Meeting of The President's Council on
JUNE 4, 1998
(PCSD Co Chairs: Ray C. Anderson, President
& CEO of Interface, Inc., and Jonathan Lash, Executive Director of
the World Resource Institute.)
PCSD Co Chairs Ray Anderson and
Jonathan Lash welcomed the participants to the 19th meeting
of the President's Council on Sustainable Development. Jonathan Lash reviewed
the day's agenda and objectives. Mr. Anderson then provided the Council
with a summary of the previous two meetings. He noted that:
RESPONSE TO SUSTAINABLE AMERICA
In Tulsa, OK, Council Members heard
from experts on the science and impacts associated with climate change,
potential economic costs and benefits of addressing climate change, and
innovations in the U.S. that address climate change without sacrificing
economic goals. The Council began its policy deliberations on climate change
and raised public awareness on the issue.
At the Atlanta, GA meeting, experts presented
information on some promising greenhouse gas reduction technologies in
buildings, transportation, and industry. A community forum was held on
quality of life and climate change. The Climate Task Force developed and
delivered to the President a set of climate principles.
Katie McGinty, Chair, White House Council
on Environmental Quality)
Katie McGinty of the White House
Council on Environmental Quality updated the Council on sustainable
activities undertaken since the publication of Sustainable America.
Specific activities she highlighted included:
The Interagency Working Group on Sustainable
Communities, chaired by CEQ, is preparing a strategy report for the
Vice President that will include:
- new policies offering information, data,
and tools for communities interested in implementing smart growth
- new federal policies that will encourage
collaboration across local jurisdictional lines.
The American Heritage Rivers Initiative,
will recognize ten rivers by the end of June. The program is designed to
bring the extensive resources of thirteen federal agencies to the service
of communities wishing to achieve environmental restoration, economic
along river fronts, and revitalization of river fronts.
Transportation Equity Act For The
Century Act (ISTEA reauthorization).
PCSD Climate Change Principals
where presented to the President in December.
The PATH Initiative. The PATH initiative
will help to advance technology in the housing sector to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. This new budget initiative will put $6.3
billion over five years towards research in energy efficiency and renewable
energy technologies, and will provide tax incentives for consumers and
businesses to utilize these new technologies.
The Partnership For New Generation
Through this public - private initiative, the Big Three auto makers have
pledged to produce cars that get about 80 miles per gallon by 2001 -- helping
put the US on road to greenhouse gas reduction.
President Frei of Chile and the G-8
have recognized that developing countries need to participate and assume
binding targets that addressing climate change.
TOWN MEETING FOR A SUSTAINABLE AMERICA PRESENTATION
The CEQ is involved in Emissions trading
proposals and Clean Development Mechanism proposals that are being
discussed in Bonn, Germany in preparation for the Buenos Aires
(Ray Anderson; Carol Browner, Administrator
of the US EPA; and Jim Hartzfeld, Interface, Inc.)
Ray Anderson, Co Chair of the National
Town Meeting For A Sustainable America (NTM) introduced the Council to
the initiative. Mr. Anderson briefly highlighted the efforts of the different
working groups that are planning the NTM. He noted that PCSD will take
a role as a "co" of every aspect of the event: co-host, co-convener,
etc. with the sustainable development community. Mr Anderson stated that
he hopes the NTM will enable fifty million Americans to speak with one
voice for sustainable development.
Carol Browner, EPA Administrator
and NTM Co Chair, urged participants at the meeting to become involved
in preparations for the NTM and in discussions about sustainable development
in general. She also stressed EPA's commitment to executing the NTM.
Jim Hartzfeld of Interface Inc.,
a member of the Executive Committee for the NTM gave a slide presentation
that outlined major goals, themes, and designs for the meeting. These points
are presented below.
Goals for the National Town
Creating a network
to create a national dialogue that will continue
after the meeting,
to actively engage participants and honor
them as well,
to reach across boundaries and find solutions
through collaboration with those not yet a part of the sustainable
to commit to personal action, institutional
action, and real change.
Events surrounding the National
The event will bring together change agents
from all sectors of America society and provide them with leverage for
Concurrent events in other cities will help
galvanize support from a second group of citizens, many of whom have not
had much exposure to sustainable development.
