Kyle Sanborn 141sc

Kyle Sanborn's activity stream


  • published Regional Meetings 2024-05-30 11:09:02 -0400

    Regional Meetings


    April 11th and 12th Midwest Regional Meeting in Chicago, IL

    The US Climate Action Council partnered with RE-AMP and Labor Network Sustainability (LNS) to convene the Midwest Regional Meeting in Chicago.  Participants came from various backgrounds and experiences, including labor organizers, environmental activists, policymakers, and academics. The diversity of perspectives led to a lively and informative exchange of ideas.

    Highlights from the first day include:  1) A presentation by Sarah Stranahan (RE-AMP) on the source and course of emissions in the Midwest to provide a foundation for the work needed for this region to do its part in addressing the climate crisis. 2) Flash Talks by each participant on highlights of their work, experiences and perspectives on labor, climate and just transition. 3)  Generative dialogue facilitated by LNS Co-Director Liz Ratzloff on how we can ensure that a just transition supports workers and EJ communities and strengthens our unions, communities, and local democracy. And 4) a tour of Haymarket Square, where we grounded in the history of the labor movement, union organizing, and why May 1st is considered Labor Day worldwide. 

    Day two kicked off with reflections on our favorite Great Lake. We were prompted to consider how, in the face of global warming, climate migration, and all the impacts of this crisis we are in, do we protect these fresh waters for everyday people, not just corporations, who will eventually try to privatize the lakes for profit and make them unavailable to the public.  Additional highlights included: 1) Hearing about the campaigns and how they connect with work in the midwest on just transition from Basav Sen (Institute for Policy Studies), Fast, Full, Fair, Feminist Fossil Phase-Out, and Rev. Michael Malcolm (Peoples Justice Council), Power 4 Southern People NOT Southern Company.  2) Learning about the EPA’s Transformational Toolkit, which included an overview of various grant programs and technical assistance opportunities, by EPA Advisor Jasmine Davenport and Dr. Larissa Mark. 3) A World Cafe, in which 6 rich conversations unfolded on issues at the intersection of labor and climate. The conversations covered a wide range of topics, including: the impact of climate change on jobs and communities, agriculture and food systems, the role of unions in promoting environmental sustainability, the need for government policies that support both workers and the environment.  

    One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the need for greater collaboration between the labor and environmental movements. Participants recognized that both movements share common goals, such as creating a more just and sustainable economy. They also acknowledged that they can learn from each other's experiences and strategies. Participants agreed to create an open-source document that synthesizes and summarizes the ideas and proposals generated in the world cafe process.  Please look out for those in the coming weeks.

     


  • published Donation - Monthly in Donation 2024-02-14 16:04:17 -0500

  • published Financial Regulation in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:37 -0400

    FINANCIAL REGULATION


    Banks, insurance companies and asset managers are the main financial backers of the corporations and activities driving climate change. Financial sector regulators have the authority and responsibility to curtail the flow of funds to greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage funding of climate resilience and of a just transition to a zero emissions economy.

    VALUES OF SHAREHOLDERS & BENEFICIARIES

    • Informed investors expressing their values

    DECISIONS OF BANKS & INSURERS

    • Considering climate change for emissions-increasing industries

    CORPORATE TRANSPARENCY RULES

    • Establishing multilateral solutions to strengthen global tax regulations

     


    DISCLOSE CLIMATE RISK AND PROTECT INVESTOR RIGHTS

    Require all firms to publicly disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they produce and finance, the risks their business faces from climate change, and their plans for addressing both.

    01

    Give shareholders and retirement plan beneficiaries the right to invest in assets that express their values and the information that they need to accurately assess those investments.


    IMPLEMENT PRUDENTIAL REGULATION OF EMISSIONS FINANCING

    Use the tools designed to prevent bank failures and financial crises to manage the danger to the broader economy from financing emissions and deforestation commodities.

    02 

    Take climate change into account when evaluating decisions by banks and insurers to lend to, underwrite, or invest in emissions-increasing industries.

    03

    The U.S. should lead by example and establish robust corporate transparency rules while strengthening regulation against tax avoidance and evasion at home.

    REGULATE TAX HAVENS

    The existing global tax structure is antithetical to a just international climate transition. Tax havens, including those in the U.S., significantly undermine the revenue necessary to fund climate transitions, especially in lower-income countries; opaque corporate laws allow fossil fuel corporations and other greenhouse emitters to evade accountability for environmental and human rights abuses; and illicit financial flows enable global corruption, rendering governments less democratically accountable.[xxvi] To ensure an equitable international climate transition, the U.S. must therefore use its global influence to promote comprehensive multilateral solutions to the problem of tax havens.


    RESTRICT FINANCING OF GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION

    Close loopholes that allow bank holding companies to invest in physical commodities and energy businesses and require that any future fossil fuel investments bear the full costs that they impose on the economy and the environment.

    04

    Begin phasing down the financing of greenhouse gas pollution, starting with the most highly polluting sectors and companies.

     


    FINANCE A JUST TRANSITION

    Increase equitable investment in frontline communities. Do not permit climate risk-management to result in banks and insurers denying service or increasing costs to serve these communities.

    05

    Mitigate harm to vulnerable communities by encouraging banks to support climate resilience as part of their community reinvestment obligations.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

     


  • published Electricity in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:33 -0400

    ELECTRICITY


    President Biden has embraced the ambitious goal of achieving “a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035” and made this a centerpiece of his job creation platform.[xiv] But many of the so-called “clean energy” proposals in Congress allow false climate solutions such as carbon capture and sequestration, biomass energy, nuclear power, and even some fossil fuels to qualify as “clean.”[xv] This “all of the above” energy strategy, also embedded in many of the deep decarbonization pathways proposed by states and energy studies, will not achieve zero GHG emissions needed to stabilize the climate.


    01

    RENEWABLE ENERGY

    The IPCC defines renewable energy as any form of energy from solar, geophysical (including wind, geothermal, tidal, hydro), or biological sources that is replenished by natural processes at a rate that equals or exceeds its rate of use.xvi We amend this definition to add that renewable energy must not be harmful to our communities or the environment.

