Each month, we explore a climate policy topic in depth, bringing in experts and pushing forward the conversation. Scroll further to watch our previous webinars and read our recaps on each topic.
Note: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by our guests do not necessarily reflect those of Climate XChange.
The Road to 100% Renewable Energy
The concept of 100% renewable energy is rising as a policy choice for reducing carbon pollution. In recent years, several cities and states have committed to 100% renewable energy or net-zero goals, and President Joe Biden has committed to carbon neutrality nationwide before 2050 in his most recent climate plan.
February’s Deep Dive webinar looked at these policies under a microscope. What is the difference between 100% renewable, net-zero, and carbon neutrality? How can we ensure the protection of jobs in a massive energy transition? How can we ensure that vulnerable populations are protected? What technology is needed to achieve 100% renewable energy? How can we pass these policies in legislatures across the country?
We were joined by Dr. Erin Mayfield, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the High Meadows Environmental Institute, who discussed a recent report released by Princeton University, Net-Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure, and Impacts, of which she was a collaborator. Aiko Schaefer, Director of the 100% Network, shared her experiences advancing 100% renewable energy policies that benefit people of color and harbor a just transition. Jeremy Caron, Sustainability Program Manager at City of Des Moines, shared his on-the-ground experience of getting a 100% renewable energy standard passed in Des Moines, Iowa. And Chad Stephens, Ohio Ready for 100 Conservation Program Coordinator, detailed the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign Toolkits and resources with a particular focus on Ohio Ready for 100 Campaigns.
Read our Recap
The Power of Labor in a Green Economy
A just transition to a clean energy economy requires ensuring that labor groups are at the table, and that quality green jobs are created across the country. But how can climate advocates and policymakers ensure that the move away from fossil fuels and toward renewables doesn’t leave anyone behind?
In this Deep Dive webinar, we heard from a broad range of experts who gave an overview the importance of ensuring labor groups are at the table during this transition. Carol Zabin, Director of the Green Economy Program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, shared the latest research on the issues of job creation, access, and training in the emergent green economy. Kevin Lee, the State Policy Director at the Blue Green Alliance, discussed how labor unions and environmental organizations across the country are coming together to create good jobs while protecting the environment. Cecilia Estolano, the CEO of A Better World Group, shared how a California coalition of environmental and labor groups helped enact some of the nation’s boldest climate policies. Finally, Jon Grossman, a union representative at the Service Employees International Union, brought a critical union perspective to this conversation.
What Biden’s Election Means for State Climate Policy
For the last four years, the Trump Administration has rolled back environmental regulations and denied the existence of climate change. President-elect Biden, however, made climate policy a central tenet of his campaign. In his first 100 days, he has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and enact his $2 trillion clean energy plan, which includes a focus on environmental justice communities. With the final breakdown of the Senate in the hands of two Georgia runoff elections, climate advocates may be looking at a less than ideal federal landscape.
This webinar features two renowned climate leaders who have dedicated their careers to combating the climate crisis. Tina Johnson, Director of The National Black Environmental Justice Network, has been a tireless advocate of environmental justice and equity both nationally and internationally. Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America Director at 350.org, has worked to build a multiracial, multi-generational climate movement that is capable of holding our leaders accountable to science and justice.
Noa Dalzell, Manager of the State Climate Policy Network at Climate XChange, moderates this conversation as Tina Johnson and Tamara Toles O’Laughlin guide us through their perspective on what Biden’s election entails for state level climate policy moving forward.
Green infrastructure is an interconnected network of natural areas and other open spaces that conserve natural ecosystem values and functions, sustain clean air and water and provide a wide array of benefits to people and wildlife. It is the ecological framework for environmental, social, and economic health – in short, our natural life-support system (Benedict and McMahon 2006). In this webinar we explore the benefits, scalability, implementation, politics, and potential funding of green infrastructure projects. We dive deep into green infrastructure as another equitable and effective tool to address the climate crisis.
