1. Economists say Congress must auction cap and trade credits
SACE released a statement signed by more than 600 economists who agree that Congress must auction pollution allowances in a carbon cap-and-trade program, rather than give them away for free to polluters.
In a carbon cap-and-trade program polluters must have a credit, or allowance, for each unit of pollution they produce. One of the most important issues in designing a cap-and-trade is how we distribute the credits. While the hundreds of economists who signed our position statement represent both ends of the policy spectrum and come from a diverse set of institutions, they share a consensus that auctions, not free credits, create the most efficient and equitable program to cap global warming pollution while protecting the economy.
England is already dealing with the consequences of giving free credits to polluting industries. As a result, energy prices went up and polluting industries walked away with massive profits. Instead, making polluting industries pay for their pollution equips governments with the money needed to offset price increases through dividends, tax relief or investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
SACE delivered this statement in a press conference before Congress on March 4, showing that auctioning pollution allowances will be the most effective way to create a successful program that addresses global warming while promoting a healthy economy. To learn more about a carbon cap-and-trade program, visit our FAQ’s or email SACE’s Federal Policy Director Jennifer Rennicks.
2. Power Shift 2009 draws largest-ever crowd of activists
From February 27 until March 1, 12,000 young leaders from all fifty states, every Canadian province, and about a dozen nations convened in Washington D.C. for Power Shift 2009, the largest-ever gathering of climate and clean energy activists in U.S. history.
The Southern Energy Network (SEN), a project sponsored by SACE, helped recruit 1,000 Southern youth for the event. The conference included hundreds of workshops and panels of all kinds. Keynote speakers included young leaders, officials from the Obama administration, mayors, indigenous leaders, and more. Videos of keynote speakers are available online.
At one event, Southerners joined thousands of people including a number of scientists, celebrities, writers, and other leaders for the Capitol Coal Action. The demonstration shut down the Capitol coal plant for the afternoon to build awareness about the need for federal action on climate change. Just one week earlier, House and Senate majority leaders issued a statement that the Capitol coal plant would stop using coal and switch to 100 percent natural gas.
SEN was involved in planning unique events at Power Shift, such as the six state “breakouts,” organized to strengthen statewide networks of southern youth and to plan future actions and events. In addition, SEN and SACE staff supported more than 40 youth lobby meetings on Monday, March 1. The meetings were very well attended; one meeting with Florida Senator Mel Martinez’ staff was attended by more than 100 young people! SEN is joining other members of the Energy Action Coalition to bring the energy home and keep the pressure on.
We are supporting efforts to schedule follow up meetings, continue the conversation with our elected officials, and set the tone for bold climate legislation this year. Check out SEN’s blog for more stories about Power Shift 2009.
3. SACE briefs Congress on biomass
SACE gave a congressional briefing on March 4 before our nation’s decision makers to demonstrate the potential for sustainably harvested biomass as an important renewable energy resource. The briefing was one of four panels organized by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) entitled, “Forest Biomass and Its Role in a National Renewable Electricity Standard.”
The term “biomass” describes different types of plant material or animal waste that can be used to create electricity, a process referred to as “biopower.” Biopower is a renewable, sustainable, low-carbon energy source that is widely available in the Southeast and plays a significant role in clean energy future of our region.
According to SACE’s recent report, biopower comprises almost half of the region’s renewable energy potential in the near term, and therefore represents a significant portion of the South’s capacity for expanding renewable energy now. Its use over the long term will complement other renewable energy sources, as it will play a diminishing role as wind energy and solar power and energy efficiency infrastructure are further developed in the future.
This congressional briefing was part of SACE’s larger effort to support a robust national renewable energy standard, a federal policy that would require electricity providers to supply a specific percentage of electricity from clean, renewable sources. Electricity from biomass is an important part of a holistic strategy to address climate change, diversify our energy mix, create new job opportunities, and build a sustainable, clean energy economy.
To learn more about sustainable biomass in the national renewable energy standard, contact Anne Blair, SACE’s bioenergy and clean diesel program manager or John Bonitz, SACE’s farm outreach and policy advocate.
