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Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience

by Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)
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Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Engaging with Congress on Climate and Resilience
Affordable passive house building  (K. Naji-Allah)
Affordable passive house building (K. Naji-Allah)

Is it possible for housing to be energy-efficient, green, and affordable, all at the same time? How can it be done? Does it have anything to do with the Clean Power Plan, or is that simply about power plants? With your support, EESI examined these questions in a recent public briefing, and received tremendous positive feedback about the forum’s value. You can watch it online here – or read below about the issue and how you helped! 

Thanks in part to your support of EESI’s project on GlobalGiving, Congressional staff, media, and the policy community learned more about energy-efficient, green affordable housing in EESI’s recent briefing, whether they were attending in-person or online.

Housing that is both green and affordable can improve health and safety for lower-income families, while also providing economic and environmental benefits to state and local governments. Moreover, green affordable housing can serve as one part of a state’s Clean Power Plan compliance strategy.

This briefing was one in a series on environmental justice that you, and others like you, are helping to make possible. Your support helps highlight the importance of environmental justice as it relates to the EPA's Clean Power Plan, the nation's first-ever regulation limiting carbon pollution from power plants. Energy-efficient buildings offer significant opportunities for curbing climate change because buildings use about 40 percent of our country's total energy and more than 70 percent of its electricity.

EESI’s own Ellen Vaughan, Policy Director for Sustainable Buildings, opened the briefing, noting that sustainable buildings are good for people and communities. She noted that energy costs can be a significant burden for low-income households; people who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage are hit the hardest with high energy bills. Yet sadly that is too often the case for low-income families. Sustainable, affordable housing retrofits as well as new construction can dramatically cut energy costs and improve comfort and health!

Expert speakers showcased sustainable affordable housing developments in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the retrofit of a low-income housing development in Washington, DC. States are being encouraged to reduce energy demand as a way to cut carbon pollution. Though the Clean Power Plan's implementation has been temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court, at least 22 states have voluntarily decided to press ahead.

The Clean Power Plan rewards states that implement energy efficiency projects in low-income communities, which have historically suffered from high levels of air pollution and high energy bills, through the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). Making new construction more sustainable and improving existing affordable housing to be more energy efficient, safe, and healthful can therefore be key strategies for Clean Power Plan compliance.

This will also make communities more resilient to extreme weather, economic downturns and other hardships--a win-win that you are helping to make possible with your GlobalGiving gifts to EESI!

Weinberg Commons in DC
Weinberg Commons in DC
EESI's Ellen Vaughan opens the briefing
EESI's Ellen Vaughan opens the briefing

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EESI highlights the benefits of clean energy
EESI highlights the benefits of clean energy

2015 has been such a critical year for U.S. and global environmental progress—thanks to you and others like you who helped press for action through your Global Giving donation. The substantial progress that was made includes:

  • The finalization of the Clean Power Plan in August, the largest near-term opportunity for CO2 reductions from the power sector in our country. EESI held a series of briefings on the Clean Power Plan, showcasing how it could be cost effectively implemented by states.
  • A steady drumbeat of countries coming forth with their national plans for climate action, including substantial commitments from China and India (indeed, more than 180 countries submitted their climate plans this year!). EESI looked at what China is doing to cut its carbon emissions in a summer briefing.
  • A strong agreement coming out of the Paris climate negotiations, including a goal to keep global warming as low as possible (even lower than the previous international goal of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to look at each country's progress every five years (see EESI’s analysis of the Paris climate agreement).

You have played a critical role in all of this with your support on Global Giving! Thanks to your generous support in 2015, EESI engaged policymakers on Capitol Hill and staffers at federal agencies to generate the momentum for action.

Now let's make sure we keep this momentum going strong! YOU can advance clean energy in 2016 – when you act today with a year-end 2015 tax deductible gift!

During the climate negotiations in Paris, EESI held a briefing on how the United States and Europe can work together to advance renewable energy. Expert speakers discussed how all levels of governments in the European Union and United States can expand their collaboration on renewable energy to create a more sustainable economy.

The briefing featured a new report by the Center for Climate Strategies, which will examine common challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector that are prime candidates for new or enhanced forms of transatlantic collaboration.

Briefing attendees were invited to provide comments and input for the report; they discussed how enhanced transatlantic cooperation can help set the stage for new investments and technologies through greater thought leadership, information sharing, and technical assistance.

In addition to making such briefings possible, you and your support also funds key, fact-filled publications. Just recently, your generous support helped us publish a Fact Sheet on Jobs in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (2015), in order to help our policymakers understand the economic benefits of clean energy!