This Deep Dive webinar discussion is led by three experts who are nationally-known for their advocacy and successful implementation of green infrastructure projects. Christine Conn is the Landscape Conservation Planner for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She is especially recognized for successfully engaging diverse stakeholders in innovative green infrastructure projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Sacoby Wilson directs the Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health Laboratory. His views on exposure science, environmental justice and environmental health disparities — based on crowd science and community-based participatory research — are especially pertinent to successful green infrastructure projects in frontline communities. Finally, Will Allen, who oversees the Conservation Leadership Network, is an expert on green infrastructure and conservation GIS.
This conversation is moderated by Jane Fountain, Professor at the UMass School of Public Policy, which is sponsoring this webinar. The program is part of a series of forums on national climate policy co-hosted by Climate XChange and the Pricing Carbon Initiative.
Climate Risks: A Fireside Chat with Bob Litterman and Climate Leaders
Climate impacts are estimated to cost the world $7.9 trillion by 2050. The latest report, prepared for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by a committee chaired by Bob Litterman, states that climate change is already impacting nearly every facet of the economy, including infrastructure, agriculture, residential and commercial property, human health, and labor productivity. These impacts are also disproportionately burdening frontline communities along our coast that are being battered by extreme weather and sea level rise, and small businesses that lack the resources to endure climate catastrophes.
In this webinar, we dove deep into how climate change is putting all aspects of society at risk — global financial systems, frontline communities, small businesses, environmental protection and smart growth — and the potential role for carbon pricing in addressing this worsening crisis. In this context, Bob Litterman briefly comments on his work with several climate advocacy organizations, including his co-chairing the board of the Climate Leadership Council, in the wake of Ted Halstead’s untimely death.
The Environmental Vote
It’s hard to overstate both the chaos and the stakes surrounding this year’s election. We’re currently facing an ongoing pandemic that has shifted the way we can carry out the electoral process, an economic crisis greater than we have seen in over a decade, and the ever-present realities of living in a climate altered world, most recently epitomized by the horrific wildfires throughout the West. The climate crisis is increasingly a top concern for most Americans, and has become a defining issue for primary campaigns – the power of climate voters is now more important than ever.
From the Sunrise Movement, Sara Singh joins us to talk about the impact that Sunrise has had on recent campaigns, and why the environmental vote matters. Nathaniel Stinnet, the Executive Director of Environmental Voter Project, breaks down how his organization identifies environmentalists across the country and works to ensure they vote in every election. This conversation is moderated by Maria Virginia Olano, Climate XChange’s Communication Director and Cooler Earth Podcast host.
A Fireside Chat with Congressman Sean Casten
In 2018, in a historically Republican district, Sean Casten ran one of the most pro-climate Congressional campaigns in the country. Casten, a clean energy entrepreneur and biochemical engineer, ultimately beat out six-term Republican Representative Peter Roskam in Illinois’s 6th District, which was considered critical to Democrats winning the House.
In this Deep Dive webinar, Representative Sean Casten discusses why he has made combating climate change his top priority while in Congress. He also dives into his experience as part of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and discusses his upcoming climate bill. Bill Eacho, co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth, moderates the webinar, and Climate XChange and the Pricing Carbon Initiative host this event.
Building Inclusive and Effective Climate Coalitions
The climate crisis, and the myriad policy solutions required to tackle its massively diverse impacts, are too large of issues for one organization to tackle on its own. As with the most successful organizing, passing such policies requires building coalitions and working together towards common goals.
In this webinar, we will explore how to effectively build inclusive subnational coalitions that can push for racial and climate justice through ambitious climate policy.
Joining us are the three climate advocates who have helped lead inclusive, successful climate coalitions at the state and municipal level. Shilpa Joshi, the Coalition Director for Renew Oregon, who successfully convened hundreds of progressive organizations who have rallied for strong climate action. Camila Thorndike, the co-founder of Our Climate, who spearheaded the campaign to pass the 2018 Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act. Maritza Silva-Farrell, the Executive Director of ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York, who was instrumental in the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019.
