American Civil Society in Revolt Breaking Ranks with the National Government

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As illustrated above, climate sustainability cannot succeed without robust participation by the US. Yet, US national policy is built on inaction and delay of the type modelled above.

Perfect distribution line (y = 0)

Scenario 1 (all Annex 1 follow CEEP scenario) (y = 0.17)

Cumulative proportion of population Fig. 2.12. Lorenz curves under different emission scenarios in 2050.

This raises a fundamental political problem: how shall the world community interact with American society to address the need for significant and rapid action.

Understandably, attention has been focused on US intransigence in UNFCCC treaty negotiations. Our argument here should not be construed as, in any sense, a call for diminished pressure on US national policy and its leadership. As we discuss below, however, there is evidence of a sizeable and growing divide between American national policy and civil society. This divide offers a second response to the political problem: engagement of American communities prepared to participate in the repair of the atmospheric commons. The politics of this strategy are merited not only by the possibility of overcoming US national governmental inaction, but it may also more properly locate the ground and momentum of the social change needed to halt the warming risk. As evident in the discussion below, major reductions in CO2 emissions require community transformation.

National and international reduction targets and corresponding commitments of funds to support social action are essential components of greenhouse politics, but these agendas can neither embody the diversity of strategic actions needed, nor can they stand for community will and action - the crucible of transformative change. Indeed, what we describe here as a civil revolt against national policy underscores the incompleteness of nationally and internationally organized politics, even when the challenge is surely global in character.

An extraordinarily diverse collection of American states and cities are now working to fill the void left by the US national government in taking real action to sustain life in the greenhouse (Byrne et al. 2007, 2006a). Through their efforts, a politics of climate protection is forming which is intimately linked with goals of greater economic security, better public health, and improved quality of life. In this vein, ecological and community political agendas are merging while recognizing the differences of locale as a source of political innovation in responding to warming risk.

Municipal governments in the US represent an increasingly influential force for climate protection. Despite their increasing location as the headquarters of global economic activity amid a more general urbanizing trend, cities in many cases are simultaneously displaying an interest in addressing a global ecological agenda. The phenomenon of cities acting as forces for climate protection can be seen in the proliferation of individual policies alongside wider American city participation in climate-conscious policy networks. For example, the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) campaign, established by ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), 2007) has linked 650 local governments throughout the globe to cut CO2 emissions 20% from 2000 levels by 2010. One hundred and seventy one US cities have adopted the CCP target, complemented by local action plans and programs which monitor and report progress (ICLEI 2007). At present, these US municipalities represent nearly one fifth of the country's population.

The US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement was adopted in February 2005. Its 435 participating cities have pledged to meet or go beyond targets originally established for the US under the Kyoto Protocol and also to push officials at state and federal levels to act accordingly. Yet another framework, the International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI), calls on cities throughout the world - to include those in the US - to act more aggressively to reduce carbon emissions to levels consistent with that necessary to achieve climate stabilization by 2050. Its target is 2.0-3.3 tonnes CO2-equivalent released per person annually, apportioned equally among the nations (and cities) of the world (Byrne et al. 2006a).

For cities that have undertaken aggressive efforts to control their greenhouse gas emissions, chosen pathways vary widely, reflecting the goals and needs of diverse communities. In Austin, Texas, a city of 650 000 residents, local leaders have linked greenhouse gas reduction to two major platforms pursued via the city's municipal utility, Austin Energy (AE). The utility is working to source some 20% and 15% of energy demand in 2020 from renewable energy and energy efficiency, respectively (City of Austin 2003). The renewable energy goal includes a 100 MW solar commitment. These efforts aim to meet 'realistically achievable ' goals set in 1997 for lowering CO2 emissions by 4.5 million tonnes, a 25% cut compared to business-as-usual projections of 16.7 million tonnes in 2010 (City of Austin 1997, 2001).