    • At least 80% pollution-free renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2035
    • Replenish by natural processes at a rate that equals or exceeds its rate of use
    • Consider only renewable energy that does not result in adverse effects

    The following should not be treated as renewable energy because of their adverse health, climate, environmental, and/or social justice impacts:

    • Waste incineration (including municipal solid waste, medical waste, and construction and demolition debris)
    • Woody biomass combustion (including wood chips, pellets, trees and woody plants, logging residues, wood wastes, and treated lumber)
    • New large-scale hydroelectric power using impoundment dams
    • Biofuel policies have failed as climate solutions. The overwhelming majority of biofuels used today are crop-based biofuels. Corn ethanol, in particular, can actually be worse than oil. Biofuels derived from corn, soy, other crops, municipal solid waste, wood, or other sources that are not sustainable, pollute, result in land use change or compete with food crops.xvii Biofuels should not be considered a climate solution, particularly for areas such as personal transport or heating, where the technology for electrification and truly clean renewables already exists.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Economy-Wide Target in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:30 -0400

    Topics

    ECONOMY-WIDE TARGET


    The IPCC’s special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was notable for its combination of scientific and ethical clarity. It discussed some critical truths:

    1. We must do everything to try to hold the warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. We may fail, but this effort is our only chance of achieving the Paris Agreement’s backstop goal of holding global warming “well below 2°C.”
    2. To have a substantial chance of achieving 1.5°C, global emissions must decline by at least 45% and as much as 60% from 2010 levels by 2030, and must reach net zero around 2050.*

    These constraints are not in themselves sufficient to define the U.S. fair share of the global climate mitigation challenge. The United States is an extremely wealthy country with a great deal of historical responsibility for the climate crisis and a large capacity to respond to it. Therefore it must do substantially more than the global average. 

    There is lively, ongoing debate about the maximum achievable rate of emissions reductions. In the U.S., a 2030 target of 100% reductions would be ideal, but many experts think it is simply not possible. We should strive toward that goal, but given that authoritative voices are arguing that domestic carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced as much as 70% by 2030, we believe this is an appropriate target and should be coupled with commensurate annual targets. A U.S. fair share also includes substantial financial support for emissions cuts in other, poorer countries. (See Global Issues and Responsibilities below).


    REFERENCES

    * On the 2030 and 2050 requirements of 1.5°C and 2°C, the relevant IPCC text reads: “In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range). For limiting global warming to below 2°C CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10–30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2070 (2065–2080 interquartile range).” IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [V. Masson-Delmotte, P. Zhai, H. O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P. R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J. B. R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M. I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. C.1, p. 14.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

     


  • published Tribal Nations in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:26 -0400

    TRIBAL NATIONS, NATIVE OR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE


    Indigenous people globally are protecting the rights of nature and 80% of the world’s lasting biodiversity while fighting to maintain their culture, all of which are under threat from exploitation, extraction, development, and climate change.

    In the United States centuries of colonialism, federal legislation and funding decisions have resulted in American Indian/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian people not having the basic right to protect their land, air, and water, cultural and sacred sites, including those in areas that are not under their jurisdiction, nor the resources or authority to expeditiously transition to renewable energy (as defined herein) or ensure the health of their communities and their ability to be resilient to the impacts of climate change. These rights must be restored, and resources must be committed to ensure that tribal communities are not unjustly burdened.


    IN SOLIDARITY

    In solidarity with tribes, the vision for equitable climate action understands that:

    • free and informed prior consent must be achieved by establishing regulations, standards, and procedural requirements that Indian Tribes grant informed consent;
    • this consent must be free from influence or repercussions from outside sources including the U.S. Government;
    • and must be given prior to any agency action that may adversely affect land and water under Indian jurisdiction, health, cultural activities – including off-reservation treaty-reserved rights to hunting, fishing, gathering -, or the continued protection and access to sacred and cultural sites including on federal, state, or municipal lands.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Buildings Efficiency in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:23 -0400

    BUILDINGS & ENERGY EFFICIENCY


    REDUCE ENERGY USE IN EXISTING PUBLIC, RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS

    • Retrofits
      • Conduct high-quality, deep energy efficiency retrofits of 75% of all existing public and private buildings by 2040 and 100% by 2050 while meeting applicable building safety standards.
      • Start by retrofitting (1) economically disadvantaged households; (2) multifamily residential buildings; (3) properties that are rented; and (4) placing additional early focus on the small number of buildings that consume a disproportionate share of energy.
      • Upgrade existing homes, including multi-family units and mobile homes in low-income and disadvantaged communities that may not currently be sustainable or habitable. If homes are not habitable and cannot be recovered, use those areas for community green space, affordable housing, or other community benefit.
      • Ensure that renters and economically disadvantaged households aren’t negatively affected; retain housing affordability; and prevent gentrification.
      • State energy departments and U.S. Department of Energy should track the number of buildings that have received deep energy retrofits in each state, beginning in 2020.
    • Equity and justice
      • Remove fees for access to renewable energy sources for those who are economically disadvantaged.
      • Ensure that houses receive energy efficiency upgrades prior to accessing to renewable energy.
      • Provide restitution for victims of predatory lending and other unethical business practices. If companies go bankrupt after receiving federal funding to work on homes, this program will investigate and handle claims as well as seek retribution or recoup funds from those who profit from these practices.
      • Ensure energy efficiency work is done by workers earning living wages, working in safe and healthy conditions, with collective bargaining rights, while supporting public jobs programs and prioritizing businesses owned by women and people of color.
    • Other supports and incentives
      • Expand federal, state, and local funding and financing tools, including property assessed clean energy financing, federal funds for the Weatherization Assistance Program and funding for utility-based low-income weatherization and energy efficiency programs.
      • Require utilities to prioritize energy efficiency and demand-side management solutions to reduce overall power demand before considering building new power generation.

    REDUCE ENERGY USE IN NEW RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS

    • Update state and local building codes to require all new commercial and residential buildings to meet the Architecture 2030 ZERO Code standard by 2025.
    • Update building codes to require all new commercial and residential buildings to be onsite net-zero ready by 2025 if physically capable of generating all the energy required to operate the building using onsite energy sources.[12]
    • Require proposed commercial and residential buildings to undergo an environmental justice assessment of community impact before receiving building permits.

    ELECTRIFY BUILDINGS

    • New buildings. Update building codes to require all equipment and appliances (as that phrase is used by the Department of Energy, including heating and cooling loads) used in new buildings to operate on electricity by 2025.
    • Existing buildings. Require all replacement appliances and equipment that can be powered by electricity to be powered by electricity by 2025.'

    APPLIANCE STANDARDS

    • Update federal appliance and equipment efficiency standards every two years, or as often as is practicable, including a forecast of efficiency standards over the coming 10 years.
    • Incorporate appliance durability and repairability standards into the efficiency standards.

    USE LAND USE LAWS TO SUPPORT ENERGY EFFICIENCY & CLIMATE RESILIENCE

    • Leverage transit-oriented development, mixed use zoning, core density, and smaller dwellings to support energy efficiency in the building and transportation sectors.
    • Integrate housing policy, land use policy, and transportation policy to advance equity and carbon reduction goals. For example, locate high density, efficient, affordable housing near convenient urban transit.
    • Promote climate-wise development practices for resilience. For example, site new development outside of hazard zones such as fire prone landscapes, flood zones, and low elevation coastal zones. 