You can help advance clean energy policy in 2016 with a gift to EESI through the Global Giving website today! And remember, there are only a few days left to qualify for a 2015 tax deduction!

You are definitely making a difference as we tackle climate change with your Global Giving gift to EESI. Thanks again!

Tom Peterson speaking at briefing on renewables
Tom Peterson speaking at briefing on renewables
full house at EESI briefing on renewable energy
full house at EESI briefing on renewable energy

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Audience at September 28 offshore wind briefing
Audience at September 28 offshore wind briefing

Did you know that, in many places, the wind blows more powerfully and steadily offshore than over land? This enables offshore wind farms to generate a greater amount of consistent electricity than land-based wind farms. Despite the benefits of offshore wind, there are currently no operational offshore wind farms in U.S. waters. Europe, by contrast, has been generating power from offshore wind farms since 1991.

But things may be changing soon. That’s where YOU come in! You are already helping us organizing crucial fact-filled briefings to educate policymakers on offshore wind and other complex topics. Thanks to your dedication, last month EESI held a very well-received briefing, "Offshore Wind: Can the U.S. Catch Up with Europe?," examining offshore wind developments in U.S. waters – and showcasing Europe's great success with this technology. In addition to members of the policy community, reporters often attend our briefings, resulting in articles such as this one in Scientific American. Making such media coverage possible is an important way you are helping to increase knowledge of complex, important energy and environmental topics – thanks again!   

Your support allowed us to bring experts together for this important panel on offshore wind. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski explained that the first U.S. offshore wind project is expected to come online in summer 2016 at Block Island, 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is leading the Block Island project, which will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, enough to power 17,000 homes. The Project Development Director for U.S. Wind, Paul Rich, shared that his company is working on a much larger project off the coast of Maryland, where it plans to have 500 MW of offshore wind operating by 2020. These developments are promising for the growing U.S. offshore wind industry. Officials from the German and British Embassies explained that offshore wind is a far more mature power source in Europe, with more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power currently operating.

Efforts in the Senate have sought to catalyze the young U.S. offshore wind industry. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act this past July, to provide a 30-percent investment tax credit for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind put online. Such an incentive would help the United States realize some of offshore wind's potential, which the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates is more than 4,000 GW, enough to meet all U.S. electricity needs four times over.

Thanks to your generosity, you are helping EESI move clean energy policy forward; you should feel great about that!  

You can help bring more important discussions forward when you renew your support for clean energy policy with a gift to EESI through the Global Giving website today! You are definitely making a difference as we tackle climate change with your Global Giving gift to EESI. Thanks again!

Celebrate America's progress toward cleaner energy
Celebrate America's progress toward cleaner energy
Deepwater, the first U.S. offshore wind farm
Deepwater, the first U.S. offshore wind farm
Senator Thomas Carper opening up the briefing
Senator Thomas Carper opening up the briefing
The map illustrates how strong offshore winds are
The map illustrates how strong offshore winds are

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Today is Global Giving Bonus Day! Since you are an EESI supporter through Global Giving, I wanted to be sure to alert you of this special opportunity to make an even stronger impact TODAY!

As of now, Global Giving’s partner nonprofits--including EESI--are competing for the chance to receive as much of Global Giving's matching funds as possible. There are $115,000 in Bonus Day matching funds available today! As a Global Giving “Superstar” partner, donations to EESI through the Global Giving website are matched at 50% for gifts of up to $1,000 per donor!

This is the highest matching reward level EESI has ever reached, thanks to you! Any size donation—from $10 to $1,000—will help EESI win bonus gifts of $1,000 by being the organization to earn the most funds and/or have the most individual donors today. It’s the biggest Global Giving matching gift opportunity of the year. We expect funds to run out before the end of the day. Don’t miss this chance to stretch your gift for energy and climate policy engagement further than ever by acting now!

With the Clean Power Plan high on policymakers’ agenda--yet misunderstood and under fire from many sources--today is a very exciting day to give and show your support for climate and energy solutions. 