Austin and its municipal utility have sought these measures for a number of reasons. First, should the city ever be forced to open its service area to competition, AE's provision of green power products was deemed capable of helping the utility retain its popularity among customers (Sustainable Energy Task Force 1998) . This is an important consideration, as AE traditionally has provided a major source of revenue for the city of Austin. Second, as a municipal utility, AE has long encouraged conservation and energy efficiency in the community as a means of avoiding expensive additions to its generation capacity and grid infrastructure. Third, as the city over time has grown more reliant on natural gas for electricity generation, this fuel has become more expensive and its price trends are punctuated by volatile swings in amount. The city therefore seeks to proactively manage its vulnerability to reliance on spiking fossil fuel costs by utilizing wind and increasingly solar energy to meet local energy demand. Additionally, by carefully cultivating its reliance on alternative energy, Austin aims to stake a lucrative claim within the growing international market for advanced energy and related technology.

While all these factors have proven significant in helping the community to devise its ambitious programs for a more sustainable energy future, a major push for such initiatives can also be linked to the conscious efforts of local citizens and community groups who have worked since the 1970s to keep environmental issues on the energy agenda in Austin. In turn, the community has benefited from their foresight. Under AE's GreenChoice program to buy electricity from renewable sources, households and businesses pay an alternative fuel charge, which is currently higher than conventional charges, but it remains fixed throughout the term of the agreement, so that participants are protected from volatile conventional fuel prices. The use of solar PV and solar thermal installations in this program is supported by city-funded rebates, indicative of a community politics of sustainability (City of Austin 2003; Austin Energy 2004a).

For energy efficiency and conservation, AE is distinguished as a global leader in green building. Utility representatives work with the construction industry and end users to market innovative technologies and processes, offering training in related fields and rating both new and refurbished structures according to their energy needs. Rebates are provided to customers for the purchase of energy efficient products and appliances, alongside free or for-payment audits to help customers identify cost-effective improvements. Renters and homeowners are eligible for free services such as caulking, weather stripping, solar screen shading, ductwork sealing, and attic insulation (Austin Energy 2004b). To address transport, utility and city officials have pushed for a national commitment among automakers for the development and dissemination of the 'Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle ' (Austin Energy 2005), which could be charged from the grid on electricity generated at night from wind farms. If wind were to play a substantial role in such electric generation, the relative cost of each 'electric' gallon of fuel to power the vehicles could prove vastly cheaper compared to current prices of gasoline - even as the cars themselves generate substantially less greenhouse gases (Austin Energy 2005).

While various AE programs are funded by customer rates and city grants and low and zero interest loans, the utility has simultaneously succeeded in achieving lower rates through avoiding construction of new electric plants (Regelson 2005). Aided by approximately $5 million in rebates for 40 000 area apartment units, utility expenses have decreased up to 40% for some Austin residents. Approximately 1100 homes recently achieved a 'star' rating or better under AE's Green Building programs, and 19 commercial buildings have received LEED (US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design) silver certification (Magnusson 2005) . Additionally, GreenChoice has achieved the greatest US sales of utility-sponsored green power ( NREL 2004), generating 340 GWh of electricity from renewable sources and lowering CO2 emissions by nearly 255 000 tons (ICLEI, n.d.). Collectively, Austin 's efforts have allowed the utility to forego electricity generation equivalent to that of a 500 MW electric plant (Austin Energy 2003). In light of the city' s successes to date in transforming its energy system, the Austin city council in February 2007 approved an advanced Climate Protection Plan. Looking ahead to 2020, targets entail increasing the role of renewable energy to meet 30% of overall energy demand, while offsetting demand for an additional 700 MW by enhanced energy efficiency and conservation. By 2015, new single-family homes should be 'zero net-energy capable ) with other new buildings achieving at least a 75% increase in their energy efficiency (City of Austin 2007, p. 2).

