Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy
Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.
Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.
This Earth Day, gather with your community for an Environmental & Climate Literacy Teach-In or another project focused on education. We are launching Earth Day and Teach-In toolkits that will lay out the steps for holding a successful event. Register your event with us and we will support you with promotion and advice.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s biggest beer maker, plans to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
The move will require shifting 6 terawatt-hours of electricity from fossil-fuel plants to wind, solar and other renewable sources, the Leuven, Belgium-based company said in a statement Tuesday. That’s almost enough to power all of Spain for a month.
The company’s announcement comes the same day U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to unravel rules to combat climate change, including cutting power-sector emissions. The timing was a coincidence, according to AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Alves De Brito. Fighting climate change with renewable energy is good for the bottom line, he said.
“This has no political connotations at all.” Brito said. “We just think this is good for our business and the environment.”
AB InBev plans to generate as much as 25 percent of its electricity itself, including by installing solar panels on its facilities. The company will buy the rest directly from wind and solar farms.
The plan includes an agreement to buy 490 gigawatt-hours annually from Iberdrola SA to power AB InBev’s facilities in Mexico. Iberdrola will build a 220-megawatt wind farm in the state of Puebla that will begin operations in 2019 to help supply the power.
WASHINGTON — President Trump, flanked by company executives and miners, signed a long-promised executive order on Tuesday to nullify President Barack Obama’s climate change efforts and revive the coal industry, effectively ceding American leadership in the international campaign to curb the dangerous heating of the planet.
Mr. Trump made clear that the United States had no intention of meeting the commitments that his predecessor had made to curb planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution, turning denials of climate change into national policy.
At a ceremony, Mr. Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agencyto start the complex and lengthy legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, frozen construction of new plants and replaced them with vast new wind and solar farms.
“C’mon, fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says?” Mr. Trump said to the miners. “You’re going back to work.”
Throughout the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to roll back Mr. Obama’s major climate change policies, a set of ambitious E.P.A. regulations to curb greenhouse pollution from coal-fired power plants. He made clear that American leadership in the global campaign against climate change would take a back seat to his commitment to energy industry jobs.
With his order to move forward with the rollback, climate diplomats around the world maneuvered to fill the vacuum left by the exit of the globe’s second-biggest climate polluter.
“There are countless countries ready to step up and deliver on their climate promises and take advantages of Mr. Trump’s short-termism to reap the benefits of the transition to the low-carbon economy,” said Laurence Tubiana, the chief French negotiator of the 2015 Paris agreement, the landmark accord that committed nearly every country to take action to reduce planet-warming emissions.
Over all, the goal of the Paris deal is to keep the planet from warming more than 3.6 degrees, the point at which scientists say the earth will be irrevocably locked into a future of severe droughts, floods, rising sea levels and food shortages.
Mr. Obama pledged that the United States would cut its emissions about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Carrying out the Clean Power Plan was essential to meeting that target.
“This is not the time for any country to change course on the very serious and very real threat of climate change,” said Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program. “The science tells us that we need bolder, more ambitious commitments.”
Mr. Trump has not yet decided whether to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement. But by rolling back the policies needed to meet American commitments, the United States essentially announced that it would not comply, whether the nation remains a signatory or not, experts said.
“One of the greatest concerns is what other key countries, including China, India and Brazil, will do when the U.S. reneges on the Paris agreement,” said Robert Stavins, a professor of environmental economics at Harvard, mentioning some of the world’s other largest carbon dioxide polluters.
“The worst-case scenario is that the Paris agreement will unravel,” Mr. Stavins said. “That would be a great tragedy.”
Diplomats from some of the world’s other major economies say they intend to continue carrying out their climate change agreements, with or without the United States. But the Trump administration’s moves are likely to embolden opponents of climate action around the world.
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At the heart of the Paris accord was a breakthrough 2014 agreement between Mr. Obama and China’s president, Xi Jinping, in which the leaders of the world’s two largest polluting countries agreed to enact policies to cut their emissions. At the time, Mr. Obama offered the Clean Power Plan as evidence that the United States would meet its target.
Their hard-won deal was seen as the catalyst to bring other countries to the table to forge the Paris pact. If Mr. Trump reneges on his predecessor’s commitment, it could further fray a relationship that has become more tenuous since his election.
“Getting to that point was not easy,” said Kelly Sims Gallagher, an expert on Chinese environmental policy at Tufts University who helped broker the Obama-Xi climate talks. “This undoes many years of work building up trust that the U.S. will honor the commitments it makes at the presidential level.”
Mr. Trump is tentatively scheduled to meet with Mr. Xi next week at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate.
Mr. Xi has signaled that he is prepared to move forward with his Paris pledge that China’s emissions will drop by or before 2030. Speaking at the Davos economic summit meeting in January, Mr. Xi said, “All signatories should stick to it instead of walking away from it, as this is a responsibility we must assume for future generations.”