All three speakers bring unique perspectives, but have one thing in common: they’ve successfully led diverse coalitions for strong climate action in their jurisdictions.
Pricing Carbon In Canada
Carbon pollution pricing has long been a critical part of the plan to fight climate change in Canada. The provinces of British Columbia and Quebec were two early leaders in this policy. In 2008, British Columbia introduced the first broad-carbon tax in North America; the tax supports the growth of B.C.’s low carbon economy and includes programs to keep the tax affordable while providing opportunities to make lower carbon choices. Quebec became the first jurisdiction to price carbon in North America in 2006, and has been linked to California’s robust cap-and-invest system since 2013. In October 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Pan-Canadian Approach to Pricing Carbon Pollution, which gave provinces and territories the flexibility to develop their own carbon pollution pricing system or adopt the federal system, and outlined criteria all systems must meet to ensure they are stringent, fair, and efficient.
How do these Canadian carbon pricing systems operate, and what has made them so effective? What have we learned from these policies over the last 12 years? Professor Barry Rabe, a University of Michigan and expert on climate and energy politics, provides a non-governmental perspective on the Canadian carbon markets that have led the way for other states. Joining us for this Deep Dive into Canada’s carbon markets are two government officials from the provinces that have led the way: Jeremy Hewitt, the Assistant Deputy Minister of B.C.’s Climate Action Secretariat; and Delegate Marie-Claude Francoeur, a senior leader in Quebec’s Department of Transportation at the time of the policy’s inception.
Decarbonizing the Transportation Sector
Transportation has surpassed electricity to become the largest source of emissions in the U.S. While recent studies project that electric vehicles will become cheaper than gas and diesel cars in the coming decade, we currently lack the proper charging infrastructure and incentives to accelerate that transition away from internal combustion engine vehicles.
Our current transportation system is failing our climate; the average American spends 97 hours in congestion per year, with that time increasing year over year for our most congested cities. We have to reimagine how we move people and goods, and design our streetscapes to allow cars, bikers, public transit, and pedestrians to safely coexist in a way that improves the climate, health, and wellbeing of our communities.
In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, states are moving ahead with the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which will put a price on transportation-sector carbon emissions.
How can carbon pricing incentivize the transition to a decarbonized transportation system? Joining us to tackle this question and many more are three experts in this field: Beth Osborne, Executive Director of Transportation for America, Colin Murphy, the Deputy Director, UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy; and Dan Gatti, the Director of Clean Transportation Policy at Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Natural Climate Solutions: The Role of Agriculture and Carbon Capture in the Transition
U.S. forests store the equivalent of 52 years’ worth of the country’s carbon emissions, and even in today’s highly partisan political climate, conserving our forests, planting more trees, and improving agricultural practices are initiatives with bipartisan support. But how exactly can policy effectively incentivize farmers and landowners to reforest their lands and improve their management?
Just as carbon pollution pricing can serve as a market signal for businesses and individuals to choose cleaner energy, agricultural incentives can promote regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration through land and crop management. Join us for our May Deep Dive webinar, where we will explore how agriculture can be a key part of climate change mitigation, and how we can harness the power of nature to achieve critical climate goals.
We sat down with three experts in the field — Jessie Martin, the Executive Director of Carbon Washington, Max Neuemayer, the Policy Director of Mad Agriculture, and Matthew Sheffer, the Managing Director of Hudson Carbon — to discuss the potential of natural lands to play a role in combating climate change, and how we can incentivize best practices.
Cities Confronting the Climate Crisis
As federal climate action continues to lag, municipalities around the country have led the way in confronting the climate crisis, implementing ambitious and innovative policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and transition to a clean energy economy.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously described states as “laboratories of democracy,” but in recent years, cities have taken the mantle in pushing forward bold climate solutions. These policies will only inspire future action and catalyze action at the state level.