The city of Chicago (population 2.8 million) has similarly acted to achieve a more sustainable future as ' the most environmentally friendly city in America' , a goal extensively promoted by Chicago's mayor. Its efforts have centred, primarily, on lowering local energy demand and increasing the energy efficiency of both public and private sectors. Chicago has taken such action in part as a means to improve regional air quality, which has negatively affected human health and increased costs for industrial and other economic actors seeking to meet federal environmental standards (City of Chicago 2001, 2004). Moreover, heatwaves in 1995 and 1999 placed serious strains on the local electric grid in Chicago, leading to power outages and contributing to the deaths of hundreds of area residents (Regelson 2005). The city has subsequently sought to apply funds from a $100 million settlement negotiated with the local private energy utility, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), to help mitigate energy demand and improve electric reliability within Chicago.

To reach these goals, the city has put forward a number of initiatives. Under its Rebuild Chicago program, the municipal government has supported partnerships by which zero or low interest loans are offered to manufacturers and other firms in helping them lower the energy intensity of their industrial processes. Meanwhile, private buildings meeting green standards benefit from an expedited process in receiving needed permits (City of Chicago Department of Environment 2006). As a result of improvements being made at present in Chicago's public buildings - representing approximately 15 million ft2 - the city should avoid energy and related expenses of some $6 million each year. Further economic and environmental gains are expected as new municipal buildings in Chicago are now required to achieve at least LEED silver certification (Widholm 2006).

Chicago also has sought to dramatically enhance the natural beauty and greenery of the local environment. Particular efforts here have involved support for green roofs, which can now be spotted growing on 2.5 million ft2 of both commercial and residential buildings, as well as City Hall (McCarthy 2006). Some 30 000 trees are planted annually (Schneider 2006; Johnston 2006). These efforts simultaneously aim to improve air quality within Chicago while also helping to lower the urban heat island effect.

Finally, in addition to the city's targeted push for greater energy efficiency, the municipal government of Chicago set a goal in 2001 for 20% of its electricity to come from renewable resources by 2006 (City of Chicago 2001). Although the goal was later pushed back to 2010, the city is working with public and private partners, including ComEd, in placing solar energy installations throughout Chicago. Noteworthy examples of solar power can now be found atop the Chicago Center for Green Technology, as well as local schools and museums (Chicago Solar Partnership 2006) . The emphasis on distributed clean electricity generation serves not only to enhance the reliability of electric service, but also helps reduce pollution and encourages local consumer interest and awareness regarding solar energy and alternative resources.

Through these initiatives, Chicago aims to improve environmental conditions in the city, lower energy costs for industrial, commercial, and residential energy users, and facilitate the emergence of a new industrial sector - one specifically linked to clean energy technology and services. More broadly, the city can lower its greenhouse gas emissions some 7% beneath its 1990 levels by 2012, a policy target established as part of Chicago's participation in the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (City of Chicago Department of Environment 2006; City of Seattle Mayor's Office 2006). Environmental and economic sustainability thus figure prominently in Chicago's political agenda for the twenty-first century.

As with Chicago, the city of San Francisco is taking major steps to alter its energy future by promoting energy efficiency and utilizing the savings to invest in renewable energy development. San Francisco' s effort in this regard has been motivated by several factors. First, the community - like much of California - was subjected to the 2000-2001 energy crisis in the state, following the implementation of electricity sector restructuring (Beck 2002). At that time, service interruptions and escalating electric prices had major impacts on the residents and economy of the city. In more technical realms, San Francisco' s location on a peninsula means that the city must rely significantly on electric imports into the community. With mounting demands on its limited energy infrastructure due to population and economic growth, local officials have expressed concern that existing transmission capacity may not prove sufficient to area needs, with the potential for both reliability and price impacts (Smeloff et al. 2002). Moreover, as a means to take pressure off of existing transmission lines serving San Francisco, older power stations reliant on fossil fuels have long been required to operate within the city. Within the neighbourhoods where these plants have been located, local residents have experienced pollution and high rates of breast cancer and asthma (Greenaction 2007). Furthermore, San Francisco's bay location means that the city is vulnerable to rising sea levels, which could threaten much of its existing urban infrastructure (SFE and SFPUC 2004).

