February 2011

February 2011

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Integrated Assessment: Transportation-Related, Land Use Other Economy-Wide Applications

The EPA requests proposals for the integrated assessment of transportation-related policies on GHG, land use change, and other economy-wide impacts. Projects should further the public’s understanding of the interaction of the economic, energy, and environmental impacts of increased renewable fuel use in the U.S. transportation sector using a robust modeling framework. For more information, contact Sharyn Lie at lie.sharyn@epa.gov or visit here. Applications are due on February 17th.

Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program

The EPA requests proposals for the Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program. Projects which support pollution prevention and source reduction are eligible. Examples include developing/implementing green curricula, funding project interns, eliminating toxics in schools, green economy/green jobs, environmental justice and more. For more information, including your EPA Region priorities, visit here. Applications are due on February 24th.

Public Works, Economic Adjustment, & Global Climate Change Mitigation Programs Opportunity

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) generally allocates funds for the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund (GCCMIF) to support projects that foster economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality. EDA anticipates that these funds will be used to advance the green economy by supporting projects that create jobs and increase private capital investment in initiatives to limit the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, enhance energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and protect natural systems. For more information, visit: here. Applications for the next funding cycle are due March 10th.

Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant Guidelines

The EPA solicits proposals to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs focused on hazardous and solid waste management, assessment, and cleanup-associated activities. While Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants focus on hazardous and solid waste remediation and health and safety, applicants may design their own curriculums by choosing what types of supplemental environmental training they want to provide. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/brownfields or access the Request for Proposals. Applications are due on March 18th.

Local City News

Breuner Marsh Restoration will Turn Old Dumping Ground into Ecological Gem

Over the years, Breuner Marsh in Richmond has become a dumping ground for developers’ removed rocks, soil and building waste. Now, however, an ambitious environmental restoration is being planned for the area. The East Bay Regional Park District has spent $6.85 million to buy 217 acres of the marsh in order to expand Point Pinole Regional Park. Their current plan would return 23 acres of diked lands to Bay tidal flows, make other habitat improvements for endangered birds and wildlife, and build a new segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Read the article here.

The City of Hayward Considers Implementing a RECO

The Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) would require homeowners to make their domiciles more energy-efficient at the time of sale. Those fixes include some of the cheap and easy variety — adding weatherstripping, insulating water heaters and pipes — as well as more intensive projects, such as having air leaks professionally analyzed and sealed, and adding attic and floor insulation. Meetings have had mixed reviews thus far, according to some sources. See the meeting schedule here. Learn more about RECO’s in general and Hayward’s proposed plan here.

Other City News

Mayors Should Network and Share Best-Practices Internationally

The President of the European Union-Committee of the Regions, Mercedes Bresso, recently had an exclusive interview with Europolitics. Bresso said her goal was to foster more exchanges between European and American mayors so that they can learn from one another’s best practices in addressing climate change. She noted how at the national level, US leaders “are reticent” to act. By contrast, she found that “the mayors are more in favor of doing something”. Learn more here.

Santa Monica Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

The Santa Monica City Council has approved a ban on single-use plastic bags. The council voted 4-0 to approve a ban affecting most retail outlets in the city beginning in September. Under the ordinance, plastic bags will no longer be available at grocery stores, clothing shops or other retailers. Heal the Bay, an environmental nonprofit group, called the action “one of the most aggressive” on single-use bags nationwide. Read more here. Marin County Board of Supervisors also banned plastic bags. Join the discussion to learn more here.


More Climate Talks Necessary this Year

The United Nations is likely to hold two extra meetings to discuss climate change in 2011 as the deadline to meet targets of Kyoto Protocol fast approaches in the end of 2012. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol binds almost 40 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse emissions by an average of 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012. Rich and poor nations are deeply divided about what to do after its first period runs out. Read more

Solar Advocates Call for Decreased Permit Expenses to Make Residential Solar Feasible

While solar equipment prices are falling, the total installed cost of residential solar is falling more slowly because of inefficient local permitting and inspection processes. Local permitting and inspection add $0.50 per watt, or approximately $2,516 per residential solar energy install. Supporters state that it is appropriate and necessary for the Department of Energy (DOE) to address this problem because the DOE has already built the tools to streamline local permitting and inspection processes without sacrificing safety. Read the full report here. Use the following toolkit to help your city streamline the solar permitting operations.


Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

A new guide released by the National Wildlife Federation and partners show a way to understand the impact of climate change on species and ecosystems. Download the guide here.

Extreme Heat, Cold and Weather Events Are Results of Climate Change

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tracking disasters such as the floods in Brazil and Australia, the strange weather patterns of snow falling in 49 out of 50 states and more. The NOAA claims that these occurrences are similar to the events that we expected in global warming models. Learn more here.

Northern California Plants Migrate Differently than Expected

As the globe warms up, many plants and animals are moving uphill to keep cool. Conservationists are anticipating much more of this as they make plans to help natural systems adapt to a warming planet. However, a new study in Science has found that plants in northern California are bucking this uphill trend in preference for wetter, lower areas. Read the full article here.


Clean Energy is Possible – a Matter of Will Power

In a world where fossil fuel provides more than 80 percent of energy, could everyone switch over to power from only the wind, sun, waves, and heat from the Earth? Two U.S. researchers took on this research to show that wind, water, and solar power are available to meet demand, indefinitely. They estimate that a drive for 100% renewable energy would require a massive building binge. Material needs might create challenges but these researchers insist that none of the obstacles would be great enough to block a path to fully renewable power by 2030. Learn more here.

Public Transportation and Downtown Development Benefit Cities Economically

In the new report, Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity, the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) considers ten commonsense principles that can help guide new development in ways that respond to emerging market demand and bolster the economy. They found an inclusive planning process following smart growth principles yields more walkable neighborhoods with broader options for housing and transportation. This has helped communities, businesses and individuals make money, save money and improve quality of life. Read the report here.