A third group of citizens, more concerned
with day to day matters, will learn about sustainable development through
publicity around the event.
COMMUNITY-BASED CLIMATE SOLUTIONS PRESENTATION
The Journey to Detroit. To build
momentum, the NTM is urging other events and programs that are scheduled
between now and May sign up as affiliated events.
Closely affiliated events will be 10
large, community-sponsored and organized events that be held at the same
time as the event in Detroit. These events will be linked to the "hub"
event in Detroit by a variety of information technologies, such as satellite
linkage. In addition, co-marketing, organization, and strategizing would
be linked with the NTM. To qualify for closely affiliated status, these
event will have to align themselves with the ten goals of PCSD.
Loosely affiliated events will be events
held on or around May 2 - 5 but are not directly linked to the hub event
in Detroit. Such events will be able to self-certify themselves, possibly
have access to the NTM logo and materials, and the privilege of showing
that they are part of this historical event. Partnering with the so called
loosely affiliated events will help the NTM reach a wider
Detroit will serve as the hub for the
event, which will take place on May 2 - 5. The NTM in Detroit seeks to
attract about 3,000 participants. Pre-summit events will include cultural
and religious activities. The core of the meeting will occur on Monday,
Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Main program themes will be crossing
boundaries, building trust, and making commitments. Cross-cutting themes
include people, place, the environment, communities, business, and
Big anchor events will motivate people to take action, while plenary sessions
and working groups will get people into an honest learning mode.
The PCSD - Renew America Awards will
recognize work already done. Community receptions will help to create a
national round table preparing commitments to action.
The Council's rolewill be to act as
a catalyst for action, to lend support and enthusiasm to local events,
to provide in kind contributions and monetary contributions, and to add
input on activities deserving of honor at the awards ceremony.
Discussion topics for the plenary
events included: technology as a means of including people nation-wide,
international participation, criteria-setting for participation, media
coverage, an event in Philadelphia, an event linking religion and ethics
to the discussion on sustainability, the desire of NGOs to get involved,
and the need to include more energy groups on the list of
(Working Group Chair Scott Bernstein,
of the Center for Neighborhood Technology; Mortimer Downey, Undersecretary,
Department of Transportation)
4.1 Overview Of
Working Group Activities
Scott Bernstein updated the Council
on the efforts of the Cross-Cutting Working Group of the Climate Change
Task Force. Mr. Bernstein outlined the rationale, goals, and potential
projects stemming from the Working Group. The main points of his presentation
are outlined below:
The rationale for the working
Three goals of the working group
The majority of sources of greenhouse gas
emissions are from small emitters or producers. This means that climate
change policy is needed for everyday living.
These sources can be addressed in ways that
result in significant and widely distributed benefits beyond controlling
Eight recommended principles to meet
these goals are:
to promote voluntary action at the local
regional, household, and firm level that furthers climate and other
to promote policies and practices that help
achieve climate protection and contribute to PCSD's objectives,
to identify and capture the net economic and
environmental benefits from such initiatives.
Some examples that demonstrate these
goals and principles:
promote early action and rapid learning at
many different levels throughout society,
take full advantage of technology as it becomes
act in a continuous improvement
take full advantage of entrepreneurship by
developing new markets to achieve climate objectives,
use the capacities of developed communities
and networks to achieve mutual gains across the full range of interests
ease transaction costs and risks,
find a way to track performance, and
ISTEA Reauthorizing Legislation Highlights
Atlanta's 211 project, developed by
the Atlanta Regional Council and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta
in conjunction with the public commission and the telephone company, helps
connect people to volunteer projects by simply by dialing "211" on the
A program put together by a consortium of
bond underwriters led by Goldman Sachs and DOE helps to provide incentives
for energy efficiency to schools and hospitals by counting the extra
expected cash flow from energy efficiency in bond underwriting.
US EPA's Smart Growth Partnership helps
growing communities utilize existing downtown areas, parking lots, and
first generation shopping centers to their full potential
A partnership between banks and the Federal
National Mortgage Association will offer location efficient mortgages
that account for the amount of transportation necessary given the location.