4. Shop SACE to celebrate Earth Month
Every year during the month of April, ordinary citizens who care about the environment work together to help raise awareness and participate in activities that celebrate our planet.
There are several things you can to make a difference. Subscribing to SACE’s RSS feed is a great way to get the latest information on climate and energy issues in the Southeast. This Earth Month, make a commitment to stay current and learn more about the clean energy future of our region by reading our RSS updates.
You can also show your support by visiting the SACE store and purchasing gifts for your friends and family. Our environmentally friendly tote bags, t-shirts, and hats will demonstrate the growing support for clean energy and global warming action in our region. As we work together to mobilize our communities around these issues, you can send a message that you care about the air we breathe and the water we depend on. Start a chain reaction of support for clean energy with change you can wear!
5. Upcoming events
April 8: Cliffside Climate Action Day Preparation.
Join us at South Asheville’s Earth Fare (1856 Hendersonville Rd.) from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in preparation for the Cliffside Action Day to take place Monday, April 20. Help organize and plan for hundreds of North Carolinians to rally in Charlotte, N.C. and speak out against construction of Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal-fired power plant. Hosted by Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Regional Program Director Ulla Reeves. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
April 13: How to get started on energy efficiency projects.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy invites you to learn how to get started on energy efficiency projects in your home, business, or school. The event will be held from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Wild Wing Café at 27 Barnard St, Savannah, GA 31401, and will feature Michael Frey of Melaver, Inc., a green building, sustainable development and consulting company.
April 14: How to get started on solar energy projects.
St. Simons Island, Ga.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy invites you to learn how to get started on solar energy projects in your home, business, or school. The event will feature Keith Freeman with One World Sustainable from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at The A.W. Jones Heritage Center located at 620 Beachview Dr., St. Simons Island, 31522.April 14 – 15: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Conference.
The sixth annual North Carolina Sustainable Energy Conference will examine policies such as the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, renewal of federal tax credits, an expected energy-related stimulus package, as well as the volatility of conventional fuels. The event will be held at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. To learn more or to register, visit http://continuingeducation.ncsu.edu/sec.html.April 18: Music and ‘Cue.
Join SACE Saturday afternoon from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at South Asheville’s Earth Fare (1856 Hendersonville Rd.) for live music from the Knitty Naughty String Band and barbeque meal. Eco-friendly clothing and merchandise will be available for purchase and an incandescent light bulb station will be set up for recycling.Interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home? At the event, SACE’s research director, John Wilson, will discuss his personal experience greening his Asheville home and share some of the latest research on energy efficiency. This session begins at 1:00 p.m. Email email@example.com for more information.
April 20: A Call to Conscience: Cliffside Climate Action.
Join a broad range of public interest groups at 10 a.m. in downtown Charlotte to insist that Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers cancel construction of the new, but unnecessary Cliffside power plant. If built, Cliffside would emit six million tons of carbon dioxide each year from coal extracted through mountaintop removal mining. This Earth Day, bring your children and join us as we speak out to stop the construction of Cliffside and all new coal-fired power plants. The future is up to us. The time to act is now! Visit www.stopcliffside.org to learn more.April 22: Kilowatt Ours Screening.
Kilowatt Ours is a timely, solutions-oriented look at one of America’s most pressing environmental challenges. Filmmaker Jeff Barrie offers hope as he turns the camera on himself and asks, “How can I make a difference?” Join SACE for a screening of the film from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at South Asheville’s Earth Fare (1856 Hendersonville Rd). Snacks and beverage provided. Donation requested. Please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.May 19: Green Cities Florida 2009.
Green Cities Florida is a conference designed to give businesses, community organizations, municipalities and public agencies the tools and resources they need to shift their policies, operations, and materials in ways that save money, generate jobs, and protect the environment. The conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center South Concourse Building located at 9899 International Drive in Orlando. The event begins at 5 p.m. on Tues. May 19 and will continue through 6 p.m. on Thurs. May 21. For more information, contact Nick Algee.