In the context of constrained budgets and the lack of a national climate policy, CNT’s climate agenda focuses on defending existing climate-related policies and promoting opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating economic benefits for businesses, households, and communities.
Urge Congress to Fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. The EECBG has catalyzed a nationwide set of local government actions, including energy and climate planning, and efficiency upgrades of government facilities. The substantial local government capacity for energy and climate programs that has been created under the EECBG should be leveraged going forward.
Oppose Cuts in Federal Programs that Provide Information, Technical Assistance, and Funding for Climate Action. Federal budget cuts should not put mitigation of global climate change at risk. Even without a federal cap on emissions, there are many national programs that are supporting climate action and should continue to do so. This includes EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act as well as less high-profile programs, such as EPA’s eGRID program and the State and Local Government Climate Program.
Push to Implement the Presidential Climate Action Plan. CNT supports the policy recommendations of the Presidential Climate Action Plan (PCAP). CNT was on the advisory committee that developed the plan and performed transportation and land use research for it. In the January 2011 update, the plan focuses on President Obama’s powers as a convener and catalyst to help the United States meet our climate goals in ways beyond legislation, such as:
- Policies that count the full climate impact costs of federal regulations and actions and work to enable clear price signals by eliminating subsidies of carbon-intensive actions.
- Support of increased transparency and intergovernmental cooperation to enable state and local governments to implement climate action.
- Long-term planning for climate action, while working to prevent short-term backsliding on greenhouse gas emitting activities and regulatory policies.
Urge Illinois to Implement the Policies of the Climate Change Advisory Group. From 2006 to 2008, Illinois convened a climate change advisory group that analyzed emissions sources and created policy priorities for climate action. The recommended policies should be fully implemented. The task force process should be taken up again to track performance and update policy recommendations based on current needs. Illinois has a statewide greenhouse gas target of achieving 1990 emissions levels by 2020 and reducing emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Without further policy action Illinois is unlikely to meet this target.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL
Support Continued Implementation of State and Regional Climate Efforts. Greenhouse gas emissions decreased slightly during the recent economic downturn, but we have not done enough to lock in those savings, and emissions are once again on the rise. Strong action is needed if the United States is to meet its stated target of reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Local governments are playing a leading role in planning and implementing policies to reduce emissions and should be supported in their efforts. State and regional efforts such as The Climate Registry and regional cap and trade programs should be expanded. Local initiatives like the Chicago Climate Action Plan should be fully implemented.