Recommendations for Climate Legislation and Follow-on Climate Actions
- Remove tax subsidies from fossil fuel industries and use this funding to accelerate the production of heat pumps, solar and wind energy.
- Stop any funding of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Pipelines, an industry boondoggle, a waste of tax dollars and a risk to land and people.
- Utilize the “Emergency Production Act”. Identify the organizations that will build ’Heat Pumps. The first 500k are to be shipped to Europe to replace gas home heating units.
- Declare a “Climate Emergency” and implement the following actions to conserve fossil fuel energy.
- Establish an energy conservation program providing financial incentives to conserve energy in homes and businesses.
- Establish reduced speed limits to further conserve transportation energy.
- Encourage work at home with business leaders to reduce travel.
5. Include the $550 Billion funding that was identified in BBB Legislation to enable effective implement of this climate legislation and other climate actions.
6. Immediately announce financial incentives to purchase new electric cars and small trucks and provide incentives to install solar panels, electric heat pumps
7. Encourage executives building electric vehicles to establish an aggressive schedule.
8. Provide incentives to significantly increase regenerative farming. It is our natural carbon capture capability and must be ramped up quickly.
9. Fund the implementation of capping abandoned oil /gas wells to stop methane leaks.
10. Establish initial research capabilities to convert to alternative carbon free fuels for large trucks and air travel.
11. Continue to prioritize the funding that was originally going to Climate Justice Communities.
12. Work closely with the UN to establish global programs that address growing environmental needs. These include:
- reducing ocean pollution primarily caused by plastics.
- reducing the loss of rainforests from illegal poaching & protect forests from wild fires.
Two Financial Strategies to Reduce Fossil Fuel Carbon Emissions that are Devastating Our Planet!
Now that the U.N Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland is over resulting in some positive achievements and as we await the passage of the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better legislation proposed by President Biden, we would like to review two immediate initiatives to reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions.
The first is to continue to encourage organizations, both non-profit and profit to divest from fossil fuel companies.
The second is to encourage you to be active in a national campaign to help stop American banks from funding the production and expansion of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, the prime causes of the global climate crisis. The following is a brief review of present activity in each of these areas.
Bill McKibben, American environmentalist and founder of 350.org, is the person primarily responsible for starting the divestment from fossil fuels movement in 2012. Two years later, 181 institutions, mostly smaller universities, religious organizations and non-profit organizations with total assets of $50 billion dollars, had divested from fossil fuels. Since that time, the divestment movement has mobilized more than 1,485 institutions with combined assets of $39 trillion dollars to divest from fossil fuels. In the leadup to COP26, there was a flurry of new activity as more institutions joined this divestment movement. First in line, was the University of Toronto, encouraged by one of their most famous graduates, Naomi Klein. Others followed, Harvard University, The McArthur Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and Carnegie Foundation, heirs to Standard Oil, the oldest and largest the oil corporation. Also divested Boston University, Creighton University, Notre Dame University and Loyola University of Chicago. In addition, the Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow, Scotland on the eve of the COP26 conference, announced that they too were divesting from fossil fuels. The total divestment movement from fossil fuels has now reached $40 trillion dollars. This is a significant victory for the divestment movement, and is having a big impact on the growth of the fossil fuel industry and has increased their industry’s financial investment expenses. Also, from a historical perspective the divestment movement of South Africa was one of the primary causes for the collapse of their apartheid government.
However, much more needs to be done to stop the financial investments that the Wall Street banking organizations provide the fossil fuel industry and enable them to continue to expand their drilling and pipeline operations. Since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015, U.S. Banking organizations have provided $4 trillion dollars in financing to the coal, oil and gas industry.
State and Local Priorities and Actions
Our primary focus for the past year has been passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) *
We are represented on the Clean Energy Jobs Coalition that has worked with State-wide environmental groups that developed and proposed CEJA legislation. *
During the past year the CAPA Climate Group coordinating a coalition of six other local organizations to write an open letter to Governor Pritzker to take a leadership role in passing this legislation ASAP. This letter was then published in the Chicago Tribune and in the Springfield Register. In addition, each of the organizations posted the letter on their website and social media and encouraged their members to write personal letters to the Governor. (see attached letter) *
CAPA Climate Group members met with a number of State Representatives and Senators to encourage them to co-sponsor this legislation. *
We will continue to focus our efforts on CEJA until it is passed.
