Van Jones on solving the greatest social and climate challenges

December 11, 2017 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: The author and former White House green jobs czar on equity and sustainability.

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Van Jones on solving the greatest social and climate challenges

The Power of Business Advocacy to Accelerate a Clean Economy

October 2, 2017 by  
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How does public policy determine clean economy business outcomes?  Why is it imperative for business leaders to leverage their market power to truly accelerate clean energy, climate and sustainability innovations at the policymaking level — especially under this challenging federal administration? A Congressman, Google’s head of energy policy and market development, and a former White House Chief Sustainability Officer turned renewable energy finance entrepreneur share their stories and insights on the way forward.

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The Power of Business Advocacy to Accelerate a Clean Economy

Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

May 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is still trying to take a swing at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The White House’s most recent budget proposal, released yesterday, would cut money for environmental cleanup, clean air , and water programs. And thousands of people could lose their jobs as the number of full-time employees drops from 15,416 to 11,611 . The recent Trump budget proposal lowers EPA funding to $5.65 billion. If that still sounds like a hefty sum, consider what the EPA won’t be able to do with this slashed budget: restore areas like the Great Lakes and Puget Sound and run a lead risk-reduction program. They also won’t have as much money for climate change research, environmental justice efforts, or radon detection programs. The White House proposal also just about halves categorical grants which help states and local areas address water and air quality. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stood behind Trump’s drastic cuts; the agency put out a statement praising the returned “focus to core statutory mission,” which we guess means dirty air and polluted water for all. Pruitt even decided to say Trump’s “budget respects the American taxpayer.” This praise comes even though the proposed budget would reduce funding for Pruitt’s Superfund cleanup program – which he’s listed as a priority – by almost one third. Toxic accidents or industrial activity have polluted these Superfund sites, many of which, according to The Guardian , are close to low-income or minority communities. National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director S. William Becker said he was astounded the administration didn’t change much from their initial March budget proposal, even after bipartisan opposition from Congress. Lawmakers recently reached a deal for government funding through September that cuts the EPA’s budget by around one percent. In a statement on the recent proposal, Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said, “This isn’t a budget – it’s a road map for the President, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and polluters to see that millions of Americans drink dirtier water, breathe more polluted air, and don’t have enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.” Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

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Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

March 31, 2017 by  
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When a fossil fuel company under fire for covering up past knowledge of climate change exhorts the President of the United States to stay in the 2015 Paris agreement , something’s not quite right. ExxonMobil manager of environmental policy and planning Peter Trelenberg wrote a letter to the White House earlier this month reiterating ExxonMobil’s position on the deal. He made it clear ExxonMobil thinks President Donald Trump should not pull out of the historic, hard-fought agreement. On the campaign trail Trump promised to yank the United States out of the Paris agreement. But so far the White House hasn’t taken that step, even in a recent environmentally devastating executive order . Meanwhile Trump’s new Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson , has said in the past the president is wrong about climate change , and perhaps could have now persuaded Trump to stick with the deal. Related: Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change On March 22, Trelenberg wrote to G. David Banks, Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment, thanking Banks for a recent inquiry on the oil and gas giant’s views regarding the agreement. Trelenberg said ExxonMobil welcomed the agreement both in December 2015, when it was announced at COP21 , and in November 2016 when it went into force. Don’t get too excited – Trelenberg didn’t write off fossil fuels altogether. He said, “We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris Agreement, with abundant low-carbon resources such as natural gas , and innovative private industries, including the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors.” Trelenberg said natural gas is the “cleanest-burning and least carbon-intensive fossil fuel” that has helped American attain 20-year lows in carbon dioxide emissions . He did point out ExxonMobil has invested $7 billion in lower emission fuels – such as biofuels made from algae – for around 15 years, and ended his letter with a final call to stay in the Paris agreement. The irony of the ExxonMobil letter prompted Senator Bernie Sanders to tweet : “It is pathetic that the largest oil company in the world understands more about climate change than the president of the United States.” Via The Independent Images via Roy Luck on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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ExxonMobil exhorts White House to keep Paris agreement

Trumps EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children

March 31, 2017 by  
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As part of the Trump administration’s current war to overthrow Obama-era environmental regulations, this week, newly appointed EPA Chief Scott Pruitt signed an order reversing a recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is sprayed on tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples, citrus, and a number of other common crops. In recent years, researchers have found that chlorpyrifos exposure on foods, in drinking water, and in the air can impair cognitive development in children. (Given that the active chemical is related to nerve agent weapons, perhaps this should not be surprising.) Multiple studies have found that children exposed to the pesticide at high levels have lower IQ scores than their peers. In light of the evidence, much of it gathered by the EPA’s own researchers, the agency adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for any residues of the chemical left on food items in 2015. Since it’s impossible to completely remove the chemical, this would have effectively ended its use in the US. This followed a decade of restrictions that have gradually reduced the number of approved crops and circumstances for its use. Despite the risk, it’s still used widely in other countries. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming Now, Scott Pruitt is ignoring his own agency’s research in order to allow farmers to continue using this toxic pesticide. Of course, that’s not the way he’s spinning it – if you ask him, it’s a win for the scientific process. In a statement about the order, he said, “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.” The Natural Resources Defense Council has already pledged to fight the new action in court. Via LA Times Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Trumps EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children