To lessen its reliance on fossil fuel electric plants and regional transmission systems, while improving local environmental health, San Francisco has adopted a multi-pronged approach. San Francisco voters passed a $100 million bond initiative as the funding mechanism for sustainability investments. San Francisco (which is both a city and a county) is seeking to alter the method by which it receives electric service in the community. At present, the city receives electric service from a private utility - Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). However, through a new plan for community choice aggregation, the local government of San Francisco is seeking to devise a framework by which it may offer blocs of residents and businesses alternative service bids from entities other than PG&E. Within the terms of service, the alternative electric service provider would be compelled to meet targets set by San Francisco for renewable energy, energy efficiency, conservation, distributed generation, and related measures to meet 360 MW of community energy demand, compared to typical daytime demand of 850 MW (SFE 2004). The new energy target could assist the city in meeting its goal to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 from a business as usual projection of 10.8 million tonnes released annually, down to 7.2 million tonnes by that year - representing a 20% decrease (SFE and SFPUC 2004).

San Francisco promotes the installation of solar photovoltaic technologies in both public and private structures, to include the largest municipal solar installation in the US (atop the Moscone Convention Center). Together with energy efficiency measures, Moscone ' s PV installation is offsetting the demand for approximately 4 million kWh each year and avoiding the release of 35 000 tonnes of CO2 that would otherwise be emitted from the use of fossil fuels (Moscone Center 2005). Efforts for alternative energy development are complemented by a number of initiatives to promote more sustainable construction. To lessen energy demand in buildings, San Francisco has passed a Green Building Ordinance under which new and renovated municipal structures larger than 5000 square feet are required to achieve LEED silver standards (SFE 2006). Through programs such as the Mayor's Energy Conservation Account, the Energy Watch Program, the Power Savers Program, and the Peak Energy Program, the city is working to reduce local energy demand by some 55 MW by 2008 and 107 MW by 2012 (SFE 2007; Smeloff et al. 2002).

US states are also taking sizable steps to reduce their impacts on the world's climate. Some 28 US states and Puerto Rico have adopted Climate Action Plans (CAPs) establishing goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions through a number of diverse activities (EPA 2007). The range of such activities span energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management and recycling, public transportation, the use of alternative fuels in fleets, and land use. Specific types of policies, and examples of state action in such areas, are briefly reviewed below.

Oregon mandates that new power plants offset 17% of their expected CO2 emissions (Oregon Department of Energy 2004) through direct reductions or through contributions made to a fund managed by the state' s Climate Trust. Similar power plant regulations have been adopted by Washington State (Washington Department of Ecology 2004). In California, Assembly Bill 32 mandates that the California Air Resource Board (CARB) put forward regulations by which to lower the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 1990 baselines (CARB 2006) . CARB is also to set GHG emissions standards for light trucks and cars by 2009. While the national government is challenging these standards, California's actions will and are already affecting the US, considering that states on both the east and west coasts have enacted compatible rules following California' s example (Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference 2006; Freeman 2006).

The state of New York has established targets to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 5% against 1990 levels in 2010, and 10% against 1990 levels by 2020 (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), 2002) . Relevant strategies to pursuing such goals span energy efficiency and energy demand reduction, to greater reliance on renewable energy and the use of distributed generation (Center for Clean Air Policy 2003).

Delaware has set goals to lower its greenhouse gas emissions 30% below BAU by 2019, and has approved the formation of a 'sustainable energy utility' (SEU) to undertake energy policies supportive of climate protection (Delaware SEU (Sustainable Energy Utility) Task Force, 2007). The initiative is funded by a Sustainable Energy Bond and a charge on electricity sales which, together, will transform energy capital investment from its supply bias to a demand-side focus.

