In China, we helped 600,000 farmers in three provinces improve their agricultural efficiency, reduce their emissions, and earn an income stream in China’s voluntary carbon market. EDF carbon farming demonstration projects are designed to simultaneously reduce carbon pollution and alleviate poverty.
Fighting global warming with cleaner cars
Breakthrough California clean car legislation and a U.S. Supreme Court victory helped EDF and our allies set the table for the Obama administration’s April 2010 release of first-ever national limits on tailpipe carbon pollution from cars and light trucks. The first phase of these historic rules will improve car mileage (comparable to 35.5 miles per gallon) by model year 2016.
Shuttering the dirtiest coal plants
Denver-area residents will breathe easier in the future — we helped negotiate a groundbreaking deal between Excel Energy and the state of Colorado that will lead to the closing of all area coal-fired power plants. Mercury, nitrous oxide, and sulfur emissions in the region will plummet 80 percent. EDF also helped the U.S. EPA craft new proposals to clean up dirty coal-fired plants in 31 eastern states; these measures would prevent as many as 36,000 early deaths each year.
Cleaning up dirty ships
EDF was a prime mover in the International Maritime Organization’s new agreement allowing the U.S. EPA to require that ships entering American waters (which extend 200 miles from shore) burn low-sulfur, relatively clean fuels instead of the staggeringly dirty “bunker fuel” that most of today’s ships use. Air quality will improve along the coasts and even hundreds of miles inland, and EPA estimates that by 2020 the agreement will prevent as many as 14,000 premature deaths and 5 million cases of acute respiratory illness each year.
Fighting global warming by saving rainforests
Rainforest destruction emits as much planet-warming pollution as all the cars and factories in the U.S., combined. (Photo by John Wang / Photodisc / Getty Images)
Amazon deforestation declined by an impressive two-thirds between 2004 and 2010, in part because of long-term efforts by EDF and our partners to make rainforests worth more alive than dead. Cutting and burning rainforests is the source of 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas pollution.
Twenty years ago, EDF helped pioneer REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), an approach that leverages global carbon markets to protect rainforests; EDF is now working to open carbon markets to REDD emissions reductions.
Cut fertilizer pollution in the nation’s waterways
In a step toward curbing runoff pollution from farms — which fouls river and streams and has led to ever-larger “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, and Chesapeake Bay — EDF collaborated on a farming-demonstration project with the Iowa Soybean Association.
This year, the project proved in 10 states that farmers can reduce fertilizer use by 20 percent without lowering crop yield
The power of private equity
The results are in for our two-year-old partnership with Kravis Kohlberg Roberts (KKR): eight companies in the private equity firm’s portfolios forestalled 345,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, avoided 1.2 million tons of solid waste, and saved 8,500 tons of paper. In 2010, we launched a new partnership with the Carlyle Group — another one of the world’s largest private equity firms — to achieve environmental results.
Warning investors about climate change
Underscoring the growing threat of rising seas and hotter temperatures, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued new guidelines advising corporations of their obligation to publicly disclose global warming vulnerabilities to investors. EDF and our partners successfully petitioned the SEC to issue this first-of-its-kind economy-wide climate risk disclosure requirement.
Making the prairie safer for wildlife
Pronghorn trace ancient migratory paths across federal, state, and private land. (Photo by istockphoto.com / Tom Tietz)
Fencing can injure and kill wildlife and block migration. EDF scientists solved this problem with simple, cheap methods that make 170 million acres of government land in the West safer for wildlife, including rare prairie birds and pronghorn.
Forging a new water path
We helped enact new laws in California and North Carolina requiring states to assess the ecological needs of rivers — the first step towards ensuring they have enough water to stay healthy. In Texas, our work helped establish water needs in two river basins. Along the Colorado River, EDF is making progress towards a new U.S.-Mexican framework to protect and restore the Colorado Delta, also by providing water for environmental needs.
Pecan Street Project: The smartest and greenest electric grid
In Austin, Texas, EDF is a key player in the Pecan Street Project, a bold effort to build a smart, green electric grid for the 21st century. At the end of 2009 we helped our partners —Dell, GE Energy, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and other technology companies; the famed Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas; Austin Energy; the City of Austin and Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce — win a $10 million federal grant.
EDF is now barreling forward on development of a pilot project in a mixed residential and commercial development, designed to test “smart” appliances, two-way communication that allows residents to sell excess solar energy from their rooftops, and innovative financial incentives for homeowners to let the utility use their plug-in electric vehicles as storage batteries for renewable energy.
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