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This study provides strong evidence that an enhanced national recycling and composting strategy in the United States can significantly and sustainably address critical national priorities including climate change, lasting job reation, and improved health. Achieving a 75 percent diversion rate for municipal solid waste (MSW) and construction and demolition debris (C&D) by 2030 will result in: A total of 2.3 million jobs: Almost twice as many jobs as the projected 2030 Base Case Scenario, and about 2.7 times as many jobs as exist in 2008. There would be a significant number of additional indirect jobs associated with suppliers to this growing sector, and additional induced jobs from the increased spending by the new workers. Lower greenhouse gas emissions: The reduction of almost 515 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (eMTCO) from diversion activities, an additional 276 million eMTCO than the Base Case, equivalent to shutting down about 72 coal power plants or taking 50 million cars off the road. Less pollution overall: Significant reductions in a range of conventional and toxic emissions that impact human and ecosystem health. Unquantified benefits of reducing ecological pressures associated with use of non-renewable resources, conserving energy throughout the materials economy, and generating economic resiliency through stable, local employment.
This report explores a range of national policies to increase energy efficiency, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies and shift energy use to more efficient power systems while reducing the electricity bills of consumers and businesses. The policies considered for the industrial sector are aimed at utilizing the vast potential for cogeneration of heat and power and improving energy efficiencies through technical assistance, financial incentives and expanded research and development (R&D) programs to encourage cost-effective emissions reductions. The policies for residential and commercial buildings include strengthened codes for building energy consumption, new appliance efficiency standards, and tax incentives. The policies considered for the electric generation sector include a market-oriented “renewable portfolio standard” (RPS) and a cap on pollutant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide.
In December 2000, Massachusetts’ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the Beyond 2000 Solid Waste Master Plan — A Policy Framework, its plan and vision for managing solid waste over the coming decade. This report outlines necessary steps DEP needs to take in order to reach the waste reduction goals articulated in the Master Plan. It includes an assessment of the best strategies to reduce waste at its source and increase participation in existing programs. It also identifies the most critical areas to expand recycling and composting access and infrastructure to move toward the 70% waste reduction goal.
To increase California’s recycling rate from about 50 percent in 2012 to 75 percent by 2020, CalRecycle estimates that about 23 million tons of material that is currently being disposed must be recycled or composted. This report examines the job creation potential of recycling, and outlines the research process undertaken. Results show that achieving a 75 percent recycling rate in California by 2020 has the potential to create at least 110,000 additional recycling jobs.
Policies to spur increased investment in renewable electricity generation can offer significant public benefits, including economic development and energy security, as well as improved public health and environmental quality owing to air pollution reductions. Congress has attempted to formally recognize these benefits by creating the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve (CRER) in the 1990 Clean Air Act (CAA) Amendments, which set aside a portion of the national SO2 allowance budget for renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, the CRER was severely underutilized, and has expired. This study considers modifications to CAA that would increase the number of emission allowances allocated to renewable energy generation to enable renewables to compete fairly in emission trading and clean air compliance markets, and estimates the economic and environmental benefits of these changes.
As states and corporations continue to harm the planet, legal experts and citizens are calling for the codification of ecocide as a fifth crime against peace, joining genocide, crimes of agression, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Initiatives to criminalize ecocide express an emerging ecocentric worldview in law that grants intrinsic value and rights to nature; this challenges the view of nature as a lifeless “object” for human use. In order for human laws to work in harmony with nature’s laws, voice and legal standing must be given to nature’s rights and interests when crafting legislation and public policy.
This report explores the challenge of sustainability by considering four different scenarios that may emerge in the future: Market Forces (in which policy prioritizes economic growth and free trade), Policy Reform (which assumes a large-scale implementation of reform policies aimed at meeting sustainability objectives), Fortress Work (where powerful global actors seek an authoritarian path), and Great Transition (in which citizens drive fundamental change towards a sustainable and livable future). Readers can draw on these future scenarios to guide policy strategies, institutional change, and their human values and choices in the present.
This report outlines a series of strategies that can be used to reduce the impacts of climate change through risk management in the Metro-Boston region. It provides recommendations in five major sectors (built environment and key infrastructure, coastal zone, natural resources and habitat, human health and welfare, and local economy and government) that should be taken to make the region prepared for and resilient to natural disasters and climate change.