Climate Action Funding Recommendations

Washington, DC (November 15, 2008)- ICELI and SaveOurEnvironment recently unveiled climate action funding recommendations, while their Policy TaskGroup also compiled a broader list of requests, many of which specifically cite urban and community forestry and green infrastructure.

Local government leadership and action is critical to addressing the climate change challenge. Localities are in the best position to foster the innovation and new practices that will achieve building efficiency, cleaner transportation choices, new green jobs and businesses, green infrastructure and more sustainable communities. America’s local governments have been at the forefront of the movement to address climate change. Our citizens are demanding action, and continued leadership from localities is essential to solving the issue.
Here’s why:
* More than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions comes from commercial and residential buildings. Local governments are best suited to improve building codes, foster community-scale renewable energy, and create other programs and incentives to increase efficiency and reduce energy use in buildings and houses.
* One third of GHG emissions comes from the transportation sector. We must improve public transit and engage in more effective land use and transportation planning to reduce gasoline use and emissions. Localities must lead in the transit and smart growth initiatives needed to reduce vehicle use.
* Localities are the first responders who must deal with the impacts of climate change including drought, heat waves, water shortages, wildfires, flooding, rising sea levels, changes in weather patterns, public health threats, and economic shifts.
* Local governments can promote the deployment of green infrastructure that reduces carbon emissions including community forestry, green roofs, and parks and open space.
* Local governments are uniquely positioned to drive new economic development strategies that create homegrown green businesses and green jobs to help America transform our economy and compete in the world.
1. Enact a national climate policy that:
* Sets mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions with market-based trading;
* Invests the proceeds from carbon trading into local government actions that reduce emissions through green buildings; transit, smart growth and other VMT reduction strategies; green local fleets and fuels; renewable energy; green infrastructure; and green jobs and businesses; and
* Allows regulated emitters to invest through carbon off sets in local green infrastructure that reduces greenhouse gases, including community forestry, green roofs, and open space and farmland preservation.
2. Enact an economic recovery policy that creates green jobs by:
* Providing $6 billion in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants for local governments; and
* Providing $9 billion for local transit infrastructure projects.
Implement clean energy policies that:
* Reduce building energy use by 30 percent by 2025 by establishing national building efficiency targets and providing annual funding to help local governments meet or exceed the national targets; and
* Produce 25 percent of the nation’s power from renewable energy by 2025 through renewable portfolio standards, and measures to overcome interconnection and rate barriers to community-scale renewables.
3. Invest in local climate capacity through annual federal appropriations that:
* Fully fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants at $2 billion annually;
* Provide $250 million annually for EPA Local Climate Demonstration Grants;
* Provide $400 million annually for the DOE Clean Cities program to support low emission vehicles and cleaner fuels including alternative fuels infrastructure and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and
* Provide $100 million annually for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community
Forestry program.
4. Transform the nation’s transportation strategy by:
* Substantially increasing federal resources for public transit;
* Supporting local initiatives to reduce vehicle-dependence and use including resources for smart growth and transit-oriented development, VMT reduction planning and implementation, walkability programs, bikeways and greenways, infill and brownfields revitalization, and reuse of historic and existing buildings; and
* Funding low-emission busses, clean local fleets, and local alternative fuels infrastructure.
5. Create American green jobs and green businesses by:
* Creating a $500 million “Climate Prosperity” demonstration grant program that directs Economic Development Administration, HUD, Small Business Administration, and USDA Rural Development funding to support local economic development strategies that produce green businesses and green jobs;
* Fully funding the Green Jobs Act of 2007 at $125 million annually to support worker training in emerging manufacturing and hi-tech sectors; and
* Creating an “Energy Conservation Corps” service program to empower young Americans to be part of new clean energy solutions.
6. Build self-reliant communities that are prepared for climate impacts by:
* Creating a federal interagency task force on Climate Resiliency and Community
Preparedness to produce a federal action plan for (a) national research and development; (b) local technical assistance; and (c) new protocols for intergovernmental collaboration at local, state, regional and federal levels;
* Expanding the FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation program to $500 million annually to support local government initiatives to address climate impacts;
* Expanding NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management Act and climate programs to directly support local climate adaptation planning and implementation; and
* Fostering and funding local efforts to support families and populations most vulnerable to climate impacts.
Related Resources:
ICLEI and SaveOurEnvironment Climate Action Blueprint
Presidential Transition Package from the Continental Dialogue
Environmentalists Send Detailed Wish List to Obama