Another transportation initiative encourages credit enhancement and public
policy to facilitate reinvestment in the market.
Mortimer Downey, Undersecretary
of Transportation spoke about the potential benefits in transportation
re-authorization legislation. Mr. Downey noted the following:
The ISTEA legislation will include:
5. METROPOLITAN AND RURAL
STRATEGIES TASK FORCE REPORT
forty-two billion dollars for transit which
local and regional governments can use at their discretion for
strong measures on seat belts, drunk driving,
rail grade crossings, and other safety programs,
opportunities such as welfare-to-work,
business provisions, and labor provisions,
the continuation of the congestion management
and air quality program with a focus on non attainment areas and air quality
strategies by Congress. Enhancements will be continued and expanded, with
more than three billion dollars over the next six years.
more bicycle and pedestrian programs and scenic
tax code changes that remove the disincentive
for employers to offer the transit benefit,
a technology program that focuses on truck
and bus vehicles,
Section 1221, the transportation and community
and systems preservation pilot program puts $120 million towards involving
metropolitan areas in discussions about the linkage between transportation
investment and development,
more transportation investment to Brownfields
areas to encourage development,
a research program put together by NSTC's
Technology Committee through the government that addresses sustainable
development and transportation, and much greater use of pricing in
(Robert Hickmott, Counselor to the
Housing and Urban Development, and Scott Bernstein)
5.1 Overview Of
Task Force Activities
Task Force Chair Scott Bernstein reviewed
the task force's goals and principals. He discussed the four major goals
of the task force, which are:
Mr. Bernstein noted that four working groups
are currently investigating rural strategies, innovative economic strategies
for sustainable communities, multi-jurisdictional and regional collaboration,
and evaluating progress. He then reviewed the principals of the task force
to advance critical thinking and action on
both rural and urban issues and cross-cutting issues between
to promote support of policies for
multi-jurisdictional, and regional partnerships,
to recommend a framework of indicators to
track and evaluate progress both at the national and at the community level,
to engage in community initiatives to promote
awareness, share information, and show support.
In closing, Mr. Bernstein discussed the task
force's emphasis on continuous investment in education. In addition, the
task force wants to ensure that community-based initiatives are matched
by market-based opportunities, are able to leverage trends in the financial
services industry, will offer incentives to overcome barriers to
goals at the local level, and will package economic strategies for
development as " franchises" so that they can be distributed quickly.
sustaining existing communities,
building on local assets (economic, ecological,
and social) and systems that take advantage of those in a positive manner,
ensuring that sustainable strategies are
in the places that most need them.
Initiatives at the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Robert Hickmott, Counselor to the
Secretary of Intergovernmental Relations, Department of House & Urban
Development, listed several initiatives currently underway at HUD,
PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGIONAL COUNCIL UPDATE
A deconstruction program that enables some
materials to be recovered from buildings that would otherwise be torn down
or dynamited and promotes the welfare-to-work idea is underway;
A "regionalism project" with the Joint Center
for Sustainable Communities to develop best practices and incentives for
groups that are implementing a regionalism initiatives;
A Showcase Community recognition program that
will reward sixteen communities for Brownfields cleanup initiatives;
Establishing a dialogue with the Home Loan
Bank Board to encourage bankers to step up lending for Brownfields economic
development in urban America
(Ted Strong, Executive Director, Columbia
Inter-Tribal Fish Commission)
Ted Strong began his presentation
with a video about the Regional Council's work. Afterwards, he spoke on
the uncertain future of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council, but
that activities about sustainable development will not cease even if the
Council is disbanded. Mr. Strong urged the President's Council to do more
with Regional Councils so that the Members can witness the challenges of
implementing sustainable development concepts and goals.
PRESENTATION - "THE IMPORTANT OF INCENTIVES FOR EARLY ACTION"
(Dr. D. James Baker, Undersecretary for
Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce; Steve Percy, President,
BP America; and Fred Krupp, Executive Director, Environmental Defense
The Council heard presentations on the
importance of early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a
economic, and environmental perspective.
Dr. D. James Baker, Undersecretary
for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce noted that once emitted,
most greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for decades to even centuries.