    VECA in Action

    https://www.newalphacdc.com/new-facility-located-in-brittons-neck-sc/ 

     


    REFERENCES

    [12] Some properties lack the renewable resource base to generate all power affordably on site—for example, tall towers that have thousands of square feet of floor space and little solar exposure.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Transportation in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:20 -0400

    TRANSPORTATION


    SURFACE TRANSPORTATION

    • Retain the fuel efficiency standards that are currently in effect through the 2025 model year. Phase in a zero-emission standard for some light- and medium-duty vehicles beginning in 2026, leading to a zero-emission standard for all new light and medium duty vehicles no later than 2030. Require zero emissions for new heavy duty (freight) vehicles by 2035. Offer incentives to internal combustion engine vehicle owners who scrap their vehicles to accelerate the decarbonization of the existing fleet, ensuring that lower-income households benefit equitably from consumer incentive programs.
    • To ensure that state and local transportation investments are consistent with national climate policy goals, to advance environmental justice and equity, and to improve public health, condition federal transportation funding on state and local governments adopting transportation plans designed to: (a) achieve zero emissions from the surface transport sector by 2050; (b) assure affordable transit access to employment, schools, medical care, entertainment venues, and public services, including paratransit; and (c) avoid placing or expanding heavily trafficked highways, parking, freight distribution centers, and other high-polluting transportation infrastructure without requiring that polluting internal combustion engines be replaced with zero-emission technologies to avoid disproportionately exposing low-income communities and communities of color to the harmful health effects of vehicle pollutants.
    • Transform to zero-emission fleets for school buses, other buses, and public transportation by 2030. Electrify rail by 2030. (See Solutionary Rail.[10]) Provide funds for low- and middle-income families to purchase electric vehicles.
    • Invest in publicly owned high-speed rail with a focus on connecting major metropolitan areas within 500 miles of each other as soon as possible.
    • Massively redirect resources and incentives to implementing “complete streets,” which are designed and operated for all users; incentivizing public transit, walking and biking; coupling housing and transit policy to encourage high-density affordable housing near transit; and requiring metropolitan planning organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% to 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2045, with an emphasis on access and affordability of transportation options. Consideration for funding should be given to the disproportionate lack of funding and resources in rural areas.
    • Make federal surface transportation funding contingent on the adoption by statewide and metropolitan planning organizations of transportation plans that achieve quantifiable reductions in carbon dioxide pollution from mobile sources, averaged over each four-year transportation planning cycle.
    • Recognizing the value of reducing air pollution from the transport sector, including pollutants that accelerate climate disruption and impair human health, tax policies to fund transportation infrastructure investments should be designed to ensure an equitable distribution of costs to users based on their use of, and impact on, facilities, and to encourage the replacement of vehicles that use polluting fuels with zero-emission vehicles. 

    AVIATION

    • By 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration develops air traffic optimization policies that minimize the overall climate impact of air travel, including not only carbon dioxide emissions but also other, non-carbon dioxide effects in the upper atmosphere.[11]
    • Vastly increase R&D for efficiency and electrification of aviation.
    • Achieve low to zero emissions in the aviation sector by no later than 2050, by deploying technology-forcing aviation emission standards for new aircraft types and the current aircraft fleet. Supersonic jets must meet the same emissions standards as subsonic aircraft.
    • Implement a private jet and frequent-flier tax to avoid unnecessary flights, calibrated to the expected demand reduction needed to meet climate stability goals, while ensuring equity and mobility for isolated communities.

    SHIPPING

    • By 2030, require ships entering U.S. ports to achieve carbon dioxide emissions per ton of cargo that are half of the average rate of emissions in 2018. Vastly increase R&D to develop more fuel-efficient ships and low- to zero-emission ship propulsion technologies with the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas pollution from shipping.  

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Manufacturing in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:16 -0400

    MANUFACTURING 


    GOALS

    • Manufacture more renewables, electric vehicles, public transit, and other goods essential to a clean energy economy.
    • Make manufacturing clean, removing toxic materials and processes and greenhouse gas emissions—including in the renewables sector—and limit the need for mining.
    • Ensure high-quality jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, that are safe for workers and do not expose workers to toxics, with equitable access to jobs, including in the renewable energy sector.
    • Reduce manufacturing-related waste and extraction by expanding remanufacturing and reuse to encourage sustainable life cycle management as part of a “circular economy.”

    POLICIES

    • Measure and transparently report job creation, worker safety adherence, pollution reduction progress, and life cycle management—both for the goods produced and the supply chain.
    • Limit the need for mining through increased recycling, right to repair, and longer product life, eliminating planned obsolescence.
    • Invest massively in R&D and deployment for solutions to increase manufacturing energy efficiency; eliminate greenhouse gases, other pollutants, and waste from manufacturing; substitute materials; clean up pollution from legacy polluting manufacturing; and redevelop brownfields where appropriate.
    • Ensure that government procurement supports clean, equitable, job-creating manufacturing.
    • Require companies to clean up pollution from manufacturing and limit the need for mining.
    • Create a clean-technology industrial bank (like a “green bank”) to deploy clean manufacturing for the clean energy economy (e.g., renewables, electric vehicles, public transit), with democratically determined local content and manufacturing requirements as appropriate for the clean economy of the future.
    • Immediately sign and ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
    • Limit greenhouse gas emissions and toxic pollution from manufacturing, and phase out highly polluting manufactured materials.
    • Enact policies that require all manufacturing jobs that benefit from the above investments and incentives to abide by high-road labor standards, with unions, frontline communities, and other impacted local populations taking the lead on developing these policies, such as prevailing wages, strict safety standards, and project labor agreements with unions.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Food Production in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:13 -0400

