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Two BIG Reminders About Energy Efficiency and Transportation Measures

by Don Knapp Jul 28, 2009

Freeway at night

Two reports released today serve as powerful reminders of what climate mitigation measures can accomplish if implemented on a massive scale. You already knew that energy efficiency measures can save gobs of money (as they slash emissions), but did you know they can add up to $1.2 trillion saved by 2020? You already knew that the transportation sector is a major source of emissions, but do you know which combination of strategies could halve transportation emissions by 2050?

McKinsey Report: Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy
The consulting firm McKinsey reports that a $520 billion investment in measures ranging from weatherizing buildings to upgrading appliances can reap $1.2 trillion in savings, and reduce the projected U.S. energy usage by 23 percent -- offsetting the anticipated growth in energy usage. Dig deeper in the study to read about the barriers to making this leap.

Moving Cooler Report: An Analysis of Transportation Strategies for Reducing Emissions
Cambridge Systematics, Inc., working with the Natural Resources Defense Council and other nonprofit, corporate, and government partners, reports that implementing strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled can slash GHG emissions by up to 47 percent by 2050. Moving Cooler analyzes the effects of implementing approximately 50 different strategies, from congestion pricing and pay-as-you-go insurance to car-sharing and "multimodal freight sector strategies." With emissions from the transportation section growing fast (transpo accounts for 28 percent of U.S. emissions, according to Cambridge Systematics), can these strategies realistically be implemented? Read the bottom third of the New York Times story for a bit of insight on the federal policy angle.


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Local Action Roundup

by adrianacostellodougherty Jul 26, 2009

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Local Action Roundup

by adrianacostellodougherty Jul 22, 2009

     Chicago, IL, Advances Nation's Largest Urban Solar Generating

      (Environment News Service)

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On-Demand Webinar on Energy Financing: Cambridge Energy Alliance

by adrianacostellodougherty Jul 22, 2009

 Cambridge Energy Alliance

Did you miss ICLEI's July 23 webinar in partnership with the City of Cambridge, MA? Download and view the recorded version anytime.

The webinar, "Cambridge Energy Alliance: Save Money. Save the Planet" was the second in our five-part series on clean energy financing models that local governments around the country can learn about and replicate.

Representatives from Cambridge discussed how their innovative program aims to help the town reduce its energy usage by 50MW. The webinar includes an overview of the Cambridge Energy Alliance, lessons learned in implementing the program, and how you can replicate this model in your community.

>> View the Webinar

NOTE: In order to properly view the presentation, you need to download the plugin

>> View the Webinar Slides

Right Column - Solar Model HomeUpcoming Webinars:

Don't miss our upcoming webinars on other leading energy financing models:

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Ed Mazria: Oh, Those Sexy Building Codes

by Don Knapp Jul 22, 2009

Grass House

Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 -- one of ICLEI's favorite people -- blogs on SolveClimate today about an overlooked section hidden within the pages of the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) bill. Section 201 updates the national building energy codes to achieve dramatic energy reduction targets. And it's the most important part of the bill, he argues:

No matter what else is compromised or changed in the climate bill now working its way through the Senate, Section 201 must not be changed or weakened.

Why? Because all other energy and emissions reduction approaches pale in comparison to what Section 201 will accomplish. Without it, we simply cannot meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets called for in the bill. We won’t even come close.

Mazria makes a great case, and I love that he shows how, compared to energy efficiency, nuclear power is a massive waste of money as an energy choice to reduce emissions. Everybody wants a shiny new, high-tech solution to our energy issues. But a low-tech policy lever like building codes does the job just fine.

Read Mazria's full SolveClimate blog post here.

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Local Action Roundup

by adrianacostellodougherty Jul 19, 2009

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How to Avoid Double-Counting in Your Greenhouse Gas Inventory

by Xico Manarolla Jul 19, 2009

30-Second Guidance IconLocal governments conducting a greenhouse gas inventory frequently raise the issue of double-counting their emissions. For example, if your jurisdiction owns its own municipal power plant, you could easily double-count by including in your inventory the emissions associated with the power generation (at the source) and the power consumption (e.g., by buildings).

The Local Government Operations Protocol provides a straightforward solution to avoid double-counting: Itemize your emissions sources into one of three scopes or as an information item.

Scope 1: Direct Emissions
Direct GHG emissions are emissions from sources within the local government's organizational boundary that the local government owns or controls.  These emissions are divided into stationary combustion mobile combustion, process emissions from physical or chemical processing and other fuel combustion and fugitive emissions from refrigerants, fire suppressants, transportation and distribution losses and storage of fuels and other substances.

Scope 2: Indirect Emissions
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heating or cooling.

Scope 3: Other Indirect Emissions
Scope 3 emissions are emissions of potential policy relevance to local government operations that can be measured and reported but do not qualify as Scope 1 or 2.  This includes, but is not limited to, municipally generated solid waste, outsourced operations and employee commute.

Information Items
Information items are emissions sources that do not fall into Scope 1, 2 or 3 but that are relevant to report even though they are not typically rolled-up into numbers representing total local government emissions.  Information Items include:

  • Carbon Offsets Retired (CO2e)
  • Carbon Offsets Generated or Sold (CO2e)
  • Renewable Energy Certificates Retired (MWh)
  • Percentage of Total Electricity Use Offset by green Power (%)
  • Renewable Energy Certificates Generated or Sold (MWh)
  • CO2 from Biogenic Sources (CO2)

For more details on emissions scopes, view the Protocol or ICLEI’s CACP 2009 User Guide (members only).

For information on how to avoid double-counting in an aggregate sum of your emissions (rollup number), see ICLEI’s guidance in Appendix C of the Protocol.

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Local Action Roundup

by Don Knapp Jul 14, 2009

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Los Angeles Says No to Coal-Fired Power

by Don Knapp Jul 12, 2009

LA County Solar Map

A complement to Los Angeles' "coal-free" vow is its rapid expansion of solar power, as shown in this map of the solar installations across the region.

The saying, "If you build it, they will come" doesn't necessarily apply to coal-fired power plants.  City of Los Angeles is a case in point. Last week Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that city officials would soon begin work to eliminate the city's reliance on coal (which provides 40 percent of the city's power) by 2020.

That groundbreaking goal just had a huge ripple effect this week. The Intermountain Power Agency--whose Delta, Utah power plants provide power to LA, its largest customer--just announced that it was scrapping its plans to build a new 900-megawatt coal-fired power plant on that site. If Los Angeles won't buy coal-fired power, then it doesn't make sense to sell it.

I can't think of a more compelling example of the power of cities to effect change. Local governments have major purchasing power, and when they decide to green their purchasing--of office supplies or energy--they can nudge an entire supply chain to reduce its carbon footprint.

For more on Los Angeles and the Utah power plant, read the Greenwire article on the New York Times or read the Reuters story.

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Local Action Roundup

by adrianacostellodougherty Jul 12, 2009

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