In this Deep Dive webinar, local officials discuss their success with climate policies, including carbon pricing and climate mitigation fees. Mayor Arlene Burns from Moiser, Oregon; Commissioner Mark Marcoplos from Orange County, North Carolina; Sustainability Coordinator Robin Adams from Red Lodge, Montana; City Councilor Quinton Zondervan from Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Mayor Steve Patterson from Athens, Ohio, highlight the bold policies they have championed in their jurisdictions.
Why Carbon Pricing is a Public Health Issue
Air pollution is one of the world’s largest killers, responsible for 6.4 million deaths around the world each year. In the U.S. alone, studies have shown that more than 100,000 Americans die from pollution-related illnesses annually, which include increased risks of heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma attacks, among other diseases.
How can carbon pricing reap public health benefits? A 2014 Harvard study, led by Dr. Jonathan Buonocore, found that a moderate price on carbon in Massachusetts would save 340 lives and reap $2.9 billion of cumulative health benefits. Similarly, a 2020 Climate XChange study found that California cap-and-trade investments have generated $19.7 billion in public health benefits.
Our webinar features the lead authors of these reports, as well as American Public Health Association’s Rachel McMonagle, discussing the research on how carbon pricing can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save lives.
Communicating the Climate Crisis
Communicating the climate crisis is a critical part of moving policy solutions forward, but it continues to be a challenge for many pushing for action. As advocates and policymakers, we are in charge of communicating the problems we face and bringing to life the solutions and future we envision. In this Deep Dive webinar, we explore the psychological and social barriers of translating knowledge into action, and conclude with a series of best practices.
This webinar is led by Maria Virginia Olano, Climate XChange Communications Director and climate communications expert. Also joining us is Jothsna Harris, the Community Engagement Manager at Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. Climate Generation is a Minnesota-based climate nonprofit advocating for equitable climate solutions.
Learn more about how to deploy best practices for effectively communicating the most pressing crisis of our time.
Governors Leading the way on Climate Action
As the climate crisis intensifies and federal inaction remains, governors across the nation are taking matters into their own hands. A bipartisan coalition of 25 governors, known as the U.S. Climate Alliance, have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Hawaii Governor David Ige, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan are four of the governors participating in this initiative.
Our webinar features the executive-branch officials leading these climate efforts. From Minnesota, Environmental Quality Board Executive Director Will Seuffert speaks on the state’s recent executive order to create a Subcabinet on Climate Change. Representing New Mexico, Sustainability and Resilience Officer Laura Tabor and Environmental Protections Director Sandra Ely discuss the state’s recent emission-reduction recommendations, which evaluate the adoption of an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. From Hawaii, Anukriti Hittle, who helps lead Hawaii’s climate change mitigation and adaptation work at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, discusses some of the state’s recent initiatives. From Maryland, Department of Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles provides an overview of what the state is currently doing to address the climate crisis. This critical and candid conversation dives into what three states are currently working on, and what the future may hold.
How Carbon Pricing Can Further Environmental Justice
A new report released by CXC offers a carbon pricing policy framework that contextualizes the potential role it can play in a just transition to a regenerative, sustainable, and equitable economy. If carbon pricing is to be a central component of climate policy moving forward, it must not only reduce GHG emissions, but also embrace deep overlapping connections with major social and environmental justice issues of our time.
So how exactly can carbon pricing programs improve public health, sustainable development, economic mobility, resilience, and political self-determination in the communities that need it most?
Our webinar features Veronica Eady of California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), Eleanor Fort of Green for All, as well as lead author Jonah Kurman-Faber of Climate XChange discussing the report and what we can learn from California’s experience on cap-and-trade and environmental justice.
What the Transportation and Climate Initiative Means for State Climate Policy
Since 2017, transportation has become the leading source of greenhouse gas pollution across all US sectors. Meanwhile, Americans suffer from ever-increasing traffic congestion, infrastructural decay, and major deficiencies in how we move people and goods around. The next decade will require bold and rapid solutions to transform the sector, both for the sake of our climate and our daily livelihoods.
