Natural Resources Defense Council. April 2013.
Improving the energy efficiency of our manufacturing facilities, buildings, and homes can help us meet our energy challenges affordably. It can save consumers money on their energy bills, drive business competitiveness and economic growth and jobs, enhance grid reliability and flexibility, and help protect public health and the environment. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems are strong examples of how energy-efficiency technologies can help achieve these significant benefits for end-user facilities, utilities, and communities. As the case studies featured in this report illustrate, CHP systems are extremely versatile and can be used in a spectrum of industries and facilities, including advanced manufacturing, chemical production, food processing, primary metals, data centers, hotels, multifamily housing, district energy, health care, landfills, and farms. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/combined-heat-power-IP.pdf [PDF format, 33 pages].
Environment America Research & Policy Center. March 26, 2013.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a central strategy in the Northeastern states’ efforts to protect the region from global warming. The program, which took effect in 2009, has succeeded in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrating the effectiveness of cap-and-trade as a global warming solution while helping to sustain a growing regional economy. Now, nine Northeastern states are considering strengthening RGGI to drive additional reductions in global warming pollution. Strengthening RGGI would be a “win-win” for the Northeast, making an important contribution toward protecting the region from global warming while speeding the transition to a clean energy future. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. March 12, 2013.
The 113th Congress will likely consider reauthorization of the 2008 farm bill and may reconsider proposals debated in the 112th Congress to address expiring farm bill provisions, including provisions that either directly or indirectly support local food systems. Although the 2008 farm bill contained few specific programs that directly support local and regional food systems, many community and farm advocacy groups have been arguing that such food systems should play a larger policy role within the next farm bill, and that laws should be modified to reflect broader, more equitable policies across a range of production systems, including local food systems. The 112th Congress introduced legislation, including several comprehensive marker bills, which would have expanded the benefits for local and regional food systems. These issues may continue to be of interest in the 113th Congress.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42155.pdf [PDF format, 65 pages].
Center for American Progress. March 7, 2013.
In the past several years, small groups of some of the world’s largest carbon polluters have joined forces to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their overall efforts to slow the pace of dangerous global warming. These efforts include the G20 leaders’ 2009 pledge to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies; the launch of a number of efforts on clean energy cooperation through the global Clean Energy Ministerial starting in 2010; and the creation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants a year ago, which started with six nations and has now grown to 27 countries plus the European Union. The report propose that the 17 parties in the Major Economies Forum, the U.S.-led coalition of the world’s largest carbon emitters, set a target of generating 40 percent of their electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2035, the “40×35″ target. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/40x35ZeroCarbonBrief-2.pdf [PDF format, 19 pages].
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. February 14, 2013.
On October 15, 2012, the Obama Administration took a major step toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from motor vehicles when it promulgated GHG emission standards for model year 2017-2025 light duty vehicles. Under the standards, GHG emissions from new cars and light trucks will be reduced about 50% by 2025 compared to 2010, and average fuel economy standards will rise to nearly 50 miles per gallon. EPA had previously set GHG emission standards for MY2012-2016 vehicles as well as for 2014-2018 model year medium- and heavy-duty trucks. These steps have been taken as the Congress (particularly the House) and the Administration have reached an impasse over climate issues. The Administration has made clear that its preference would be for Congress to address the climate issue through new legislation. Nevertheless, in the wake of a 2007 Supreme Court decision, it has moved forward on several fronts to define how the Clean Air Act (CAA) will be used and to promulgate regulations. The key to using the CAA’s authority to control greenhouse gases was for the EPA Administrator to find that GHG emissions are air pollutants that endanger public health or welfare.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40506.pdf [PDF format, 22 pages].