The more rapidly gases are emitted, the greater the build up of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere, consequently accelerating the rate which the climate
will change. Dr. Baker also noted that:
Steve Percy, President, British Petroleum
America, stated that the Kyoto Protocol will require the development of
new technologies and new ways of doing business in a relatively short time
frame. Without any change in our current patterns of energy use, U.S.
of greenhouse gases will be 34% higher in 2008 than they were in 1990.
The Kyoto Protocol commits the U.S. to reduce emissions 7% below 1990 levels
to be obtained between 2008 and 2012. To avoid economic dislocation, it
is very important for businesses to start reducing emissions now. Early
action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions helps businesses gain competitive
advantage, provides them with opportunities to learn about how to reduce
emissions cost-effectively, and has much lower costs than crash programs.
In addition, Mr. Percy noted that:
Due to the thermal inertia of the ocean, global
warming can only be reversed very slowly.
Even if the emissions reductions agreed upon
at Kyoto are reached, stabilization of the atmospheric concentration of
greenhouse gases will take many years.
Early action will buy time to react to climate
change impacts to ecological and socioeconomic systems.
Fred Krupp, Executive Director,
Defense Fund, noted that an "annuity of benefits" could be realized in
the decades and centuries to come by avoiding the impacts of climate change.
He also recognized that rapid economic transition will become more difficult
the longer we wait. An early action strategy can help get everyone involved
in the business of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Specific incentives
to elicit voluntary efforts by some companies would help give businesses
a reason to take action now. An early action program would help everyone
learn about new technologies, and would also help address design issues
of the ultimate regulatory program such as verification of emissions
Mr Krupp also noted that:
Translating innovation into market realities
takes time, but lead times for renewable energy are quickly
BP America is launching a pilot program for
intracompany emissions trading in partnership with the Environmental Defense
Fund. By starting early, BP America hopes to gain a competitive advantage
and benefit from early learning.
The business community needs to have some
tangible incentives in the form of current value or reduced future
to provide the incentives for companies to find solutions to the climate
It is necessary to ease the transition to
lower emissions for the sake of both the economy and the environment, but
the transition to lower emissions must be facilitated.
One way of providing certainty to those that
want to take early action is to reward those that their emissions below
a certain level and then be awarded a greenhouse gas emissions reduction
credit. This credit would be taken from the total emissions the U.S. is
allowed between 2008-2012, ensuring the environment would
Emissions credit programs could allow a wide
variety of investors in business to participate, will provide certainty
for business, and can increase accountability on the international
Carol Browner noted that EPA
runs an emissions trading program for reducing sulfur emissions from electric
power plants. She stated that the program has been tremendously successful
-- pollution reductions have come earlier than otherwise, the program is
cost effective, and the compliance rate is higher than in other programs.
EPA is looking to expand its program to include other media. One problem
with an emissions trading program will be convincing business to participate
in a program when the details are not yet worked out.
Scott Bernstein raised additional
reasons for early action. The first is that joint action is necessary to
cut down on greenhouse gas emissions not traceable to one entity. Second,
an emissions credit program will help cut emissions from small sources
in metro areas that need incentives to cut back on pollution. The emissions
credit program would also foster continuous learning and a continuous
system. The level of trust will rise as the offsets are set at the correct
Carol Browner raised several
for creating such a program such as finding the baseline information and
deciding how to allocate the credits.
Katie McGinty spoke on the
other nations have about emission trading. Europeans are hesitant to adopt
an emissions trading system due to their inexperience with market-based
mechanisms for environmental protection. Developing countries fear that
developed countries would simply buy emissions credits rather than clean
up their domestic production.
Jonathan Lash mentioned that an
emissions trading program could use a variety of methods--auction, cap
and trade, or simply tax incentives --for U.S. policy to achieve reductions.
Also, he reminded the participants that not everyone is in support of meeting
Kyoto goals, and that there isn't any value to credits if no policy exists
to enforce the Kyoto goals. He proposed that the program include measures
so that early actors are not penalized, and questioned what specific policy
recommendations or principles for early action the Council would
Ray Anderson wanted to know whether
a metric that looks at emissions per unit of output would work. Conceptually,
how would credits be handled--as a unit of sales or in absolute terms?