New Jersey )s commitment to lower greenhouse emissions has grown considerably from its original target of 3.5% below 1990 levels by 2005 (New Jersey Climate Change Workgroup 1999) . While modest by today )s standards, this commitment included a signed Letter of Intent with the Netherlands for shared action in establishing a system for emissions banking. With private and public actors partnering under the program, New Jersey pursued 'covenants' for greater reliance on efficient technologies, reduction of waste, and conservation of both energy and open space (New Jersey Sustainable State Institute 2004). Success over the seven years of the initiative led to a dramatic step in 2007 - the governor of New Jersey issued an executive order under which the state must decrease its emissions 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80% by 2050 (nj.com, 2007). Representing the most aggressive climate planning commitment in the US, New Jersey - the country's most urbanized state - demonstrates how deeply climate action is embedded in the fabric of American civil society.

As well, states have joined together to pursue regional initiatives for climate protection. In the northeast states, the relative scarcity of native fossil energy supplies - resulting in often high energy prices - has contributed to an interest in alternative energy development and controlling carbon emissions (US Department of Energy (DOE) 2003). In 2003, 11 northeast states collectively established a regional cap-and-trade program to control carbon emissions from power plants (Union of Concerned Scientists 2003), known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Under this framework, participating states have pledged to stabilize power plant emissions at 137 million metric tons from 2009 to 2015. Then, from 2015 to 2020, emissions must fall 10% beneath the cap (RGGI 2005) . Present participation under RGGI includes ten states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) that have adopted a timeline for emissions reduction (RGGI 2007). Other states may join RGGI, whose partnership structure is open ended and welcomes additional participants.

State agencies in the northeast that seek to protect air quality are additionally working to devise cooperative actions for greenhouse gas reduction, as part of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). Beyond the northeast region, NESCAUM has worked 'to promote harmonized GHG accounting and reporting standards' with the California Climate Action Registry (California Climate Action Registry, 2005).

On the US west coast, the governors of Oregon, California, and Washington in 2003 established the West Coast Governor's Global Warming Initiative (WCGGWI (2004)) to examine the likely impacts of emerging climate and alternative energy policies. The WCGGWI (2004) additionally signalled its support for the creation of a regional system for emissions trading compatible with that enacted by RGGI, and the harmonization of GHG vehicle emissions standards. The governors of New York and California even put forward plans in October 2006 to link California )s GHG reduction program with RGGI (Young 2006), allowing an opportunity for wider shared action among west and east coast states.

Together, the RGGI and WCGGWI states release approximately 1000 MMT CO2 each year, some 20% of US CO2 emissions (Fontaine 2005' EIA 2003' . Representing approximately 30% of the US population, these states as members of a coordinated plan for greenhouse gas reduction should increase pressure on the national government to harmonize their efforts in ways compatible with the smooth operation of interstate commerce.

In assessing the impact of WCGGWI and RGGI efforts to lower emissions from power plants, such actions over the coming decade could result in an emissions decrease of 21% against present forecasts (based on data from the US Energy Information Administration (see Byrne et al. 2007).

Beyond dedicated policies to directly address climate protection, US states are also acting in diverse ways to support renewable energy and energy efficiency. Several policies are promoted not simply for their carbon impacts but, equally important, as tools to lower pollution, reinforce energy security, lessen volatility in energy prices, and create opportunities for new markets and jobs related to cleaner technologies. For example, the US is now home to the largest market in the world for customer-driven electricity from renewable sources (Bird et al. 2002'. Its 'citizens' market is comprised of green pricing, competitive green power products, and 'green tags' markets in which individuals, communities and organizations can invest directly in renewable energy plant through the purchase of shares or 'tags'. In 36 states, approximately 600 utilities now offer green pricing options, helping to foster the development of 800 MW of renewable capacity (Bird and Swezey 2006). Commercial and industrial customers are also boosting demand for green power purchases as a means to improve their community standing, fulfil in-house environmental targets, and lower regulatory risks (Hanson and Van Son 2003' Holt et al. 2001). These initiatives have led to the development of 1710 MW of renewable capacity (Bird and Swezey 2006).

