Capital Climate Coalition
Maximizing the Local Response to Global Warming
The Washington and surrounding Virginia and Maryland communities have the unique opportunity to become one of the leading low-carbon regions, thus, setting an example for cities throughout the nation and the world. On average, a District resident emits 18 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually, which is roughly in line with the national average of 19.7 tons annually. The Capital Climate Coalition was formed in 2003 to assist the DC metro region in addressing and adapting to climate change and lowering its overall emissions. There is a large opportunity for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to stimulate sustainable economic growth, create green jobs, and reduce the region’s GHG emissions. District residents have already begun taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions through increased locally generated renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, such as the solar coops popping up throughout the District, and the Capital Climate Coalition will work to ensure that the region continues to transition into a low-carbon leader.
The emissions composition for the District of Columbia is unique, allowing the District great economic opportunities and challenges. Approximately 75% of emissions come from buildings – the national average is 40% of emissions. There is much low-hanging fruit that can be achieved with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building standards. The remainder of emissions is principally from vehicular emissions and principally from the commuters that entire the District from the surrounding regions daily. This creates a unique set of priorities for District residents and policymakers to lower our overall emissions while creating economic and social growth.
The D.C. Environmental Network has played a leadership role in combating global warming by helping in securing the passage and implementation of the many important environmental programs including (partial):
- In 2005, the District Council passed a renewable portfolio standard requiring 11% of electricity sold in the District to come from renewable sources (wind, solar, other) by 2022. DCEN, working with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and others, helped put together a broad coalition of NGOs and businesses to support this legislation. DCEN has since helped to again increase the amount of wind and solar power available to District residents to 20% (Tier 1) by 2020.
- With the DC Environmental Network working to coordinate coalition activities, the DC Council passed the Clean Cars Act in 2008 to adopt California’s stricter tailpipe emission standards. The Act will not only decrease emissions and improve overall air quality within the District but it will also save the average auto consumer approximately $40 a month.
- The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 mandated Mayor Fenty establish contracts with private entities to manage sustainable energy programs in the District. Specifically it establishes the Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) to assist local residents and businesses in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions and decrease energy costs for residents.
- The Green Building Act of requires publicly funded – and as of 2012 all privately funded – building construction to meet established LEED standards for environmental standards. This will directly translate into decrease energy and water consumption and an improved indoor environment for occupants.
- The Capitol Power Plant has been providing power to our nation’s Capitol Hill complex since 1910. In 2008 and 2009 DCEN worked with Earthjustice, Public Citizen, Sierra Club (DC Chapter) and others to successfully convince Congress to stop using dirty coal to power its steam generating power plant.
What Can I Do?
- Join the Capital Climate Coalition!
- Learn about the many organizations working to combat global warming in the District and region! (partial)
- Capitol Hill Energy Coop
- Carbon Free DC
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Clean Air Task Force
- Coalition for Smarter Growth
- Cool Capital Challenge
- Friends of the Earth
- Global Green USA
- Greenspace NCR
- Institute for Market Transformation
- Mt. Pleasant Solar Coop
- Politics & Prose Climate Action Project
- Sierra Club (DC Chapter)
- Washington Parks & People
- Weatherize DC