More news on the sustainability front: Last week, five major U.S. companies—Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Sun Microsystems, and Timberland—launched a new business coalition called Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). In association with Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest groups interested in sustainability, BICEP issued a challenge to U.S. lawmakers: create strong U.S. climate and energy legislation in 2009 with the goal of stimulating renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency and green jobs, requiring 100 percent auction of carbon allowances, and limiting new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions.
- Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
- Establish an economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.
- Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of our historic rate of energy efficiency improvement.
- Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.
- Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.
- Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially “green-collar” jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change’s economic impact.
- Adopt a national renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.
- Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.