Meanwhile, the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional cap-and-invest program for transportation emissions, has emerged as one of the most promising new programs to tackle both GHG emissions and transportation woes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. However, the effectiveness of the program will depend on how it is designed and implemented in the coming year.
What exactly is TCI? What does the program mean for climate and transportation policy in the region? What role will the pivotal relationship between transportation and climate play in the coming decade to substantially reduce emissions by 2030?
Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), Lindsey Mendelson of the Sierra Club, Jordan Stutt of Acadia Center, and Jonah Kurman-Faber of Climate XChange answer and discuss these questions.
Why Businesses are Backing Carbon Pricing
Earlier this year, top business leaders from across the country — representing more than 2.8 million employees globally — lobbied Capitol Hill to put a price on carbon pollution. It was one of many indications that businesses, big and small, are beginning to recognize that an economy-wide price on carbon is the most efficient and cost-effective tool to achieve necessary emissions reductions. It is also a policy that can generate needed revenue for investments in green infrastructure, clean tech innovation, and ease the transition into the low-carbon economy of the future.
Why is business engagement essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? How can advocates, business leaders, and policymakers work together to pass bold climate solutions? How can we elevate the voices of businesses to become leaders in the carbon pricing conversation? Our webinar answers these questions with our guests, leaders from The World Bank and The International Emissions Trading Association.
A Federal Price on Carbon
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is a federal proposal to put a $15 fee on every ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere (that increases by $10 each year) and rebate all revenue back to Americans. Backed by the grassroots environmental group Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), the bill has gained bipartisan support and more than 40 cosponsors in Congress. Joining to discuss this policy are Adele Morris, Senior Fellow and Policy Director of the Climate and Energy Economics Project at the Brookings Institution, and Daniel Richter, CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs. The conversation will be hosted by Noa Dalzell, coordinator of the State Carbon Pricing Network.
The Role of Carbon Pricing in a Just Transition
Communities, particularly those at the intersection of different forms of marginalization and oppression, are shouldering the burdens of climate change and environmental pollution of all kinds. By putting a price on carbon emissions, we are able to shift that burden back to the polluters, who are responsible, and ensure our communities are better served through much-needed investments. Ensuring however, that policy design is intentional and deliberate in taking an equity lens seriously will require work. The webinar features our very own Maria Virginia Olano, host of the Cooler Earth podcast and Michelle Romero, the National Director of Green For All.
The Case for Conservative Carbon Pricing
Fighting climate change is something that cannot be put on hold, even in an era of extreme partisan gridlock, so how can we better engage people on all sides of the political spectrum?Join us for a webinar on the best practices for bipartisan engagement on the issue of carbon pricing. Featured guests include Alex Bozmoski from RepublicEn, Nader Sobhani from Niskanen Center, and Josiah Neeley from R-Street Institute. All three represent right-leaning think tanks that support carbon pricing, and are eager to share their insight on bipartisan engagement with the carbon pricing community.
A Conversation on the Green New Deal
The Green New Deal, a suite of economic stimulus programs aiming to address climate change in an equitable way, has been dominating news headlines since its introduction last month. But what does it all really mean? Can this legislation actually pass? How does the GND affect ongoing carbon pricing efforts, and most importantly- the future of our planet? Featuring Evan Weber, the political director of the Sunrise Movement, and David Roberts, the renowned Vox climate change writer. Weber’s Sunrise Movement, a youth grassroots organization, has been leading the charge for strong climate action, and Roberts’ articles break down environmental policy with unprecedented clarity.
What can we learn from Washington State?
In November, voters in Washington State rejected a ballot initiative that aimed to put a fee on carbon pollution, their second time doing so in as many years. The loss sparked some concern within the environmental community that carbon pricing at the state level just won’t work. But we disagree. Enjoy this debrief on the I-1631 campaign, featuring Beckey Kelley from the Washington Environmental Council, Stephanie Williams from The Nature Conservancy and Greg Rock from Carbon Washington. All three have worked closely on carbon pricing initiatives in Washington State.