He also wondered how emissions that come from diffuse sources be
Other questions and comments focused on
equity issues surrounding an emissions reduction program, the time line
involved, and monitoring and baseline information.
CLIMATE TECHNOLOGIES AND BARRIERS
(Jonathan Lash; Dr. James Markowsky
Vice President for Power Generation, American Electric Power; Denny Minano
on behalf of Harry Pearce, Vice Chairman, General Motors; Dr. Joseph Romm,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary For Energy Efficiency & Renewable
Energy, US DOE.)
Jonathan Lash introduced the panel
and this part of the program as a discussion rather than a presentation.
Council members had been given a report that outlined promising technologies
for greenhouse gas reduction and outlines of potential barriers to the
implementation of these technologies.
Discussion focused on technologies that
have potential to improve efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
and barriers to implementation of those technologies. The following
provide a summary of this discussion.
James Markowsky encouraged the
Council to consider both short-term (achievable by 2008 or 2012) and
(twenty years or more) time frames. The long-term time frame should focus
on R&D and commercialization issues to achieve the goals of improved
efficiency and reduced emissions, he stated.
Dennis Minano questioned the idea
of a list of recommended technologies because such a list would be outdated
in a few years. Additionally, Mr. Minano felt that such a list would slow
down entrepreneurship. He suggested supporting an early incentive program
that encourages risk-takin and entrepreneurship.
James Markowsky thought that
performance objectives for each sector might be a better approach. He thought
that in the electric utility sector, performance objectives might include
thermal efficiency with milestones set out to achieve that goal.
Joe Romm said that the group did
not intend to pick winners. The list they generated focused on the classes
of technologies that would be effective, such as cogeneration and renewable
energies, without necessarily picking specific technologies.
Scott Bernstein asked about the
role of information technologies on the list of technologies to
Jonathan Lash asked whether some
appropriate criteria for evaluating technologies would include more than
their greenhouse gas reduction potential. He recommended including a
measure that would favor low-carbon fuels over high-carbon fuels and give
a measurement for early action credit.
Katie McGinty wanted to know of
the technology issue could encourage more people to be positive actors
toward climate change goals even if they did not support Kyoto.
Donna Wise of the World Resource
Institute clarified the work of the task force as focusing heavily on rapid
deployment of technology. They did not seek to rigorously evaluate the
emissions reduction potential of specific technologies. She thought the
Working Group would focus most of its efforts on overcoming barriers to
the development of the identified classes of technologies.
Fred Krupp (EDF) mentioned the
need to get the incentives right--to align prices with society's goals--as
the biggest barrier.
James Markowsky again mentioned
the need to address time frames, R&D, and commercialization issues.
Moreover, how can advanced technologies be introduced over the next ten
years so that they are ready to be deployed in the time after 2010?
Jonathan Lash raised the issue
of aligning the Clean Air Act requirements and possible future CO2 reduction
Dennis Minano suggested looking
at the problem with a systems approach to make it more understandable.
Carol Browner stressed that
must be created so that those who are achieving ozone, NOx, and particulate
matter reductions can also reduce greenhouse gases but that the benefits
of cleaner air must not be delayed.
Joe Romm emphasized that emissions
reductions agreed upon in Kyoto are well within the U.S.'s reach. No
will be devastated, although transition costs need to be addressed in some
James Markowsky suggested climate
should be integrated into policy over the longer term because a step change
is not very efficient. He also provided
statistics about Kyoto's effect on coal use, which Browner questioned because
they do not assume technology advances. Markowsky clarified that it is
important to consider the longer term impacts of climate policy requires
sustained low levels of emissions in a growing economy.
MANAGEMENT TASK FORCE REPORT
(Dennis Minano on behalf of Harry Pearce,
Vice Chairman, General Motors; Carol Browner, Administrator, EPA; Mike
McCloskey, Sierra Club, not present)
Dennis Minano introduced the task
force's basic views on the need for a new environmental management framework.
He noted that the Environmental Management Task Force work is particularly
timely given the global climate issue.