President-elect Trump should heed these state mandates

November 9, 2016 by  
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As the climate denier heads for the White House, here’s how other energy and environmental ballot measures fared Tuesday.

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President-elect Trump should heed these state mandates

President Obama and Leonardio DiCaprio will meet at the White House to talk climate change

September 30, 2016 by  
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On Monday, October 3, President Obama will meet with Leonardo DiCaprio at a festival on the White House lawn to talk about taking on climate change. The South by South Lawn (SXSL) event will focus on “ideas, art, and action” for making positive change, including discussion with climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and the US premiere of DiCaprio’s documentary Before the Flood . Inspired by Austin’s SXSW festival, SXSL brings together creativity and entrepreneurship for the purpose of finding solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. Hosted on the White House’s South Lawn, the event will be live-streamed for all to see. The main event will be a discussion between President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio regarding “the importance of protecting the one planet we’ve got for future generations.” The actor-turned-environmentalist will premiere his National Geographic documentary Before the Flood for the first time in front of a US audience, which follows his journey a U.N. Ambassador of Peace raising international awareness of global warming . Related: Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace SXSL will also feature engaging panel discussions on problem-solving technology, sustainable food choices, and the role of everyday citizens in affecting global change. Music will be performed by The Lumineers, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, and DJ Beverly Bond. A student film festival, interactive art exhibits, and food will also be a part of the event, as well as appearances from members of the Stranger Things cast. Mark your calendars. +SXSL Via Entertainment Weekly Images via Twitter , White House

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President Obama and Leonardio DiCaprio will meet at the White House to talk climate change

Obama targets 1 gigawatt of solar for lower income homes by 2020

July 22, 2016 by  
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The Obama Administration wants to make solar energy available to every American regardless of income. In that spirit, the White House just announced a partnership with six federal agencies – the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative – to bring 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020. The goal is a tenfold increase over the president’s initial target set in his Climate Action Plan , which called for 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=141&v=uYhzg6XTOjY “Solar panels are no longer for wealthy folks who live where the sun shines every day. They are already a reality for Americans and communities all across the country,” Obama said in a video statement . “Today we’re offering even more families and communities the chance to choose cleaner sources of energy that save you money and protect the planet for all of us.” Related: Average cost of solar and wind energy could fall by 59% in the next decade The initiative involves the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To achieve the administration’s 1 GW goal, the government plans to make it easier for homeowners to take advantage of the Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program that allows homeowners and veterans the opportunity to install solar panels and make energy efficiency improvements at no up-front cost, paying for solar and energy efficiency retrofits through future savings on energy bills. According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the initiative includes more than 120 new solar and energy efficiency commitments from the private, state, local and philanthropic sectors in 36 states. The commitments represent $287 million in investment and nearly 280 MW of community solar and low-and moderate income solar deployment. The White House said that the United States generates 30 times more solar power than eight years ago before the president took office and that the cost of solar energy systems has been reduced by more than 70 percent. The administration also said that the solar industry is adding jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has a plan to increase American solar power 700 percent by 2027. Clinton wants to deploy half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term and enough clean energy to provide electricity to every home in the United States within 10 years. Her opponent in the general election, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has shown a preference for fossil fuels over clean energy. Trump recently tapped a fossil fuels advocate as his energy adviser and is considering appointing someone from the fracking industry to be the nation’s next energy secretary. Via SeeNews Renewables Lead image via Wikipedia

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Obama targets 1 gigawatt of solar for lower income homes by 2020

US Surgeon General compares climate change to the 20th century polio epidemic

April 5, 2016 by  
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In an effort to convey the severity of climate change , the White House released a new report that highlights its potential negative impact on human health. Around 100 experts from eight different government agencies including NASA, the EPA, and NOAA contributed to the document. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warns that the effects of shifting weather patterns could be an even tougher challenge to combat than the early 20th century polio epidemic . Read the rest of US Surgeon General compares climate change to the 20th century polio epidemic

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US Surgeon General compares climate change to the 20th century polio epidemic

Kengo Kuma converts a Chinese cotton mill into an aluminum-clad art and retail hub

April 5, 2016 by  
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