    FOOD PRODUCTION


    Mitigation, adaptation, and resilience in the agriculture sector are essential to climate action, especially to protect livelihoods and the right to food. The agricultural sector should be a sink and not a source of greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Secure the right to food, ensuring that economically disadvantaged areas, communities of color, and climate-impacted communities have access to healthy food.
    • Make a massive investment in agroecology and regenerative practices to restore soils, promote biodiversity, and protect ecosystem services in rural areas, including by dramatically reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Rural areas contain only 19% of the U.S. population but represent 97% of the country’s land mass. The potential for this expanse of land to contribute to carbon sequestration is enormous.
    • Reform economic support for farmers to better protect family farms and farm workers.
      • Reform subsidies and other forms of price supports to support agroecology and environmentally sound and climate-friendly agricultural practices, such as cover cropping, integrated pest management, and agroforestry.
      • Ensure fair prices for family farmers so that farming provides a decent livelihood.
      • Ensure the availability of affordable credit for family farmers, especially young and minority farmers who may lack access to other sources of credit and capital.
      • End and provide restitution for historic discrimination against minorities in agriculture programs.
      • Enact protections for farm workers to ensure safe working conditions, a livable wage, and other labor protections, regardless of immigration status.
      • Enact antitrust rules that stop and reverse the corporate consolidation of agribusiness companies to protect farmers, workers, consumers, and rural communities and reduce vertical and horizontal consolidation.
    • Transform the livestock sector by increasing understanding of the significant role animal agriculture plays in driving climate change and addressing the heavy impacts of livestock production on the environment. Support transformative approaches to greenhouse gas reduction and ensure that economically disadvantaged communities, communities of color, and indigenous communities do not continue to disproportionately bear the burden of pollution and climate disruption from the livestock and poultry industries:
      • Establish mandatory targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions for the animal agriculture sector based on a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) approach, from cradle to post-farm gate (including land conversion and feed production through slaughter and processing).
      • Ensure transparency and consistency in the methods by which greenhouse gas emissions data is generated and make all data on the amounts and types of emissions generated by the livestock and poultry industries available to the public.
      • Develop an effective national strategy to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated by this industry, including significantly reducing and phasing out concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and ensuring a just transition for livestock farmers and farm workers.
      • Invest in and incentivize mitigation and prevention strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture while improving the surrounding environment, such as supporting efforts to reforest areas that were previously deforested to support grazing or minimizing the use of conventional agriculture for industrial feed purposes.
      • Support responsible grazing practices that recognize the limitations of available pasture and the value of natural grasslands as carbon sinks and native wildlife habitat.
    • Promote plant-centric diets that include healthy amounts of sustainably sourced animal products.
      • Encourage procurement policies at all government and institutional levels that increase the availability of healthy, plant-based options and reduce the amount of meat and dairy purchased and served.
      • Emphasize the connection between diets that are healthy for people and the climate by including sustainability considerations in national dietary guidelines and related programs and policies.
      • Support research and development to improve the availability and healthfulness of plant-based foods while minimizing environmental impacts.
      • Support programs that provide safe, affordable, and culturally appropriate food options in underserved communities.
    • Reduce food waste to mitigate unnecessary agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and create a sustainable food system that conserves natural resources.
      • Standardize date labels to reduce consumer confusion and waste.
      • Track and publicly report food waste throughout the supply chain, particularly at the farm and retail levels.
      • Prioritize prevention of food loss and waste through initiatives such as improving inventory management, retailer commitments to whole-crop and seasonal/bumper-crop purchasing, extended produce specifications, and investments in packing, tracking, and storage innovation.
      • Invest in universal composting programs to reduce the amount of compostable food going into landfills while expanding access to fertilizers that are not reliant on CAFO waste or destructive mining practices.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Health in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:06 -0400

    HEALTH


    Climate change is already damaging human health and will have a greater impact in the future. The health effects of these disruptions include threats to mental health; increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries, and premature deaths related to extreme weather events; and changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases. Climate change also affects the delivery of health care and the ability of communities to rebound from extreme weather events. The most vulnerable—children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, low-income communities, and communities of color—bear a disproportionate burden and are the least equipped to recover.[13]

    As climate change poses significant threats to human health, the health sector also contributes nearly 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Hospital and health care systems must implement climate-smart healthcare by decarbonizing the health sector and building resilient facilities and public health infrastructure. This includes adapting both infrastructure and service delivery to remain effective in the face of new threats and build resilience in communities.

    Without transformational action, climate change will be increasingly severe, leading to more illness, injury, and death; displacement of populations because of food and water scarcity; more frequent natural disasters and violent conflict; and worsening health inequities. By mobilizing climate action for health and health action for climate, the U.S. can reduce climate pollution and build healthy communities that are resilient in the face of climate risks.

    Climate solutions must improve all people’s health. Solutions must clear the air, improve land and water quality, and provide healthy food choices to nurture people’s bodies and spirits. They must combat the devastating health impacts of climate change, reduce injury and illness, care for mental health, and extend people’s lives.

    Climate solutions must prepare us for harmful impacts. They must protect our families, our communities, and our livelihoods from the harmful impacts we are already experiencing from climate change, and they must center communities that are the most vulnerable to the health and mental health impacts of climate change.

    PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

    • Climate change must be an integral component of federal, state, and local public health planning and programming.
    • Deeply engage communities most vulnerable to health harms of climate change in planning, policy development, and budgeting, offering meaningful roles and power in decision-making processes, and respecting history and traditional ecological knowledge.
    • Provide adequate planning and funding to protect all communities from the adverse health impacts of climate change, including robust heat island mitigation; expansion of tree canopies, green space, and green infrastructure; cool roofs and cool pavements; rainwater and graywater capture; strategies to reduce the occurrence and impacts of catastrophic wildfires and floods; community preparedness and resilience training; and increased availability of affordable, climate-adapted housing.
    • Provide guidance based on an integrated assessment of the health and health equity outcomes of proposed climate solutions and investments.
    • Invest in hospital and community health center resilience by providing funds to conduct climate vulnerability assessments and support infrastructure improvements.

    HOSPITAL AND HEALTHCARE FACILITIES

    • Implement climate-smart energy, water, transportation, food, anesthetic gas, and waste management practices in health care facilities, clinics, and provider offices.
    • Assess vulnerability to extreme weather or other climate-related events that would limit healthcare facility operations, and invest, plan, and implement strategies to build health and mental health system resilience using the BRACE framework[14] in collaboration with public health and other community agencies.
    • Improve access to care for those that are uninsured, underinsured, or in rural or underserved communities, as these populations are more likely to experience health threats posed by climate change including increased infectious disease and even pandemics.

     


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.

     


  • published Phasing Out Fossil Fuels in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:45:03 -0400

    PHASING OUT FOSSIL FUELS


    Fossil Fuels in the Ground and Stop Expansion

    Begin responding to the climate crisis by stopping the problem from getting worse than it already is. A phase-out of fossil fuels should include a halt to all new permits for fossil-fuel exploration, production, and infrastructure, a phase-out of all subsidies to fossil fuels, and divestment of all public and private financial investments from the exploration, production, and distribution of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies should not receive government assistance or bailouts. Instead, any assistance should directly support impacted fossil fuel industry workers and communities (such as to diversify tax bases) and lay the groundwork for a just transition.

    Target a Just Transition to 100% Renewable Energy

    During this transition, center people of color and frontline, indigenous, and low-income rural communities to ensure they receive the early benefits of a just transition. A just transition should include a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and a phase-out of all existing fossil fuel production, accompanied by massive investment in clean energy. A federal jobs guarantee offering a green job for anyone who wants one, prioritizing programs for non-violent returning citizens who were previously incarcerated, could simultaneously lift communities out of poverty while transitioning our economy to 100% renewables.

