Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle [Editor: The proposed increase is to be voted on at a Thursday, 12/17/15 meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission. See agenda, p. 17 (Item #16, Adopting Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s 2016 Electric Procurement Cost Revenue Requirement Forecast. The item in question is “$118.7 million for the Power Charge Indifference Amount.” More background and an ACTION letter opportunity at ActionNetwork. More at Marin Independent Journal. – RS]
High cost of breaking away
EDITORIAL – On Alternatives to PGE
The Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California’s largest utility and a longtime regulated monopoly, insists that its application to nearly double a fee for customers defecting to local clean power plans is simply a matter of market forces.
PG&E’s many critics think otherwise.
“There’s an urgency for PG&E to stifle competition,” said state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. “They’re protecting a monopoly.”
The suspicions are understandable. PG&E has the legal right to charge the fee, known as a Power Charge Indifference Adjustment.
It has to do with PG&E’s obligation to provide power to everyone in its service area as the utility of last resort. Should any customer’s alternate energy provider go out of business, PG&E still has to be able to provide for those customers — hence a fee.
“We have to undertake long-term forecasts about serving those customers in the event of their other service provider going out of business,” said PG&E spokesperson Nicole Liebelt. “It’s about ensuring that those customers won’t be left stranded.”
Liebelt said that PG&E’s longterm contract costs for serving customers are higher than current market costs, and that’s why the fee had to rise.
“The formula for calculating the fee hasn’t changed,” Liebelt said. “It’s the inputs that change every year.”
But the fee has never been as high as it is this year — the cost for each residential customer would nearly double, from $6.70 to $13 per month. In San Francisco, the proposed fee for residents looking to move to CleanPower SF would skyrocket by 100.26 percent.
Meanwhile, there’s never been a greater danger of Bay Area customers stranding PG&E.
CleanPowerSF, San Francisco’s city-run green energy program, launches in the spring. Peninsula Clean Energy, a community choice renewable energy program for San Mateo County, is scheduled to launch in August 2016.
And Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power aren’t going anywhere.
But the administrators of these programs have all cried foul, saying that the big fee hikes threaten their business models.
We urge the California Public Utilities Commission to consider these arguments very carefully before they vote on a rate increase as early as next week.
Leno has urged the CPUC to do a public review of its methodology for how the fee should be calculated before voting on any increase above 15 percent.
Considering the fact that the CPUC has historically been incredibly deferential to PG&E’s concerns, Leno’s idea is worth considering. Electricity customers deserve choices, and local clean energy programs deserve the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.
Leading Investors and Businesses Back A Strong Paris Climate Agreement
By Christopher N. Fox
The UN climate conference now underway in Paris represents a critical opportunity to limit the risks of climate change and accelerate the shift to clean energy. That’s whyCeresand leading investors and businesses are in Paris making the economic case for a strong global climate agreement. Together, we are focused on the dual objectives of addressing climate risks by ratcheting down reliance on high carbon resources, on the one hand, while simultaneously seizing the Clean Trillion opportunity tied to clean energy investment and transition, on the other.
Record investor and business support
As the Paris negotiations officially have kicked off, over 400 investors with more than $24 trillion in assets released astatement[see column at right] calling for an ambitious global agreement on climate change. That’s the largest-ever group of investors calling for strong government action on climate change. Investors are publicizing their clean energy investments through the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change’sLow-Carbon Investment Registry, and announcing other actions they are taking on climate change through the newInvestor Platform for Climate Actions.
In addition, more than 1,600 companies have signed Ceres’Climate Declaration; 147 companies have signed the White House Act on Climate BusinessPledge; six major U.S. banks released astatementcalling for a strong climate deal; and the CEOs of 14 major food companies have launched a high profile climatepledge. And thousands of businesses worldwide are joining forces with theWe Mean Business Coalitionin support of climate policy action.
Tackling climate change is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity
Combating climate change requires rapid, large-scale shifting from fossil fuels to clean energy. This transition to clean energy is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity. To limit warming to below two degrees Celsius – a key goal of the Paris climate talks – the International Energy Agency estimates the world needs to invest an additional $40 trillion in clean energy by 2050. That’s slightly more than an additional $1 trillion invested in clean energy – a “Clean Trillion” – per year for the next 35 years.
The Paris climate talks are catalyzing important momentum toward the Clean Trillion goal. The national climate plans that almost every nation in the world has submitted to the UN can spur $13.5 trillion in investment in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies between 2015 and 2030, according to a recent IEAanalysis.
