Recap from Durban: Good COP, Bad COP
From the experience of Jason Hartke, Vice President, National Policy, USGBC
Like on any of the nighttime dramas, we watch time and time again how yet another police duo utilize the classic good cop/bad cop routine. Well, in my final blog from Durban, I leave you with my own Good COP/Bad COP.
Let's play GOOD COP first: A Deal is Struck
The good news is that we have an agreement to create a legally binding deal by 2015, a Durban Platform for Advanced Action. Significantly, and thanks to our stalwart U.S. negotiators – Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing – the framework for that agreement will include all countries. That is a significant departure from the old paradigm the created a firewall between developed and developing countries. This Durban agreement will now include all major emitters – like China, India and Brazil. On Sunday afternoon, following what was the longest COP in history, Pershing said it is "a major step forward on climate change." He continued, "It's the most constructive collective action in a decade." The bad news is that the details won't be finalized until 2015.
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Local Officials Gather to Find Common Ground on Green Schools
On Nov. 29, state legislators, key decision makers and USGBC chapter members from across the South and Midwest convened at Richardsville Elementary School in Kentucky, the nation's first net-zero energy school, for a "Common Ground" event to discuss the success of the green schools movement in the region and the best practices that can be applied to their own communities.
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See photos from the event »
Leadership Abounds: President Obama, President Clinton and Green Building Leaders Join Forces to Commit to Energy Efficiency
Last week from the White House Old Executive Building it was like a different planet -- outside the white walls, D.C. politics continued to swirl, but for one moment we found something we can all agree on. I sat there as President Obama and former President Clinton joined forces to make three huge announcements on energy efficiency in buildings. First, that the federal government will be investing big time in energy efficiency, to the tune of $2 billion dollars that will ultimately be returned to taxpayers many times over through lower operating costs. Second, that the private sector will do the same, as companies respond to the President's Better Buildings Challenge with their own $2 billion dollar investment covering $1.6 billion square feet of commercial building space. Last but not least, the IRS and Treasury will finally revise the guidance on the under-utilized 179D tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings.
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