    Ensure That Polluters Pay the Full Costs of Their License to Operate

    To safeguard public funds from the risk of fossil fuel industry insolvency, and to ensure existing point-source risks are not externalized to frontline communities, local communities should secure the funds necessary from the fossil fuel industry, as a condition of industry’s license to operate, to ensure that the costs of adaptation, mitigation, and climate risk are not passed on to consumers or workers. They should secure these funds by requiring fossil-fuel risk bonds that protect public funds and prioritize them over the interests of secured creditors.

    Ensure That Polluters Pay for the Cost of a Just Transition

    Ensure that the costs of phasing out fossil fuels are borne by the polluting corporations that have driven the crisis and obstructed solutions, and that those costs are not passed on to others, through appropriate bonding secured by public officials.


    RESOURCES

    Engaged Interview

    California Government & Fossil Fuels Fact Sheet

    Colorado State Fact Sheet

     


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Drawdown CO2 in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:44:58 -0400

    Drawdown CO2


    Protecting Natural Carbon Sinks to Draw Down CO2 Levels

    The IPCC has warned that deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will not be enough to limit global warming to 1.5°C. All modeled pathways project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) to compensate for residual emissions and for delays in implementing emissions reductions. The IPCC found that it is feasible to draw down excess atmospheric carbon dioxide without recourse to experimental carbon capture and sequestration technologies by relying entirely on protected natural ecosystems, primarily forests, in combination with steeper emissions reductions.28 In addition, the IPCC noted that conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration, if done properly, could provide essential co-benefits such as improved biodiversity, soil quality, and local food security. A 2021 publication by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) entitled Making Peace with Nature makes clear that humanity’s war on nature has left the planet broken and that properly valuing nature and understanding that its destruction is driving our current crisis is imperative to combating climate change.

    The U.S. is blessed with myriad carbon-rich, biodiverse ecosystems which span the breadth of our country including forests, peatlands, prairie, wetlands (forested and non-forested),
    freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. In addition to storing and sequestering carbon,
    these ecosystems provide habitat for native plants and animals, serve as nurseries and shelter for many aquatic organisms and foster the growth of microorganisms essential to ecosystem function. In addition, intact ecosystems provide some of the best protections to our communities from the impacts of climate change, including sea surge, flooding and wildfires, to name a few. Unfortunately, most of these ecosystems have been overwhelmingly valued for the commodities that they can provide. Extractive industries, with the support of government agencies and subsidies, have logged, mined, and drained our environment for their natural resources such as wood products, rare earth minerals, and development purposes. The result has been the exploitation, degradation and destruction of the very ecosystems that help maintain a habitable planet. As we move forward in the face of the climate crisis, a reimagining of our priorities and our relationship with native ecosystems is therefore warranted. The Precautionary Principle, which states "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically," should govern all of our actions with regard to our environment.


    Resources

    Fast, Full, Fair Fossil Phase-Out Campaign

    US Fair Share Website


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Adaption in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:44:14 -0400

    ADAPTATION 


    GUIDING PRINCIPLES

    • Resist new developments for housing or industry in areas that are, or may be, particularly climate-vulnerable.
    • Center equity considerations in the siting, resourcing, and construction of green infrastructure, ensuring that those most vulnerable benefit from such projects in terms of health, well-being, employment, finances, and environmental impacts.
    • Center equity in the development and implementation of climate adaptation plans, community resilience plans, and disaster action plans, and plans must reflect the voices, experiences, and expertise of those impacted first and worst by climate change.
    • Use a human rights-centered approach when people are displaced by climate change and its impacts to ensure that the movement is well-resourced and those being moved are safe, have access to clean water, food, and health care, and have the right to return to their communities.
    • Apply equity considerations in managed retreats to ensure that communities are resourced and treated with dignity and respect.
    • Resiliency efforts must address climate displacement and migration, protect those most vulnerable, and be resourced and include technical and health support for frontline communities.

    POLICY PROPOSALS

    Reform insurance programs that provide support to communities impacted by flooding, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires to include affordability, mitigation, access, equity, and accurate flood and fire maps. The National Flood Insurance Program, among others, should be reformed.

     

    • Put an immediate halt to any development in climate-vulnerable areas that risks worsening the vulnerability of communities, such as development in flood-prone areas, forests, and wetlands.
    • Aim for balance between pre- and post-disaster spending. Currently, for example, the Disaster Recovery Act only sets aside 6% for pre-disaster resilience. Support policies that protect people and protect or upgrade community infrastructure to meet the demands of dangerous or harmful weather that falls short of disaster, such as more frequent and more intense heat waves and downpours.
    • Develop and implement a human rights-centered approach to displacement, migration, and resettlement. Provide support for communities to plan and implement responses to extreme weather, disease, and disasters to ensure that vulnerable populations are provided with transportation assistance, shelter, food, health services, and other resources and accommodations as needed. Ensure a legal right to return for communities. If economically disadvantaged or middle-income people cannot return to a place because it has been rendered unsafe by climate impacts and private insurance does not provide adequate compensation, provide a right to recompense from the federal government. Build or rebuild affordable housing and transportation for displaced residents, with a priority on supporting those with the greatest need.
    • Establish and provide policies, governance frameworks, and funding for people to move if they must or want to. The right to return should not require people to return to unsafe places. Economically disadvantaged communities and individuals should receive assistance to relocate from lands frequently impacted.
    • Spend Community Development Block Grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with an equity-centered frame, including:
      • Providing disaster funds to residents of manufactured homes;
      • Putting the needs of families struggling to make ends meet first and prioritizing them for support for future climate-related crises; and
      • Supporting rental assistance.
    • Defend the Clean Water Act to protect fragile water, essential ecosystem services and human health around discharge areas.
    • Implement natural adaptation measures, including, but not limited to:
      • Implement beach and dune nourishment and plant mangrove trees and seagrass to address sea level rise and violent storm impacts.
      • Support the proliferation of phytoplankton, submerged aquatic vegetation, and kelp forests. Also, protect coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. These actions will help protect ocean life from acidification and other effects of climate change.
      • Support safe reuse of water, and restrict excess water use to adapt to drought and low-water supply conditions.
      • Expand and protect forests, wetlands, and aquatic grasslands to buffer against chronic flooding and support aquifer replenishment.
      • Protect, restore, connect, and expand intact native forests, wetlands, and other corridors for animals and plants to move more climate suitable habitats, and protect aquatic conduits that support movement of animals and plants. Measures include roadless rules, removal of aquatic obstructions, and other policies to protect species migration.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Communities in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:44:10 -0400

