposed to policies that punish. Related: Australia’s climate policy ranks last out of 60 countries As they explain in Renewable Energy World, “For example, about one-third of the respondents thought the disincentives for individuals would have more social harms than benefits, while only about 10% thought the same for other policy options.” In two recent studies, the researchers sampled responses from over 265 participants, ranging from ages 18 to 80. The participants were diverse in terms of political affiliation. The researchers found that 87% of the respondents preferred policies that increase renewable energy over those that decrease energy use. At the same time, 77% of respondents also showed support for policies that require energy reduction. Many respondents also thought that policies that promote increased green energy production, such as solar and wind, were better than policies that require people to stop using air conditioning without providing an alternative. The researchers say they were surprised that respondents’ political affiliations did not have a big influence on their preferences. This is coming at a time when political leaders have been accused of polarizing their supporters against specific climate policies. This study helps shed some light on how policies can be framed for public appeal. Overall, the researchers say that while “it may not always make sense for politicians to promote climate policy with the greatest public support…changing policies to increase their positive social impact – a carbon tax that rebates the proceeds to citizens is an example – can help win public support.” Via Renewable Energy World Lead image via Pixabay

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Biden plans for 700% increase in community solar by 2025

October 13, 2021 by  
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The Biden administration has announced a new ambitious target of powering 5 million American homes with community solar power by 2025. This would require the current capacity to grow by 700% in the next four years. Although the target may seem unrealistic, experts say it is achievable. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a total of 3,253 MW-AC of community solar was installed by the end of 2020. This energy can serve up to 600,000 homes . Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement that achieving the new set targets would provide affordable energy for Americans. “Community solar is one of the most powerful tools we have to provide affordable solar energy to all American households, regardless of whether they own a home or have a roof suitable for solar panels,” Granholm said. “Achieving these ambitious targets will lead to meaningful energy cost savings, create jobs in these communities, and make our clean energy transition more equitable.” According to C.J. Colavito, vice president of engineering at Standard Solar and one of the leading proprietors of community solar projects in the U.S., the problem in the sector lies with policies. He argues that with proper policies , community-based solar can be developed past the target. For instance, he cites challenges in permitting, interconnection and subscriptions. According to Colavito, some projects take up to 24 months to get approved, a situation that is already delaying the start of many projects. Further, he points at the interconnection of projects as another problem that may take years to resolve. “Oftentimes, siting your system and getting interconnection can be the two most important items to get done before you even dive into the other challenges with community solar,” Colavito said. Currently, community solar projects exist in 21 states and the District of Colombia. According to the NREL, these projects are either state-required or pilot programs. Even so, the concentration of available solar projects in just a few states shows the policy disparities. States like Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts and New York lead the way due to helpful policies. If the Biden Administration reaches its targets, it would result in $1 billion in energy savings. Further, clean energy would create jobs while providing cheaper and sustainable energy for Americans. Via Renewable Energy World Lead image via Pexels

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COP 23 developments to watch

November 2, 2017 by  
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U.S. political leadership may be absent on climate, but there’s plenty for business to track ahead of the U.N. climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

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COP 23 developments to watch

GreenBiz reveals advisory board for Hawaii clean energy conference

November 1, 2017 by  
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23 thought leaders and key stakeholders to help guide VERGE Hawaii 2018 program.

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GreenBiz reveals advisory board for Hawaii clean energy conference

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

California becomes first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals

October 17, 2017 by  
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In a move which is being applauded by animal rights activists, California is officially the first state to ban puppy mills. The revised measure AB485 requires pet stores to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from animal shelters, rescue groups or adoption centers. The goal? To ensure better treatment of animals and to secure homes for some of the 1.5 million animals which are euthanized across the United States each year. On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation which will go into effect January 1, 2019. Stores could be fined up to $500 for the sale of an animal that is not a rescue . Before the measure was signed, 36 cities — including Los Angeles and San Francisco — passed similar bans on mass breeding operations. Related: South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade Supporters of the legislation include The Humane Society  and the  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (ASPCA). Both groups agree that the bill will ensure better treatment of animals, prevent unnecessary cruelty (which is prevalent among puppy mills) and promote more rescue adoptions. Not everyone is pleased with the development, however. Private pet store owners fear the puppy mill ban will hurt business and “limit consumer access to the most popular breeds,” reports Today . Animal rights activists argue that animal welfare is the number one priority and that the new mandate is a “win” for voiceless, defenseless pets . Supporters of California’s new law hope it will inspire other states to pass similar legislation. After all, puppy mills — from which 99 percent of pet store puppies are sourced — are notorious for being inhumane and unsanitary. As DoSomething reports, female dogs are bred at every opportunity, which exhausts them and results in premature deaths. Plus, puppies sourced from the facilities oftentimes have bleeding or swollen paws, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration , and lesions. These are but a few reasons puppy mills should be banned nationwide, and why animal lovers are celebrating California’s new law. Via Today , DoSomething Images via Pixabay

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It’s time to act on the Clean Power Plan

October 11, 2017 by  
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Don’t be derelict of duty by letting Washington blast away hard-won economic and environmental progress.

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It’s time to act on the Clean Power Plan

It’s time to act on the Clean Power Plan

October 11, 2017 by  
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Don’t be derelict of duty by letting Washington blast away hard-won economic and environmental progress.

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It’s time to act on the Clean Power Plan

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