Sustainability Reads: May 5- May 11

Another exciting week in the world of sustainability! If you haven’t done so, check out our post on the National Climate Assessment that was released this week. In other stories:

Support builds for global carbon price at Abu Dhabi Ascent
At the Abu Dhabi Ascent this week, various leaders took a stand demanding that a “polluter pays” principle be implemented across the global economy. Proponents for a global carbon price include World Bank Group vice president Rachel Kyte and Al Gore who claimed that putting “a price on carbon in markets and put a price on denial in politics.” Kyte also acknowledged that a carbon price can provide “a necessary signal for investment in low-carbon and resilient growth and, regardless of the mechanism used, should be part of any package of policies to scale up mitigation.” Accordng to the World Bank, over 40 national and 20 subnational governments have adopted carbon pricing schemes, account for 22% of global emissions. By Sophie Yeo at RTCC.org.

California Climate Tax is Reducing Electricity Bills
California residents now receive a California Climate Credit reducing their electricity bills in April and October and small business receive one every month. Credit funded by income from auctions of carbon credits as part of California’s cap and trade system. Plan was for consumers to use extra money for energy efficiency measures, but the author of this article states that the marketing material didn’t inform/encourage people enough to make such investments in energy efficiency such as buying higher efficiency light bulbs or window shades for western facing windows. Author suggests that an even better marketing outreach campaign would have been to have promotional coupons in the electric bills that could be redeemed with retailers and service providers that were willing to offer a special lower price on energy efficiency products/services tied to utility customers investing their Climate Credit into energy efficiency. Article provides a great economic recap on why cap and trade systems are the way to go. By Bill Roth on Triple Pundit.

New research: fracking won’t ensure greenhouse gas emissions reduction
A recent study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology outlines various alarming discoveries: first, that the development of shale gas has led to an increase in overall energy use and second that the development will lead to little or no greenhouse gas emission reductions. The natural gas that is obtained from fracking is cheap and keeps energy prices down but it is also an energy-intensive process, often leaking methane in the procedure. Article by Ilaria Bertini at Blue & Green Tomorrow.

Obama lays out plan to boost solar energy and energy efficiency
Great summary of the most recent announcements from the administration on addressing climate change. By Ben Adler on Grist.org:

  • Train more solar industry workers. The Department of Energy will expand the Solar Instructor Training Network that has trained more than 22,000 people at nearly 400 community colleges since 2010. The aim is to train an additional 50,000 workers by 2020.
  • Streamline solar financing within the federal government. The General Services Administration is bringing together federal agencies to share procurement and project management resources to make it less expensive for agencies to develop solar energy projects.
  • Give clear guidance to the private sector. The Treasury Department and IRS will clarify investment rules related to renewable energy installations.
  • Make federal buildings more efficient. Invest $2 billion in efficiency upgrades over the next three years, on top of $2 billion pledged in 2011.
  • Increase use of high-efficiency outdoor lighting. DOE will replace more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles.
  • Set stronger efficiency standards for commercial appliances. DOE will soon unveil new standards for electric motors, which are widely used in manufacturing, and walk-in coolers and freezers, like those in supermarkets.
  • Strengthen building codes. The new code for commercial buildings will require 8.5 percent energy savings over the previous code.
  • Improve efficiency in affordable housing. Fannie Mae and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will expand the Green Preservation Plus program so it can help to preserve affordable housing through loans to invest in energy savings.

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