But experts say that without action from the United States, China’s efforts to curb emissions may slow. “It may empower business and political interests within China that still opposed climate action,” said Alex L. Wang, a legal scholar of Chinese environmental policies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The same dynamic could play out in India, the world’s third-largest carbon dioxide polluter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked closely with Mr. Obama on climate change policies, but he did so against internal domestic pressures to prioritize economic development — including the provision of cheap coal-fired electricity to India’s rural poor.
Mr. Trump spoke with Mr. Modi by telephone on Tuesday, but aides declined to say if they discussed climate change.
Harsh V. Pant, a research fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in New Delhi, said Mr. Trump’s order would give the Indian government political space to delay some of its climate commitments.
“It will slow down a little bit,” he said.
Still, it remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s orders will fully vanquish Mr. Obama’s climate change legacy. Legal experts say it could take years for the E.P.A. administrator to carry out the process of withdrawing and revising the climate change regulations, and the process will be hit by legal challenges at every turn. A coalition of states, including New York and California, has already vowed to fight Mr. Trump.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York said he was preparing to challenge any effort to do away with regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Such a move, he argued, violated the Clean Air Act, as well as established case law.
“If they want to go back into the rule-making process, we believe they are compelled under law to come up with something close to the Clean Power Plan,” he said.
“They probably don’t want to hear this again,” he said, “but if they want to repeal, they have to replace.”
A new president and a new Congress are coming to town in the New Year and we need you to help brief the new decision makers on all the ways wind energy works for America.
On February 15 & 16, 2017, AWEA will hold its annual Wind Power on Capitol Hill event, the year’s biggest opportunity to visit Washington and meet your representatives in Congress.
During this two-day event you’ll have the opportunity to:
Participate in an advocacy boot camp where you’ll learn from the pros the most effective techniques for conducting meetings on the Hill, and fostering long-lasting relationships with your elected officials.
Put that training to work in face-to-face meetings with your elected officials and their staff.
Understand how federal and state policies affect the future of U.S. wind development.
Network with your colleagues in the industry and congressional staff at a reception on Capitol Hill and become empowered to make this event the springboard for your continued advocacy efforts.
Are you with us?
Your participation in Wind Power on Capitol Hill can make a huge difference in gaining support in Congress to keep American wind power growing.
Please join us. And please also consider inviting members of your supply chain, leaseholders, community members, as well as your family – we need their voices, too!
For questions about Wind Power on Capitol Hill 2017, please contact Nancy Sopko at email@example.com.
On the plains of West Texas, new wind farms can be built for just $22 a megawatt-hour. In the Arizona and Nevada deserts, solar projects are less than $40 a megawatt-hour. Compare those figures with the U.S. average lifetime cost of $52 for natural gas plants and about $65 for coal.
Environmental rules and government subsidies are no longer the key drivers for clean power. Economics are.
That’s why Donald Trump will have limited influence on the U.S. utility industry’s push toward renewable energy, according to executives and investors. Companies including NextEra Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and others that invest billions in power plants are already moving forward with long-term plans to generate electricity with cleaner and more economic alternatives.
“We said before the election that whoever is elected president, we would be continuing our efforts to go to a low-carbon fleet and also pursue renewables,” said Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke, the second-largest U.S. utility owner.
Wind and solar have been the two biggest sources of electricity added to U.S. grids since 2014 as utilities closed a record number of aging coal-fired generators. Trump has derided clean energy and assailed environmental regulations that hinder jobs, while pledging to revive the mining industry. In an interview Tuesday, Trump softened his view, telling the New York Times that he has an ‘‘open mind’’ on the Paris climate accord and noting that “there is some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.
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And it’s not just cost that makes clean energy attractive to utilities — it’s time. A solar farm can go up in months to meet incremental increases in utility demand; it takes years to permit, finance and build the giant boilers and exhaust systems that make up a coal plant, and they can last for a generation. A four-year presidential term is hardly a tick in that energy clock, and companies are already planning projects that will commence after Trump leaves office, even if he serves two terms.
Over the next four years, utilities have announced plans to close 12 gigawatts worth of coal plants, largely because cheap natural gas has made them uneconomical — the equivalent of switching off a dozen nuclear reactors.
Trump will have some levers at his disposal to influence how they’ll be replaced. He has vowed, for instance, to kill President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would require states to reduce emissions from power plants. And two federal subsidies — the investment tax credit and the production tax credit — remain key components to making solar and wind affordable.
He hasn’t indicated whether he’ll push to repeal the tax credits for wind and solar, which were extended for five years at the end of 2015 with bipartisan support. And the Clean Power Plan, which has been suspended pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, isn’t scheduled to take effect until 2022. Utilities, meanwhile, are marching ahead.
“We are moving forward with plans that call for replacing some of our coal generation with natural gas, low-cost wind energy and expanding solar options for customers,” said Frank Prager, vice president of policy and federal affairs for Xcel Energy Inc., which owns utilities in eight states.
Even without the Clean Power Plan, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that wind and solar energy will grow 33 percent over the next two years, adding 40 gigawatts. A lot of that will be driven by state, rather than federal, policies.