Dean Drake of General Motors and
member of the Task Force then provided the Council with a multi-media
of the Task Force's work towards creating a vision of a new environmental
management framework. Mr. Drake began this presentation by showing a video
vignette of General Motors' Futurama 1939-40 World Fair. He noted that
this vision of future, which was seen by nearly 23 percent of the U.S.
population, help shaped development and planning decisions in the US in
the decades following its release.
Mr. Drake then discussed the process the
Task Force used to develop a vision for the future environmental management
system. He noted that the group began by asking itself, "How will the future
environmental management system further the ideas presented in Sustainable
America?" He then explained how the visioning exercise helped the Task
Force develop a sense of a new environmental management framework that
could foster sustainable development. Currently the Task Force is reviewing
current innovative environmental management reforms. Mr. Drake stated that
the visioning exercise helped the Task Force create a lens for viewing
current initiatives in a manner that will enable them to identify elements
that facilitate sustainable development.
Some of the attributes of a future
management framework that the Task Force is considering include:
The new framework will depend on:
adapts to changing circumstances with
allocates resources efficiently,
achieves its goal through a strategic
of regulatory, voluntary, social, and economic means,
anticipates future technology, and
uses measures of key performance or performance
The working group looks forward to formulating
its final report and completing its work as a Task Force.
enforceable performance-based goals,
information and learning,
the strength of the market to reward,
U.S. EPA Administrator Carol Browner
asked the audience to think about how to create incentives for companies
to move beyond compliance and how information and sophisticated company
know-how can be used positively to achieve environmental goals.
Dennis Minano expressed GM's
for participating in this task force, that is, looking forward to a system
that rewards and promotes good environmental performance in new ways, one
based on a "systems approach" necessary for pollution "reduction curves"
like those that will be needed for addressing climate change.
EPA Administrator Carol Browner
agrees with the need for a system that supports companies on the front-end
of environmental management with a demonstrated ability to "do more than
the bare minimum." She was also interested in having the task force evaluate
the role and value of "third party certification" in a new framework.
Council co-chair Ray Anderson was
also keen to know how a company, like Interface, that was moving toward
goals of sustainability that are well beyond compliance could expect to
be "assisted" by a new environmental management framework and EPA.
Scott Bernstein of the Center for
Neighborhood Technologies exhorted the task force to look for the economic
logic that anticipates social goals critical to the success of a new
management framework, rather than solely looking for an economic
of environmental aims.
Joe Romm of the Energy Dept. strongly
urged the task force to integrate the energy management perspective which
has long been segmented from environmental factors.
Ted Strong from the Pacific Northwest
Regional Council on Sustainable Development felt that community and "social
indicators" are indispensable to the success of any new framework.
Katie McGhinty would like CEQ to
brief the task force on NEPA and looks forward to the task force further
identifying the "inter-linkages" between environmental, equity, and economics
with which the council was unanimous in agreement.
Jonathan Lash stated that indeed
we ought to look at environmental issues from all three perspectives, not
look just at the environmental consequences, but the social consequences
of performance, particularly for manufacturing industries thus expanding
the sensitivity of the system to the range of sustainability issues.
Tom Jensen, representing Tom Cast,
chairman and CEO of Trigen Energy Corporation, asked members to look over
Trigen's papers on impediments to generation efficiency in electricity
Jack Heckleman from the Alliance
for a Sustainable Future believes that questions should be framed in terms
of policy rather then technology. He mentioned the Bonn negotiations and
the need for a public outreach campaign on the necessity of emissions
Tina Carsburg, a representative
from Northeast-Midwest Institute, believes electricity deregulation will
be crucial for emissions reductions. She urged consideration of an
restructuring plan being drafted by the Administration and asked the Council
to become involved with electricity restructuring so that barriers to
that result in lower greenhouse gas emissions are overcome. She mentioned
a new bill, the Innovation-Based Electricity Restructuring Bill, that
Institute and Representatives Meehan and Franks are working on.
Scott Blumberg, a former retailer
businessman, former environmental manager in public service to the State
of Maryland, and consultant to organizations undergoing change, stated
that sustainability must be seen as a business and environmental incentive
in order to draw support from small business and small- to medium-sized
Phil Heinrich of Get America Working
thinks that recognition of market share is necessary. Markets can be
into different groups to set up trading regimes.