Getting America Back on Course

By William S. Becker With important elections coming up this fall and in 2020, the American people will have opportunities to correct the mistake of putting Donald Trump in the White House, where he has used his office to undermine some of our most important institutions and laws. Trump’s damage has been widespread. Others have spoken about his impact on international relations; the stewardship of public lands; the press and the courts; the government’s divorce from science; and so on. Of special importance to those of us in the environmental sector is Trump’s great leap backward on environmental protection, energy policy and climate change. The question now is what we can do to rebuild what Trump and his minions have weakened or destroyed. On these and other issues, there seems to be three levels of volume in national politics right now. There is virtually no sound coming from the Democratic Party. It seems to have no message beyond an implicit “We’re not Trump”. Perhaps party strategists are content to remain quiet and hope that Trump will hang himself along with

The Job Impacts of Deep Decarbonization

We no longer have to speculate about the impact of clean energy on the economy. The record shows that clean energy is an economic engine that creates more jobs and more stable jobs than fossil fuels. PCAP’s Common Ground Series This paper is one in a series of issue briefings the Presidential Climate Action Project is preparing for the presidential candidates and the next president’s transition team on issues where there is potential for bipartisan cooperation. The Sustainable Jobs Engine When pollsters ask the American people to rank the national issues they think are most important, jobs and the economy typically top the list while climate change and energy sit near the bottom. But there is an abundance of evidence today that the clean energy technologies necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change are powerful job producers. They would produce many more jobs if the United States set its sights on the ultimate climate stabilization goal: a net zero carbon economy by 2050 and a net-negative carbon economy by 2070. If those goals seem unrealistic, then consider: Net-zero carbon does not

December 1st, 2016|Common Ground Series|

The President’s Power to Convene

The growing severity of flooding in the United States, coupled with aging dams and levees and broken national flood control policies, will confront  the next President in 2017 as the National Flood Insurance Program comes before Congress for reauthorization. PCAP Executive Director William Becker addresses the issue in one of his Huffington Post blogs. read the entire article

October 17th, 2016|Common Ground Series|

Building a 21st Century Power System

  PCAP’s Common Ground Series This paper is one in a series of issue briefings the Presidential Climate Action Project is preparing for the presidential candidates and the next president’s transition team on issues where there is potential for bipartisan cooperation. The United States has reached an inflection point in its energy mix and the infrastructure necessary to support it. Several disruptive forces are at work. We are being pulled toward a cleaner energy economy by new and increasingly competitive energy technologies that offer significant environmental, social, economic and national security advantages over the old. We are being pushed into a historic transition of America’s energy economy by a variety of risks and realities, among them the need to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion; reduce the power system’s vulnerability to cyber-attack, service interruptions and extreme weather; protect public health from other energy-related air and water pollution; conserve essential natural resources including fresh water supplies; and respond to the growing desire of consumers to produce their own energy. This inflection point offers a once-in-a-century opportunity to ensure that

Restoring Natural Carbon Sinks

This paper is one in a series of issue briefings the Presidential Climate Action Project is preparing for the presidential candidates and the next president’s transition team on issues where there is potential for bipartisan cooperation. In brief: The global response to climate change should not stop at eliminating greenhouse gas pollution. Our goal should go beyond net-zero carbon emissions to net-negative carbon emissions. In other words, we should not only prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere; we should also reduce the CO2 that is already there. The first priority should be to restore and protect natural “carbon sinks” -- oceans, soils, forests, wetlands and grasslands. Many of them have been destroyed or degraded by human development. In addition to sequestering CO2, these ecosystems provide a wide variety of important services at no cost, from helping to control floods to recharging groundwater and providing wildlife habitat – co-benefits that engineered carbon sequestration cannot claim. The next president should launch a national program to rehabilitate these sinks. Without taking full advantage of bio-sequestration, If we do not do so it is

National Security & Climate Change

PCAP’s Common Ground Series This paper is one in a series of issue briefings the Presidential Climate Action Project is preparing for the presidential candidates and the next president’s transition team on issues where there is potential for bipartisan cooperation. Executive Summary Many of America’s top military and intelligence agencies during Republican and Democrat administrations have warned that climate change is a serious threat to national security. National defense agencies call it a “threat multiplier” and an “accelerant of instability”, meaning that its impacts will make existing security threats more severe. Some nations in the most volatile regions of the world are likely to be further destabilized by the impacts of global warming. Some may suffer state failure. Others will experience humanitarian crises caused by weather disasters, famine, drought and floods. Millions of the world’s people will become climate refugees, displaced from their homelands by these climate impact. In addition, climate change threatens the operations and effectiveness of U.S. military forces, most immediately from the impacts of rising seas on coastal military facilities and training grounds at home and abroad.i