More than half of U.S. states require utilities to incorporate renewable energy into their generation mix, including the traditionally Republican strongholds of Texas, Arizona and Montana. California and New York have set goals to source half of their power from clean energy by 2030.
“I’m skeptical that there is a lot you can do to stop this coal plant replacement cycle from happening,” said Bryan Martin, a managing director at D.E. Shaw & Co., a New York hedge fund that manages about $38 billion and invests in wind and solar projects. “Renewables are the cheapest form of new power in most of these markets.”
Even if renewable energy loses support from the West Wing, it remains popular in corner offices across America. Electricity-hungry tech giants including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc. and others have increasingly sourced energy in recent years directly from wind and solar farms, signing at least 20 power-purchase agreements totaling 2.3 gigawatts in 2015 alone. Over the next nine years, companies have pledged to buy another 17.4 gigawatts, according to New Energy Finance.
“Wal-Mart will continue to build stores, and Apple will continue to build energy-intensive data centers that will be powered by renewables,” said Kyle Harrison, a New Energy Finance analyst in New York. “We don’t expect the election to have a significant impact on renewable energy.”
There are indirect ways Trump may impede clean energy. His proposal to cut corporate tax rates could blunt the effectiveness of the tax credits for wind and solar. He could cut research-and-development funding. Rolling back environmental regulations may make coal more competitive. And Trump will have the opportunity to appoint at least two members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Utilities aren’t waiting to see how it pans out.
“We’d love to see more funding to ensure that fossil fuels can stay in that framework,” said Nick Akins, chief executive officer of American Electric Power Co., which owns utilities from Texas to Ohio. “But as we go through this process, I think from AEP’s perspective, we’re going to continue the investments that we’re making.”http://cdn-mobapi.bloomberg.com/mobapi/v2/player/media/video/cc/WiFi/IbmasGO8SrqJLc_TtS_vpA.m3u8
American wind power continues to create jobs and strengthen rural America.
TOM KIERNAN NOVEMBER 9, 2016
The American Wind Energy Association is ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump and his administration to assure that wind power continues to be a vibrant part of the U.S. economy.
An unstoppable shift to a cleaner energy economy is underway, and the fundamentals of wind energy in America are strong. With bipartisan support for long-term policy firmly in place, and a near-record number of wind farms are under construction, our industry is saving consumers money by connecting low-cost wind power to more parts of the country.
We’re putting money in the pockets of farmers who host wind turbines, keeping the farm in the family and the family on the farm. And wind power supports 88,000 well-paying American jobs, a quarter of them made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs. States, where most energy policy is made, are likely to continue their clean energy policies.
Mr. Trump has said, ‘We can pursue all forms of energy. This includes renewable energies and the technologies of the future.’ We look forward to working with him and his appointees to make sure they recognize that wind is working very well in America today as a mainstream energy source.
In his victory speech early this morning, the President-elect said, ‘We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.’ Wind power is some of the best infrastructure America has ever built and we are on track to doubling it from today’s levels by 2020.
The 2016 Republican platform backed transmission which wind energy requires, saying: ‘We support expedited siting processes and the thoughtful expansion of the grid so that consumers and businesses continue to have access to affordable and reliable electricity.’
Americans love wind power partly because it’s proven to be an economic powerhouse for rural America, as well as helping us breathe easier and contributing to our energy independence. Our job is to make good on that promise.
We can bring prosperity to more communities across America that are hurting right now, and that need the business wind energy can bring. With over 80% of all wind farms in Republican-held congressional districts, we envision that the Republican leadership in Congress and the White House will want to keep our industry growing.
Utilities and major corporations are flocking to buy more wind, finding it to be the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to keep the air clean while keeping electric rates low.
We will continue to work with the states to lower electricity costs and share the benefits of rural economic development while meeting their renewable standards.
According to exit polls, the top issues on Americans’ minds as they went to vote were the economy, security, and health. Wind can help with all three. Our determination to fulfill on the U.S. wind industry’s enormous potential has never been stronger.
Construction on the country’s first offshore wind farm began last spring, off the coast of Rhode Island, and the project is expected to be fully operational later this fall.
With an installed capacity of 30 megawatts, the five-turbine Deepwater Wind wind farm will generate enough electricity to supply all of Block Island’s needs, while also sending some to mainland Rhode Island. This will be a clean, affordable and welcome development for Block Island’s residents, who have long had to rely on imported, expensive and polluting diesel fuel for energy.
“Today’s turbine installation shows that offshore wind power is a real, viable option for states along the coast to transition to clean energy,” said Miles Grant, a National Wildlife Federation spokesman. “This can and must be the beginning of something big – a new clean energy chapter for America that can create thousands of jobs and protect wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo also celebrated the milestone, tweeting:
This progress is happening at a time when support for growing wind power has never been higher: 91 percent of likely voters want to expand wind energy, according to a recent poll. And this support is truly bipartisan, with 82 percent of self-described conservatives saying they think transitioning to a clean energy economy is important.
Stay tuned for more updates on Deepwater Wind’s progress on this historic project throughout the fall.