Your gifts through Global Giving allow EESI to hold critical briefings and events that help educate policymakers in Congress about clean energy and the wide array of solutions to climate change. For example, your gifts, combined with those of others like you, made the 18th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum last Thursday possible! Close to 50 organizations showcased to Congress the wide variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies--including solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass—that can sustainably meet our energy needs. This year’s EXPO drew in close to 1,000 people throughout the day. They came to learn about companies that are working to make clean energy and energy efficiency a reality throughout our nation, creating domestic jobs in the process. This was an amazing opportunity for Congressional staff to hear from clean energy companies, and for EXPO attendees and exhibitors to hear from Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Yesterday, EESI held a public briefing and live webcast, “What Action is China Taking on Climate Change?” in partnership with the World Resources Institute. Timed to coincide with the release of China's national plans for climate mitigation, this was an incredibly important opportunity for the policymaking community to learn about the climate actions China has taken and plans to take as it looks ahead to the international negotiations in Paris. China is the highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world (the United States comes second), making its commitments particularly critical.

Your renewed support—especially today, on Bonus Day—allows EESI to continue to spread the word to Congress about the importance of addressing climate change both domestically and internationally!

Thank you so much for supporting EESI in finding real solutions for energy and climate challenges, especially on this special Global Giving Bonus Day! You help EESI engage with Congress and the Administration on the Clean Power Plan, the run up to the international negotiations in Paris, the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and much, much more.

Learning About Solar Energy
Learning About Solar Energy
Discovering Grid Alternatives
Discovering Grid Alternatives
Networking at the EXPO
Networking at the EXPO

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EESI’s work to engage policymakers on the Clean Power Plan continues to move forward in 2015 thanks to YOU!

Thanks to your generosity, you are helping EESI move our nation forward with reducing carbon emission levels, improving energy efficiency, and advancing clean and sustainable energy. Approximately one year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft of the Clean Power Plan, the largest near-term opportunity to reduce carbon and achieve critical climate goals! Your support helped EESI spring into action to engage with policymakers about this important opportunity.

You can help us keep up a strong drumbeat to engage policymakers on these high-stakes issues and the Clean Power Plan during Global Giving Bonus Day! Starting next week on Wednesday, July 15, Global Giving will be generously matching gifts of up to $1,000 made on the Global Giving platform with a special 50% bonus because YOUR support has made us one of Global Giving’s best partners, qualifying us for higher rewards. Global Giving is making a pool of $115,000 in matching gifts and prizes available. You can help us win a prize if we raise the most money or receive the greatest number of gifts on that day! All gifts from $10 up to $1,000 qualify for bonus matching funds—while funds remain. The Bonus Day starts at 9am EDT on the 15th, so mark your calendar now!

The Clean Power Plan is a great opportunity for carbon mitigation, but there is some confusion among policymakers and key stakeholders over the complexities and details of the proposed regulation and how it will affect renewable energy, electricity prices, and state economies across the United States. EESI has aimed to address these concerns through informative, fact-filled public briefings on Capitol Hill so that policymakers, the media, and key stakeholders can understand the Clean Power Plan’s great opportunity for advancing clean energy!

Thanks to your dedication, last month EESI held a packed briefing and live webcast called “How Can States Comply with the Clean Power Plan?” At this event, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies’ Executive Director Bill Becker emphasized the options and flexibility states have to address carbon emissions based on their specific needs and target levels.

In another briefing on the Clean Power Plan that you helped make possible, EESI brought together top experts to look at legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan. Michael Burger of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law advised EESI’s audience that the EPA is authorized to require carbon reductions under the Clean Air Act.

With your renewed Global Giving support, you can help EESI help policymakers and the public understand the benefits for our health and our climate of implementing the Clean Power Plan. You’re also helping us showcase the many options states have for moving forward. 

Ultimately, the success of the Clean Power Plan will play an important role in getting the U.S. to fulfill its pledge to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions by at least 25% by 2025, as part of the run-up to the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris this December.

Thanks to your Global Giving giftsyou are helping your country provide for healthier societies, away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards sustainable energy. Here at EESI, we deeply appreciate your support for sustainable energy and engagement with Congress through your gifts on Global Giving and hope that you will renew that support on Global Giving Bonus Day, Wednesday, July 15th. Thank you so very much.

Smokestacks, Lake MI (CC courtesy Cindy Snider Re)
Smokestacks, Lake MI (CC courtesy Cindy Snider Re)
Smokestacks in MI (CC courtesy MjZ Photography)
Smokestacks in MI (CC courtesy MjZ Photography)
Solar Farm (CC courtesy Brookhaven National Lab.)
Solar Farm (CC courtesy Brookhaven National Lab.)
Sunflower Solar (CC courtesy Sterling College)
Sunflower Solar (CC courtesy Sterling College)
Illinois Wind Farm (CC courtesy Tom)
Illinois Wind Farm (CC courtesy Tom)

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Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)

Location: Washington, DC - USA
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Daniel Bresette
Washington, DC United States
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