According to a new report from the Tellus Institute, California could create 110,000 jobs if it meets its 2020 goal to recycle 75% of its solid waste. From Waste to Jobs: What Achieving 75 Percent Recycling Means for California is a follow-up to a 2011 report that asserted a 75% recycling rate for the entire U.S. could generate 1.5 million new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 515 million metric tons.
Using recovered materials to create new products and packaging is more labour-intensive than incineration or sending them to the landfill. If California sticks to the 2011 AB 341 bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown, it will increase its solid waste diversion rate from half to three quarters while creating 34,000 jobs in materials collection, 26,000 jobs in materials processing, and 56,000 jobs during the manufacture of products using recycled materials. Plastics recycling is particularly significant, potentially delivering 29,000 new jobs alone. 38,600 indirect jobs could also be created in related sectors, such as equipment and services used by the recycling sector.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which commissioned the report, recommends encouraging product stewardship and extended producer responsibility programs requiring packaging manufacturers to support the expansion of recycling infrastructure.
From Waste to Jobs: What Achieving 75 Percent Recycling Means for California is available at: http://www.nrdc.org/recycling/files/green-jobs-ca-recycling-report.pdf
The 2011 Tellus report More Jobs, Less Pollution is available at: docs.nrdc.org/globalwarming/files/glo_11111401a.pdf
NRDC California Recycling Website is at: http://www.nrdc.org/recycling/green-jobs-ca-recycling.asp
The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is an important analytical tool which estimates the economic harm caused by one additional metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It has been used in the U.S. and Canada to evaluate the costs of activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions, and the benefits of policies that reduce those emissions. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency webpage which lists the regulations which have used the SCC at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/EPAactivities/economics/scc.html.
A review of the SCC is currently underway in the U.S., led by the Office of Management and the Budget (the public comments period closed on February 27, 2014). Inevitably, this has been controversial, with oil and gas interests leading the push to prohibit the use of the SCC, on the grounds that it is imprecise and inaccurate. A joint submission by the Environmental Defense Fund, Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists supports the use of the SCC and refutes the arguments of its critics; their statement is available at: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/Joint-Comments-to-OMB.pdf. See the terms and links to the Technical document at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/01/27/2014-01605/technical-support-document-technical-update-of-the-social-cost-of-carbon-for-regulatory-impact.
On January 15th, Wikileaks released the draft Environmental Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The Chapter was written on Nov. 24, 2013, in advance of the December 10th Singapore meetings of the participant countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Wikileaks had this to say about the proposed environmental provisions of the trade deal: “The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.” (see http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/pressrelease.html). Wikileaks also posted an analysis of the Environment Chapter from a New Zealand perspective, by Professor Jane Kelsey, at: http://wikileaks.org/tppa-environment-chapter.html.
In a blog by Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians, the provisions in the TPP draft chapter are likened to the current environmental protections under NAFTA (see http://www.canadians.org/blog/climate-change-safeguarded-tpp-environment-chapter). This is a point of view also expressed in a 2013 report by the Sierra Club, which reviewed all chapters of the TPP (see Raw Deal:How the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our Climate at: http://sc.org/RawDealReport).
The more recent response to the leaked Environment chapter from the Sierra Club, in conjunction with Natural Resources Defence Council and the WWF, describes the dispute resolution process as a “vastly insufficient process” “…an unacceptable rollback of previous commitments and renders the obligations in this chapter virtually meaningless.” (see http://sc.org/TPPEnvironment). Even before the Wikileaks revelations, BlueGreen Alliance, like many others in the U.S., was protesting the attempt to “fast-track” the TPP approval process through the U.S. Congress; see http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-bill-strips-transparency-restricts-democratic-process. The Council of Canadians is one of more than 30 organizations participating in a January 31 Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP and Corporate Globalization. (see http://www.flushthetpp.org/inter-continental-day-of-action-against-the-tpp-corporate-globalization/).