Sun joins in call on Congress for clean energy economy

Coalitions seeks CO2 emission cuts, clean-energy investments, and coal plant limits

Sun, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Nike, and The Timberland Company joined with Ceres this week in calling on Congress for strong U.S. climate and energy legislation in early 2009 to spur the clean energy economy and reduce global warming pollution.

The group's key principles include stimulating renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency and green jobs, requiring 100 percent auction of carbon allowances, and limiting new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions.

The collective group has opted for a name with some muscle: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). Ceres, which helped organize BICEP, is a coalition of investors, environmental groups, and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change.

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"Large-scale climate change would have economic, social and environmental consequences for our business and the communities in which we operate," said Hilary Krane, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Levi Strauss, in a provided statement. "We can voluntarily change our own behavior in the hopes of mitigating impacts and are doing so, but we also believe that U.S. government leadership is essential if we are to create an environment in which every U.S. company recognizes the role it must play in addressing climate change and the responsibilities associated with doing business in a carbon-constrained world."

The coalition's goal is to work directly with the business community and members of Congress to pass energy and climate change legislation consistent with the following eight core principles:

* Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

* Establish an economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.

* Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of our historic rate of energy efficiency improvement.

* Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.

* Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables, and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.

* Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially "green.collar" jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change's economic impact.

* Adopt a national renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.

* Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.

For more details on BICEP, go here.