Much more action needed after Paris
A strong Paris climate agreement will accelerate the transition to clean energy, but much more action will be needed in the years ahead to limit warming to below two degrees Celsius. In the months after Paris, the most important single step that the U.S. can take to lead on climate change is to implement the EPA Clean Power Plan, the first-ever nationwide limits on carbon pollution from electric power plants. This US plan for boosting electric sector clean energy transition is a critically important step for the climate and the economy, as recognized by leading voices in the business community — more than 365 companies and investors announced their support for the plan in a July 2015lettercoordinated by Ceres.
As aptly noted by Letitia Webster, senior director of global sustainability at VF Corporation, a North Carolina-based apparel company whose brands include The North Face, Timberland and Reef, “The Clean Power Plan will enable us to continue to invest in clean energy solutions and further advance our greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
And as Mars, Inc. Global Sustainability Director Kevin Rabinovitch points out, “It’s going to take action from all of us … For businesses like Mars, that means delivering on efficiency and renewable energy; for the EPA and state governors, that means developing and delivering against initiatives like the Clean Power Plan.”
Both VF Corporation and Mars are represented as part of the delegation of business and investor leaders that Ceres is bringing to the Paris climate talks to support strong climate policy action. By backing a strong Paris climate agreement and the EPA Clean Power Plan, leading investors and businesses are making a smart business decision. They are supporting policies that will expand investment in the clean energy technologies that the world needs to stabilize the climate and promote a sustainable economy and world.
To learn more about Ceres plans for COP21 in Paris, and what actions leading investor and business leaders have been taking on the road through Paris clickhere.
This statement is signed by 404 investors representing more than US $24 trillion in assets.
We, the institutional investors that are signatories to this Statement, are acutely aware of the risks climate change presents to our investments. In addition, we recognise that significant capital will be needed to finance the transition to a low carbon economy and to enable society to adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.
We are particularly concerned that gaps, weaknesses and delays in climate change and clean energy policies will increase the risks to our investments as a result of the physical impacts of climate change, and will increase the likelihood that more radical policy measures will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, this could jeopardise the investments and retirement savings of millions of citizens.
There is a significant gap between the amount of capital that will be required to finance the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy and the amount currently being invested. For example, while current investments in clean energy alone are approximately $250 billion per year, the International Energy Agency has estimated that limiting the increase in global temperature to two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels requires average additional investments in clean energy of at least $1 trillion per year between now and 2050.
This Statement sets out the contribution that we as investors can make to increasing low carbon and climate resilient investments. It offers practical proposals on how our contribution may be accelerated and increased through appropriate government action.
Stronger political leadership and more ambitious policies are needed in order for us to scale up our investments. We believe that well designed and implemented policies would encourage us to invest significantly more in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable land use and climate resilient development, thereby benefitting our clients and beneficiaries, and society as a whole.
HOW WE CAN CONTRIBUTE
As institutional investors and consistent with our fiduciary duty to our beneficiaries, we will:
■ Work with policy makers to support and inform their efforts to develop and implement policy measures that encourage capital deployment at scale to finance the transition to a low carbon economy and encourage investment in climate change adaptation.
■ Identify and evaluate low carbon investment opportunities that meet our investment criteria and consider investment vehicles that invest in low carbon assets subject to our risk and return objectives.
■ Develop our capacity to assess the risks and opportunities presented by climate change and climate policy to our investment portfolios, and integrate, where appropriate, this information into our investment decisions.
■ Work with the companies in which we investto ensure that they are minimising and disclosing the risks and maximising the opportunities presented by climate change and climate policy.
■ Continue to report on the actions we have taken and the progress we have made in addressing climate risk and investing in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation.
SCALING UP INVESTMENT: THE NEED FOR POLICY ACTION
We call on governments to develop an ambitious global agreement on climate change by the end of 2015. This would give investors the confidence to support and accelerate the investments in low carbon technologies, in energy efficiency and in climate change adaptation.
Ultimately, in order to deliver real changes in investment flows, international policy commitments need to be implemented into national laws and regulations. These policies must provide appropriate incentives to invest, be of adequate duration to improve certainty to investors in long-term infrastructure investments and avoid retroactive impact on existing investments. We, therefore, call on governments to:
■ Providestable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge.
■ Strengthenregulatory support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, where this is needed to facilitate deployment.
■ Supportinnovation in and deployment of low carbon technologies, including financing clean energy research and development.