    Communities


    Adaptation for the Built Environment and Communities

    • Reform insurance programs that provide support to communities impacted by flooding, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires to include affordability, mitigation, access, equity, and accurate flood and fire maps. Require that all rebuilding activities utilize materials that are climate change resilient (like fire-wise building in fire-adapted ecosystems) and are recycled or zero carbon and gentle on the natural world.
    • Halt development in climate-vulnerable areas that risks worsening the vulnerability of communities, such as development in flood-prone areas, fire-adapted ecosystems, forests, and wetlands. The National Flood Insurance Program should be reformed to ban new construction in floodplains and have stronger enforcement of floodplain management requirements. Overall, flood insurance should not be issued for new construction in (so-called) 100-year floodplains.
    • Update building codes to include area-specific climate resilience needs so that all new construction is clean, green, and environmentally sustainable and addresses highly localized conditions. 
    • Aim for balance between pre- and post-disaster spending. Currently, for example, the Disaster Recovery Act only sets aside 6% for pre-disaster resilience. Support policies that protect people, their homes, and protect or upgrade community infrastructure to meet the demands of dangerous or harmful weather that falls short of disaster, such as more frequent and more intense heat waves and downpours.
    • Develop and implement a human rights‐centered approach to displacement, migration, and resettlement. Provide support for communities to plan and implement responses to extreme weather, disease, and disasters to ensure that vulnerable populations are provided with transportation assistance, shelter, food, health services, and other resources and accommodations as needed. Ensure a legal right to return for communities. If economically disadvantaged or middle-income people cannot return to a place because it has been rendered unsafe by climate impacts and private insurance does not provide adequate compensation, provide a right to recompense from the federal government. Build or rebuild affordable housing and transportation for displaced residents, with a priority on supporting those with the greatest need.
    • Establish and provide policies, governance frameworks, and funding for people to move if they must or want to. The right to return should not require people to return to unsafe places. Economically disadvantaged communities and individuals should receive assistance and recompense of property equivalent to fair market value prior to climate events to relocate from lands frequently impacted.
    • Spend Community Development Block Grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with an equity-centered frame, including:
      • Providing disaster funds to residents of manufactured homes.
      • Putting the needs of families struggling to make ends meet first and prioritizing them for support for future climate-related crises.
      • Supporting rental assistance.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Just Transition in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:44:06 -0400

    JUST TRANSITION


    THOSE MOST AFFECTED SHOULD BENEFIT FIRST FROM THE TRANSITION

    Communities that have suffered the worst adverse impacts from the extractive economy—particularly environmental justice communities, census tracts with high levels of poverty or unemployment, and indigenous communities—should be prioritized for the benefits of the clean-energy transition. The transition should be used as an opportunity to build household and community wealth in these communities, which historically have had wealth and resources extracted from them. This means policies such as the following:

    • When recovering from climate harms, prioritize providing support and assistance related to health, infrastructure, jobs, and economic recovery for the most affected communities and those with the least resources.
    • As we transition electric power generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, prioritize—and provide public funding for—community owned and controlled renewable energy in frontline communities, including rural communities that are vulnerable economically through economic and social transitions. Ensure that rural communities that are financially dependent on leasing land for fossil fuel extraction can find alternative income sources that are not harmful to people and the environment, such as leasing land for renewable energy generation.
    • As we redesign buildings, including homes, public buildings, and commercial buildings, to be more energy efficient, prioritize households and communities with the greatest needs, such as frontline and indigenous communities, residents of low-income housing, communities with a high energy burden, traditionally economically disadvantaged communities, manufactured home communities, and rural communities.
    • As we transition the transportation system from gasoline-burning cars, prioritize and fund electrified public transit accessible to all, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and adequate rebates to make personal electric vehicles affordable in those communities that have borne the largest historical burden from transportation-related pollution or that face a lack of adequate transportation choices.
    • As we transform the food and agriculture system, ensure that farm workers earn living wages, work in safe and healthy conditions, and have collective bargaining rights. Prioritize access for communities that lack adequate access to nutritious food.
    • Ensure affordable electricity, housing, transportation, water, and food through policy and direct government spending.
    • In these and other areas, ensure that people in affected communities have mechanisms to determine the needed investments in their own communities instead of receiving solutions imposed from outside.

    JUSTICE FOR EXTRACTION-DEPENDENT WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES

    Many communities, even while they face adverse environmental and health impacts from extractive and other contaminating industries, are dependent on fossil-fuel industries for their local economy and tax base. It is not just the workers in fossil fuel industries who are affected, but small businesses that depend on sales to the fossil-fuel workers, and public sector workers such as school teachers, firefighters and emergency personnel, utility workers, who depend on tax revenues from the fossil-fuel facilities. These are also communities where a just transition must prioritize wealth-building. Transition plans must include:

    • Viable pathways to a healthy, resilient local economy for all communities and workers, prioritizing extraction-dependent communities and workers.
    • Funding for local communities to implement their visions for resilience.
    • Guaranteed income and benefits for at least three years—preferably five years—for all affected workers.
    • These mechanisms must be initiated before economic disruption begins.

    UNIONIZATION RIGHTS

    The transition must strengthen and protect the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and bargain collectively, free of coercion, intimidation, or harassment.

    JOB QUALITY 

    The transition must create inclusive, good-paying, family-sustaining jobs with adequate health, retirement, and other benefits and protections for workers’ health and safety. Quality jobs should provide much more than enough remuneration for survival. They should provide opportunities and skills training for households and communities to build wealth for greater resilience. They also should incorporate training to ensure that workers have the knowledge and skills needed to participate fully in the transitioning economy.

    JOB ACCESS

    The transition should include local, targeted hiring strategies, as well as specific goals for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

    FEDERAL JOBS GUARANTEE

    To ensure that the needed transition does not result in economic dislocation and large-scale unemployment, there should be a federal jobs guarantee ensuring that everyone who is able and willing can get meaningful work.

    Benefits should flow to workers as well as community members who have been chronically unemployed and underemployed, the undocumented, the formerly incarcerated, indigenous peoples, and all other populations that have not benefited from or have not been able to fully participate in the extractive economy.

    RURAL INVESTMENT

    Rural areas are characterized by low density of population, homes, and businesses per square mile and frequently have limited infrastructure and access to key services. Rural communities often experience reduced local tax base and inadequate public spending, and their residents are further burdened by increased spending and travel to access basic and critical services such as healthcare.

    • While these geographies may be high in greenhouse gas impacts from resource extraction or agriculture (grazing or agribusiness monocropping), they may also be rich in potential for carbon sequestration, from both forests and agriculture, offering great opportunities for mitigation with the right incentives.
    • More resources and infrastructure need to be appropriated to prepare and support vulnerable rural communities with emergency preparedness, recovery, and restoration. A just transition for rural communities must invest in rural educational attainment, provide universal rural broadband access and job skills training, and support rural prosperity.

