NW Energy Coalition Resolution on Greenhouse Gas Emissions
October 2007, Section G approved by Executive Board March 20, 2008
Whereas there is scientific consensus that the planet is heating due to the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere, and
Whereas the overwhelming portion of the increase in carbon dioxide is coming from human causes, including combustion of petroleum, natural gas, and coal, and
Whereas scientists agree that worldwide greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to at least 80 percent below current levels to reduce the probability of catastrophic climate change, and
Whereas the Northwest will see significant adverse impacts from climate change in reduced snow pack, sea level rise, damage to watersheds, forests, agriculture and fish and wildlife (for example, putting additional pressure on already endangered salmon and steelhead), changes to the hydropower system, and
Whereas these impacts will have serious consequences for the environment, economy, communities and people of the Northwest, and
Whereas the need to address climate change should not be used as a basis to ignore the cost, risks, and environmental effects associated with hydroelectric and nuclear power facilities, and
Whereas the NW Energy Coalition has a clear policy stating that all load growth in the Northwest shall be met with energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, and
Whereas investments in clean energy will create sustainable economic development and good family wage jobs for Northwest workers,
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the NW Energy Coalition:
a) That a national and/or regional or state system of greenhouse gas regulation be implemented at the earliest possible time, and
b) That a mechanism immediately establish legally binding limits on carbon dioxide emissions from all human-controlled sources at levels that steadily decline to reach 80% below 2007 levels by 2050, and
c) That all sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, agriculture, etc) should share proportionately in greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and
d) That any mechanism recognize that the atmosphere belongs to the public, and therefore no “rights to pollute” will be allocated automatically to any emitter or polluter, and
e) That any mechanism account for the carbon dioxide reductions achieved through the deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, and
f) That any mechanism provide for a cap that automatically decreases until the target emission level is achieved, a carbon tax that automatically increases until the target emission level is achieved or a combination or phase-in of these two mechanisms. Emissions reductions must be verifiable and based on transparent, mandatory reporting by all entities and sectors covered by emissions reduction obligations, and
g) That 100% auction is the desirable final structure for credit allocations in the electric and natural gas utility industry. During any transition from partial or full direct (no-cost) allocation, a cap and trade system should incorporate the following principles regarding the distribution of allowances:
• Ensure that the costs of addressing emissions rest with the emitter.
• Decrease the allocation level over time in a manner that mitigates economic impacts.
• Ensure that any economic benefits accrue to the utilities’ customers.
• Should not penalize investments in conservation and renewable energy resources.
• Any allowances distributed for free should go to load serving entities.
• Allocation formulas must take into account verified savings from energy efficiency investments by load serving entities or by non-profit entities acquiring energy efficiency on behalf of customers of load serving entities.
At this time the Coalition is taking no position between load-based or emissions-based allocation.
h) That the revenue received from a carbon reduction mechanism be added to investments in clean renewable energy technologies, clean energy research and development, energy efficiency programs and measures, clean advanced non-fossil fuel technologies, environmental remediation activities, low income energy programs, support for affected communities and displaced workers, and appropriate adaptation measures and not be expended or rebated in any way that would result in increased consumption of fossil fuels, and
i) That any mechanism should ensure goods imported from nations that are not making at least comparable efforts to constrain emissions reflect their carbon footprints (e.g. by the acquisition of emission credits in the U.S. prior to sale or use in the U.S.), to prevent overseas manufacturers from undercutting U.S. companies and workers, or create incentives to shut down existing plants and relocate to other locations where there are weaker environmental standards, and
j) That any and all policies and mechanisms established to create alternatives to fossil fuel combustion must support and enhance development of energy efficiency and clean renewable energy resources and clean fuels, and
k) That voluntary purchases of renewable energy by utility customers in green power programs and by other voluntary purchases or Renewable Energy Certificates, must reduce CO2 emissions below the amount required under the cap. The possibility of double counting of renewable energy generation or its environmental benefits must be eliminated, and
l) That policies developed to slow and stop global heating must, to the maximum extent possible, also help meet public demands and legal requirements for abundant salmon, healthy rivers, clean and affordable energy, and help preserve the Northwest’s treasured quality of life.
Adopted by the NW Energy Coalition Board with instructions to the NW Energy Coalition Executive Board for a final section g)
May 19, 2007
Section g) adopted by NW Energy Coalition Executive Board to complete the resolution per the Board’s instructions
July 19, 2007
Amendments made and adopted by NW Energy Coalition Board
October 13, 2007
Section g) adopted by NW Energy Coalition Executive Board upon the recommendation of the Coalition climate change work group.
March 20, 2008