Can Silicon Valley sell big business on climate action?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In February, Apple announced a massive $848 million solar deal as part of pursuit to power its operations with 100 percent renewable energy. Google, Facebook and Salesforce have all made their own 100 percent renewable energy commitments.

Even notorious sustainability laggard Amazon is taking action on its goal of powering its hulking cloud computing division with clean energy.

The question now: if and how the tech industry’s highly visible — and once seemingly far-fetched — clean energy goals might make a bigger imprint on other industries during a crucial year for climate politics.

Florida: In ‘climate change’ controversy, a tale of two agencies

Read the full story in the Miami Herald.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a steering committee to address climate change. The commission maintains computer modeling programs that show how climate change will affect water and land crucial to wildlife. It holds regular seminars to educate staff on the latest climate science.

On its website, the commission has a “Climate Change 101” page that addresses key challenges the state faces.

Eight miles from the state commission’s Tallahassee headquarters, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which bills itself as the state’s “lead agency for environmental management and stewardship,” states that it is only monitoring sea-level rise. That is its sole effort to address climate change.

As Florida Center for Investigative Reporting first reported, the emphasis on “climate change” within the DEP has declined over the past five years during Gov. Rick Scott’s tenure in office. For instance, a Web page titled “Climate Change and Coral Reefs” hasn’t been updated since Nov. 18, 2011 — the year Scott took office. That was also the year a DEP spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times that “DEP is not pursuing any programs or projects regarding climate change.”

Cap-and-Trade Support Linked to Revenue Use

Download the document. Published by the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.

The Obama Administration’s creation of the Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector has renewed interest in possible state or regional adoption of cap-and-trade programs to meet mandatory reduction targets. The latest version of the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) sought to understand Americans’ awareness of existing cap-and-trade programs in their state, and to gauge their receptiveness to this policy option. The survey finds that a large percentage (71%) of Americans do not know whether their state had adopted a cap-and-trade program, and more than a third (38%) of Americans haven’t formed an opinion about whether or not their state should adopt such an approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When provided with more details about various options on how revenues generated through allowance auctions from such a program might be used, more Americans express an opinion, and some options clearly rise to the top. In particular, support is highest amongst both Republicans and Democrats for a cap-and-trade program in which revenues are used to expand energy efficiency programs.

EPA launches new greenhouse gas inventory tools for local and tribal governments

EPA is pleased to announce that it has launched two free, interactive spreadsheet tools to help local governments and tribes across the United States evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions.

Both tools calculate greenhouse gas emissions for many sectors, including residential, commercial, transportation, and waste and water management. Each tool consists of two separate parts: one for community-wide inventories, the other for inventories of local or tribal government operations only.

These tools were designed to make calculating emissions flexible and easy: they are pre-programmed with default data, or the user may enter community-specific information.

Who should use these inventory tools?

The tool is designed for governments interested in compiling a relatively quick and simple GHG inventory. Local, tribal, and regional governments interested in developing emissions estimates should visit the Develop a Greenhouse Gas Inventory page for suggested approaches, key steps, case studies, and resources to determine if this simplified approach is appropriate for them and learn about other options.

What can you do with the results?

  • Create an emissions baseline
  • Track emissions trends
  • Assess the relative contributions of emissions sources
  • Communicate with stakeholders
  • Partner with other municipalities to create a regional inventory
  • Develop mitigation strategies and policies
  • Measure progress toward meeting GHG reduction goals

God’s Work: Meet the Woman Turning Evangelicals Into Environmentalists

Read the full story in Rolling Stone.

Among the victims of the organized campaign to discredit climate science and obstruct action are many of the country’s 80 million evangelical Christians, who are bombarded with messages that climate change is a hoax and environmental regulation a cover for Big Government’s agenda to convert the nation to a police state. Some evangelicals also interpret the burning, flooding Earth as a sign of the Rapture and the second coming of Christ. While 63 percent of all Americans think climate change is underway, only 51 percent percent of evangelicals do. An estimated 27 percent of evangelicals don’t think the climate is changing at all.

Those numbers might be disheartening to many environmentalists, but for an emerging class of activists, they represent an opportunity: to convert those believers into potent advocates for the planet. Among those activists is Anna Jane Joyner, who was featured last year in Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously debating her fathermegachurch pastor and climate skeptic Rick Joyner.

Can the Pope’s climate encyclical spur corporate action?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

In his widely anticipated encyclical on climate change and poverty, “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis addresses his call to action to “every person who inhabits this planet,” noting that the degradation of the planet will have “grave consequences for us all.”

Businesses, many of which have until now been able to ignore calls for action on climate, might not be able to claim immunity from the pope.

Pope Francis urges ‘decisive’ climate change action

Read the full story from the CBC.

Pope Francis demanded swift action on Thursday to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” and plunging the Catholic Church into political controversy over climate change.

In the first papal document dedicated to the environment, he called for “decisive action, here and now,” to stop environmental degradation and global warming, squarely backing scientists who say it is mostly man-made.