    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Financing the Platform in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:44:02 -0400

    FINANCING THE PLATFORM


    • There is no higher priority for government investment than responding to the climate emergency. A national response to this threat should not be stymied by demands that all actions be fully funded by existing revenue or cuts in other government services. We face an existential crisis that demands an immediate response by the whole of society.
    • There are many federal government initiatives for which we do not ask the question, “How do we pay for it?”[19] Recent examples are expensive wars and tax cuts for major corporations and the wealthiest Americans.[20]
    • History, including very recent history, has demonstrated repeatedly that governments can engage in a large degree of deficit spending without harmful consequences.
    • The costs of responding effectively to the climate crisis cannot be considered in a vacuum. They must be considered in our current context, a world in which decades’ worth of reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and inaction by policymakers have set humanity on course for unspeakable disaster. The alternative to ambitious, large-scale climate action—failing to respond adequately—would not only abdicate our moral and constitutional responsibilities and cause unimaginable suffering and loss of life; it would be far more expensive than taking ambitious and equitable action to respond to the crisis.

    Switching to renewable energy will save trillions of dollars in fuel and health care costs, and the transition will involve massive investments that will create jobs and spur economic growth.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published GHG Pricing in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:43:58 -0400

    GREENHOUSE GAS PRICING


    GREENHOUSE GAS PRICING

    Not all carbon prices are created equal. A carbon price belongs in the USCAN Vision for Equitable Climate Action only if it meets very stringent requirements: 

    A carbon price must not be a primary source of revenue for climate funding. There are other, better ways of funding the necessary investments. Carbon pricing revenues will decrease as fossil fuel use declines and will not provide a reliable long-term funding source. In addition, climate action should not be limited by claims that sound policy must be entirely “paid for” “as you go,” by tax increases or other tradeoffs in government budgets. A carbon price should be employed to achieve specific climate policy objectives, including equitable treatment of communities affected by those objectives. 

    A carbon price should be progressive and must not be regressive. We recognize that even a fee placed at the point of extraction/import would have the effect of increasing the cost of living for consumers in the near term. As a result, a carbon price should be coupled with policies that offset increased costs to economically disadvantaged households and communities assist them in transitioning away from dependence on fossil fuels to cleaner, more affordable options; and benefit communities experiencing historical and present-day exploitation by the fossil fuel industry. Communities hurt by present-day and historical exploitation by the fossil fuel industry must also receive direct long-term health care assistance. 

    A carbon price must not allow any free permits. A persistent weakness of carbon markets (including California, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the European Emissions Trading System) is that there have been handouts of free allowances. There shouldn’t be any such handouts, period. At the same time, policies must be designed so that carbon prices do not incentivize the leakage of emissions sources to other jurisdictions.

    A carbon price must not create pollution hotspots or perpetuate environmental injustice. There is documented evidence that in some jurisdictions that have adopted a carbon price, such as California, polluting industries such as oil refiners have purchased rights to pollute instead of cutting pollution in those communities—disproportionately low-income and people of color—that have borne the greatest historical pollution burden. Any carbon pricing system must contain mechanisms that prevent this from occurring. In practice, this means that carbon pricing should not in any way be seen as an alternative to non-market-based regulations. This is particularly true in communities with severe air quality problems. 

    A carbon price must in practice cover all greenhouse gas emissions, with the sole exclusion of soil carbon and land-used emissions, as below. The price must cover emissions from all non-fossil-based fuels such as forest biomass and trash, and non-energy emissions such as refrigerants and cement manufacturing. It is imperative that we do not transition to fossil fuel replacements that emit even more greenhouse gases than fossil fuel sources. The pricing mechanisms must cover all methane emissions, including leaked emissions, and methane emissions should be priced based on their greenhouse gas impacts on a 20-year time horizon. All other climate forcers, such as hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon, must also be covered based on their climate impacts. 

    A carbon price should not be applied to soil carbon, livestock or land-use emissions. Mitigation can and must occur in these sectors, including reducing methane emissions from the livestock sector (especially concentrated feeding operations) and nitrous oxide from the overapplication of fertilizers, both of which have many environmental costs beyond climate change. However, other policy tools will be more effective at driving this mitigation than a price on carbon while also being more responsive to the many justice and equity issues in this sector, including the right to food and the need to support small, independent family farmers. The pricing mechanism should be applied to all fossil energy inputs associated with farming, such as tractor fuel.

    A carbon price must be placed at the point of extraction or import. This will help ensure that fossil fuel companies are forced to bear the true cost of fossil fuels and that the price is applied without loopholes or complex, manipulatable schemes that may be difficult to enforce. If companies pass along costs to consumers, the increased cost will still be forced into their business model. This fee at the point of extraction or import should be set to ensure that as consumption of oil decreases, the cost of oil remains high, deterring further extraction and preventing demand growth.

     A carbon price must not be enacted outside of a broader policy platform. Putting a price on carbon will not be enough to reduce U.S. emissions at the rate necessary. Any price on carbon must be accompanied by a suite of regulations and investment policies that rapidly transition the economy away from greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, a carbon price addresses the “demand side” by raising the price of fossil energy, but it cannot be effective without simultaneous “supply side” regulations such as a ban on new fossil fuel extraction, exploration, and processing facilities, and a phaseout of existing facilities.

    A carbon price must not be a bargaining chip. A carbon price must not be coupled with deregulation, liability limits, or other policies that make it more difficult to mitigate the climate crisis or other environmental harms. A carbon price is a complement to other climate and environmental policies, not a replacement for them.

    A carbon price must prevent a drop in fossil fuel prices as their use declines. A carbon price is an important tool to ensure that fossil fuels do not become so inexpensive that low fuel costs create a disincentive for making the transition to zero emission alternatives.

    A carbon price must be high and increase over time until we achieve zero emissions. If a carbon price is not high enough, it will not have the desired effect. The IPCC has said that a minimum carbon price in 2030 must be at least $135/ton carbon dioxide equivalent, and in 2050 the price must be $245/ton. A carbon price smaller than these numbers will not be worth enacting. The necessity of a high carbon price underscores the need to ensure that poor and vulnerable populations get a disproportionate rebate to ensure they come out ahead under the new pricing mechanism.

    A carbon price must be coupled with strong just transition provisions. When fossil fuel sectors go into decline because of market forces, which will happen if a carbon price is enacted, there is potential for rapid, destabilizing economic shifts in some regions that are dependent on extraction. These shifts affect workers as well as the tax base of local communities. Any carbon price must be accompanied by strong just transition provisions that ensure that workers and communities are not left stranded. An intentionally planned transition always produces more predictable and just outcomes than one left to the whims of market forces.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Geoengineering in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:43:54 -0400

    GEOENGINEERING


    Solar radiation management. Solar radiation management strategies aim to reflect a small proportion of the sun’s energy back into space, counteracting the temperature rise caused by increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that absorb energy and raise temperatures. These methods include injecting highly reflective sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere, seeking to increase the brightness of clouds by seeding them with salt from seawater droplets, and mounting mirrors on satellites to reducing incoming solar radiation.