■ Developplans to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.
■ Ensurethat national adaptation strategies are structured to deliver investment.
■ Considerthe effect of unintended constraints from financial regulations on investments in low carbon technologies and in climate resilience.
ABOUT UNEP FI– UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and the financial sector. Over 200 institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand the impacts of environmental and social considerations on financial performance. Through its Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG), UNEP FI aims to understand the roles, potentials and needs of the finance sector in addressing climate change, and to advance the integration of climate change factors – both risks and opportunities – into financial decision-making. Visit www.unepfi.org.
ABOUT IIGCC– The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a forum for collaboration on climate change for investors. IIGCC’s network includes over 90 members, with some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, representing €7.5trillion in assets. IIGCC’s mission is to provide investors a common voice to encourage public policies, investment practices and corporate behaviour which address long-term risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Visit www.iigcc.org.
ABOUT INCR– The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) is a North Americafocused network of institutional investors dedicated to addressing the financial risks and investment opportunities posed by climate change and other sustainability challenges. INCR currently has more than 100 members representing over $13 trillion in assets. INCR is a project of Ceres, a nonprofit advocate for sustainability leadership that mobilises investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Visit www.ceres.org.
ABOUT IGCC– IGCC is a collaboration of 52 Australian and New Zealand institutional investors and advisors, managing approximately $1 trillion and focussing on the impact that climate change has on the financial value of investments. The IGCC aims to encourage government policies and investment practices that address the risks and opportunities of climate change, for the ultimate benefit of superannuants and unit holders. Visit www.igcc.org.au.
ABOUT AIGCC– The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) is an initiative set up by the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) to create awareness among Asia’s asset owners and financial institutions about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and low carbon investing. AIGCC provides capacity for investors to share best practice and to collaborate on investment activity, credit analysis, risk management, engagement and policy. With a strong international profile and significant network, including pension, sovereign wealth funds insurance companies and fund managers, AIGCC represents the Asian voice in the evolving global discussions on climate change and the transition to a greener economy. Visit http://aigcc.asria.org/.
ABOUT PRI– The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. Its goal is to understand the implications of Environmental, Social and Governance issues (ESG) for investors and support signatories to incorporate these issues into their investment decision making and ownership practices. In implementing the Principles, signatories contribute to the development of a more sustainable global financial system. Visit www.unpri.org.
The sponsoring organisations thank CDP for its support of the statement. CDP is an international, not-for-profit organisation providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information (www.cdp.net).
Repost from thefilm.thischangeseverything.org [Editor: This excellent film was shown nearby recently. You can find out where it is showing now, or arrange to have it shown in your community here. Check out the TRAILER and read more below! – RS]
This Changes Everything
What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?
“Genuinely moving” -Entertainment Weekly “The realization that a solution is possible, well, that changes everything”
– Globe & Mail “Klein and Lewis paint a picture of a post-fossil-fueled, post-capitalist future that seems not only within reach, but like a place where we actually want to live”
– YES Magazine “Klein and those impassioned protesters provide something that has been in short supply in the predecessors — namely, a modicum of hope for the future”
– LA Times
What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?
Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.
Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.
Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.
Over the course of 90 minutes, viewers will meet…
Crystal, a young indigenous leader in Tar Sands country, as she fights for access to a restricted military base in search of answers about an environmental disaster in progress.
Mike and Alexis, a Montana goat ranching couple who see their dreams coated in oil from a broken pipeline. They respond by organizing against fossil fuel extraction in their beloved Powder River Basin, and forming a new alliance with the Northern Cheyenne tribe to bring solar power to the nearby reservation.
Melachrini, a housewife in Northern Greece where economic crisis is being used to justify mining and drilling projects that threaten the mountains, seas, and tourism economy. Against the backdrop of Greece in crisis, a powerful social movement rises.
Jyothi, a matriarch in Andhra Pradesh, India who sings sweetly and battles fiercely along with her fellow villagers, fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant that will destroy a life-giving wetland. In the course of this struggle, they help ignite a nationwide movement.
The extraordinary detail and richness of the cinematography in This Changes Everything provides an epic canvas for this exploration of the greatest challenge of our time. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower. Provocative, compelling, and accessible to even the most climate-fatigued viewers, This Changes Everything will leave you refreshed and inspired, reflecting on the ties between us, the kind of lives we really want, and why the climate crisis is at the centre of it all.
Will this film change everything? Absolutely not. But you could, by answering its call to action.