To further expand CEJA in Illinois the CAPA Climate Group has focused our efforts in further expanding the comprehensive energy plan for Illinois. We divided our efforts into two areas;
Regenerative Farming: We recently co-authored an Op-Ed to the Chicago Tribune with the Citizens’ Greener Evanston. It was published in the Evanston Round Table. It addressed the need for a 21st, Century Secretary of Agriculture, who would understand the need for a transformation from corporate ag to regenerative farming methods. This piece was endorsed by SOIL, Chicago 350.org, 350 Kishwaukee, and Sunrise Chicago. Three our members have written LTE to the NYT regarding the need for a Sec. of Agriculture who would understand the environmental and climate issues related to corporate agriculture: overuse of pesticides; contamination of our waterways; depletion of the natural ecosystems of the soil that provide the nutrients of healthy foods; and worker exposures to toxic chemicals. Finally, regenerative soil management has the ability to sequester up to 2.5 metric tons of CO2 per acre annually (USDA-NRCS), and sequester enough carbon to make the agricultural sector climate-neutral (EPA GHG Emission Inventory). We lost the battle for our endorsed candidates for Sec. of Ag. (Rep. C. Pingree and Rep. M. Fudge). Biden has named Tom Vilsack to this cabinet position. Vilsack held this position during the Obama administration and he has a history of supporting corporate agriculture and corporate profits over the need for healthy foods, worker safety, environmental contamination and climate resilience measures.
We will be working with Senator Durbin and other potential allies in congress who sit on the House and Senate Agriculture committees to monitor and shape the next four years of legislation affecting our farmers, our foods, our environment and climate.
Divesting state of ILLINOIS PENSIONS from fossil fuels and Investing in Renewable Energy. The CAPA Climate Group focused our efforts on the five largest state-run retirement plans.
These five plans manage a total of $100 billion in investments.
We identified the key executives in each of these plans.
We have now made presentations to all of the Boards to encourage them to divest in fossil fuels and invest in renewable sources of energy
One of our Board members has made each of these presentations and then followed-up with a copy of this presentation to each Board member.
We will continue to follow-up with these Board members as we go forward providing them with additional information on the advantages of divesting in fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy.
The CAPA Climate Group is now at the beginning stages of working with local Go-Green community groups on expanding community solar.
National Priorities and Actions
For the sixty days prior to the November 3rd, 2020 election the Climate Group spent most of our efforts in supporting national initiatives to elect a climate friendly President and Vice President. We are pleased that the Biden/Harris administration will enable us to finally move forward to address the climate crisis on a national and global basis.
We have reviewed the Biden Climate Plan they recently established and we are overall pleased with the wholistic approach of the plan, the emphasis on climate justice and the funding of $2 trillion dollars in support of this plan. However, there are two specific areas that needs to be improved. First, we need to get to a minimum of 70% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2030 not the 45% specified in the current plan. Second, we need to be 100% carbon free by 2040 not 2050 that is currently in the plan. These two changes would put this national climate plan in sync with the UN Emissions Program recommendations that are presently in place.
Recommendations on climate actions in the first 100 days of President Elect Biden. – CAPA recently joined a major national initiative of 20 national environmental organizations and 500 local environmental organizations. The initiative is called #Climate President. This initiative makes specific recommendations to President Elect Biden on climate action he should take in his first 100 days in office starting on January 20th, 2021. Some of these recommendations include, declaring a Climate Emergency, overturning the destructive Trump executive orders that were signed over the past 4 years, finalize and present to Congress the National Climate Plan that was recently developed. The complete list of these recommendations is on our website.
The Global status performance that is published each year by the U.N. Environmental Program called the Emissions Gap Review. The report indicates that the signature countries Ito the Paris Accords are not meeting their voluntary targets. As a result, unless we are able to make significant progress in getting these countries to increase their targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions our planet is presently on a catastrophic course of warming well beyond the I.5-degree safe limit.
We are presently in the process of further refining our climate strategies for the first half of 2021 and communicating with a number of other like-minded organizations on how and who to best communicate with as President Elect Biden finalizes plans and staff for 2021. We will be finalizing these plans before the first of the year.