    We oppose these solar radiation management approaches on the grounds that they could pose serious environmental risks. Those risks include altering precipitation patterns in a way that undermines food production in developing countries and slowing the replenishment of the ozone layer. Moreover, solar radiation management does not address the root causes of climate change and does not mitigate ocean acidification. It also could hamper climate solutions by reducing the efficiency of solar energy technologies. To rely on solar radiation management could lock future generations into continuing the technology or facing “termination shock,” rapid warming that gives species and ecosystems far too little time to adapt.

    We do not oppose low-tech strategies such as painting rooftops or paved spaces white, although it is unclear that they would contribute significantly to mitigating global warming. These strategies are low cost, low risk, and do not threaten agriculture or interfere with solar energy technologies. They also will help with climate adaptation in urban environments by mitigating heat-trapping and heat-islanding.

    Direct air capture. Direct capture of carbon dioxide from the air may be helpful on the margins, as one small part of a broader set of policies that achieve net zero carbon pollution and return atmospheric carbon to safe levels, and may be more relevant to some actors and sectors than other parts of the economy. Moreover, the IPCC has modeled scenarios consistent with keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C that rely entirely on natural solutions for carbon removal.

    But direct air capture is not a substitute for other climate policies, and we should not rely on it to meet climate goals. At present, the technology is only in the piloting phase. It is unlikely to become capable of removing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, and given its current state, it cannot meet the demands of aggressive decarbonization at the scale and on the timeline necessary.

    Direct air capture also carries significant risks. One is that it could incentivize the continued use of fossil fuels, which would needlessly harm countless communities, despoil the natural environment, diminish public health, and waste money. Carbon dioxide from direct air capture must not be used for enhanced oil recovery.

    Direct air capture is energy intensive; therefore, any use of direct air capture must account for competing uses for renewable energy, particularly because the rapid electrification of the economy may increase demand for electricity.

    Direct air capture should be used only at the margins of climate policy, to mitigate the impact of residual carbon pollution that cannot be phased out more quickly in a scenario of rapid, economy-wide decarbonization or, in a scenario of net-zero carbon pollution, to assist in restoring atmospheric carbon to safer levels. At the same time, climate policy should not encourage “overshoots,” in which atmospheric carbon is deliberately permitted to exceed safe thresholds for some period before being removed from the air.


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.


  • published Storage Technologies in VECA - Home 2023-08-30 14:43:50 -0400

    Storage Technologies


    Carbon capture and storage or utilization strategies aim to use technology to create systems that capture the carbon dioxide emissions from climate-polluting industries in an attempt to keep them from being released into the atmosphere. The claim is that the captured CO2 would then either be stored by pumping it into the ground or into unused oil wells or be utilized by turning the emissions into a product, or by using the CO2 gas for another purpose, such as injecting the captured CO2 into shale fields to frack for natural gas (known as “enhanced oil recovery”). For the reasons articulated below, no Vision for Equitable Climate Action should include carbon capture and storage or sequestration (CCS), carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) or bioenergy with CCS (BECCS), referred to collectively hereafter as “CCS technologies.”

    Development and deployment of CCS technologies is ineffective and would increase local emissions of toxic pollutants and fine particulates into communities (typically disproportionately affecting lower-income communities and communities of color), undermining health and safety. This is due not only to the continued and increased fossil fuel combustion that building and expanding CCS infrastructure would entail, but also to the fact that independent analysis finds that, contrary to industry claims, carbon-fuel combustion facilities with carbon capture technology (as well as direct air carbon capture and use facilities), only capture a small fraction (11%) of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere (and even that minor 11% is likely more than erased by leakages), while simultaneously increasing pollution into communities and undermining health. Further, claims by the biomass industry that BECCS is “carbon negative” are based on the false premise that bioenergy is carbon neutral, and, with regard to forest bioenergy, fail to account for stack emissions, reductions in forest carbon sequestration, and soil carbon loss that are caused by the removal of trees through logging.

    The considerable monetary  investment necessary to develop scalable CCS technologies  will restrict funding of known and tested means of reducing CO2 from the atmosphere.   For example, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and  Jobs Act (IIJA) allocates more than $12 billion for CCS technologies over the next ten years.  This money could have been used to transition away from fossil fuels and into community solar, or to invest in protecting forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems that draw carbon out of the atmosphere and protect communities and biodiversity from the impacts of extreme weather events brought on by climate change.

    In the near term (next decade) the development of CCS technologies is dependent on increased fossil fuel production and use and therefore increased emissions at a time when it is imperative that we both reduce emissions and draw down existing CO2 from our atmosphere.  This is because a 30% increase in fossil fuel production and combustion facilities nationally (and globally) would be required  in order to generate the enormous amount of additional power that is necessary to produce and install thousands of miles of CO2 pipelines and compress CO2 into liquid form for transport in the pipelines. Put simply, investment into CCS/CCUS/BECCS would just extend and increase the government subsidies and tax credits that already flow to the fossil fuel and logging industries. 

    Scaling the storage of CO2 emissions by pumping it into the ground would increase earthquake activity, leading to catastrophic releases of CO2 into the atmosphere, along with lethal toxic contaminants like Hydrogen Sulfide, which can kill people, animals, and plants.

    Scaling the storage of CO2 emissions by pumping it into the ground would acidify aquifers and poison drinking water, because CO2 dissolves in water and undergoes a chemical reaction that produces carbonic acid. 

    Scaling the capture, storage and or utilization of CO2 emissions would cause huge diversions of water from rivers and streams for industrial cooling purposes.

    Even if CCS technologies were effective and without tremendous downsides,  which it is not, we could not deploy it in the time frame necessary to actually mitigate the worst effects of climate change

    CCS technologies are not required to draw down atmospheric CO2, since ecological methods are just as effective. The IPCC found that it is feasible to draw down excess atmospheric carbon dioxide without recourse to experimental carbon capture and sequestration technologies by relying entirely on nature-based solutions, primarily forests, in combination with steeper emissions reductions. In addition, the IPCC noted that restoration of natural ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration, if done properly, could provide essential co-benefits such as improved biodiversity, soil quality, and local food security.  


    VISION FOR EQUITABLE CLIMATE ACTION

    The Vision for Equitable Climate Action (VECA) is a roadmap to prevent the worst of global warming. Acting equitably and ambitiously to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.



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