Many states have also required utilities to procure a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable sources, under Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies. By summer 2007, 24 states and the District of Columbia had passed RPS policies, with an additional

14 states examining such legislation. While RPS policies differ in scope and level of success (van der Linden et al. 2005), many states have appeared to support more far-reaching policies over time. Certain states have acted to reinforce existing laws, to enlarge targets, or to hasten compliance timelines, where their RPS policies have been active for at least three years (Rickerson 2005). Examples include New Jersey 's enlarged target for 23% by 2021, with a 2% solar 'carveout' (DSIRE 2007', New York's enhanced target of 24% by 2013 (DSIRE 2007), and California 's accelerated RPS schedule from 20% by 2017 to 20% by 2010 (Doughman et al. 2004; California Public Utilities Commission 2006). According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (2006), 44 900 MW of new renewable capacity will come online by 2020 due to current state RPS policies.

Markets for tradable renewable energy credits (RECs) have also begun to proliferate, as most US states with RPS programs allow utilities to obtain their mandated supply beyond state boundaries. Such markets are found in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas and Washington, DC, and regional authorities have designed systems to track credit trades in Texas, the Northeast, and the Mid-Atlantic, with other efforts targeted for the West and the upper Midwest (Porter and Chen 2004; Wingate and Lehman 2003). The goal of such systems as part of RPS initiatives lies in cultivating wider cooperation among many states in meeting RPS targets and developing renewable energy markets.

By summer 2007, 21 state public benefit funds (PBFs) could be found in the US, with

15 dedicated to renewable energy development (DSIRE 2007). These PBFs are made possible by charges placed on electricity sales within individual states, usually at the level of $0.001 to $0.003 per kWh (Kushler et al' 2004). In turn, they generate yearly deposits into state renewable energy accounts approximating $500 million, so that by 2017 $4 billion will have been earmarked for renewable energy projects (Union of Concerned Scientists 2004). While wind projects in recent years have received the majority of these funds (Bolinger and Wiser 2006), PBFs are also strong forces for the installation of PV technology. For example, under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) of 2006, $2.35 billion in PBF funding will go toward the development of 3000 MW of solar electricity by 2017 (Go Solar California! 2006).

Accrued monies from PBFs may also be spent on energy efficiency, related research and development, and household weatherization for low and moderate income families, often in the form of rebates or production credits. Energy efficiency is the largest area of investment, where states often apply their PBFs in ways that enhance commitments made by utilities and other actors. An annual investment of $1.2 billion is expected from PBFs for energy efficiency in 21 US states until 2015 (DSIRE 2007; American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2005). Even larger investments are likely, since the PBF monies do not include programs funded by cities, municipal utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and investor owned utilities, or state policies aiming to add to public spending with tax incentives for energy-efficiency investments and minimum efficiency standards for appliances (Alliance to Save Energy 2005).

In the transport sector, states are working innovatively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. California's zero emission vehicle standard has received much attention and is being imitated in New York and other states. Other state policies promote vehicle labels, tax incentives, and feebates as mechanisms to enhance the attractiveness of high efficiency and low emission vehicle models. Still other state initiatives advance the use of biofuels or the market competitiveness of hybrid-electric and fuel cell vehicles (Curtin and Gangi 2006). As well, 'smart growth' programs seek to foster urban land use planning where individuals can rely on walking, biking, or public transit rather than individual use of automobiles (Prindle et al. 2003).

A recently published estimate by this chapter's authors of the impacts of state and regional policies supporting energy efficiency, renewable energy development (including RGGI and WCGGWI) indicates that scale effects of grassroots action are substantial (Byrne et al. 2007). Transport policies were not included, as comprehensive figures on impacts from state policies are not yet available. A decrease in emissions totalling 1663 million tonnes CO2 by 2020 is attributable to state energy efficiency policies. State RPS policies are forecasted to cause CO2 emissions reductions of an additional 111 million tonnes by 2020. Projected decreases from the RGGI and WCGGWI programs by 2020 will provide an additional 48 million tonnes. Collectively, the three commitments represent an emissions reduction of 1,822 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, compared with the BAU case of 2812 million tons of CO2 (US Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2007), or a 65% decrease in emissions (see Byrne et al. 2007 for a detailed discussion of the methodology used in this assessment).

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