Bank of America Charitable Foundation Funds Formation of "National Task Force on Energy Efficiency" by Ceres and United Nations Foundation
Goal is to double U.S. energy efficiency improvements by 2012
NEW YORK CITY – As part of its $20 billion initiative supporting the growth of environmentally sustainable business activity to address global climate change, Bank of America today announced a $1 million grant to the United Nations Foundation to establish a "National Task Force on Energy Efficiency" with Ceres.
Announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the task force seeks to double the rate of energy efficiency improvement in the United States over the next five years. It will engage leaders from a variety of sectors – including investors, consumers, environmental groups, power companies, and public utility regulators – to promote incentives that would encourage investment in energy efficiency.
"Increasing energy efficiency is one of the best ways to reduce global warming emissions while also encouraging environmentally sustainable economic growth," said Bank of America Chief Marketing Officer Anne Finucane, who chairs the bank’s environmental council. "The creation of this new task force gives us a great opportunity to help increase energy efficiency and encourage the development of new technology, products and services.
"Buildings – homes, offices, stores, and factories – are the best opportunity to improve energy efficiency," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups. "America can dramatically improve the energy efficiency of its buildings by changing incentives for public utilities, while cutting energy bills and curbing global warming pollution."
Numerous Wall Street reports have touted energy efficiency as the most cost effective way to curb global warming emissions. Aggressive energy efficiency could provide up to half of the necessary greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in the U.S., significantly more than any other GHG reduction option.
A UN Foundation study, "Realizing the Potential of Energy Efficiency," released this month shows that doubling the rates of energy efficiency improvement in certain developed and rapidly industrializing countries could hold carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere to a manageable level for the rest of the century.
"Reducing the energy used to produce our goods and services is the cheapest, cleanest and most readily available climate change solution in the United States and around the world," said Tim Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation. "This powerful partnership will bring the United States closer to energy efficiency levels found in other
industrialized countries and help spur development and deployment of the products and practices the entire world needs."
The task force, which will be coordinated by the UN Foundation and Ceres, will complement and reinforce recommendations made in the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency in 2006.
The task force will focus on two principal areas:
- stimulating energy efficiency leadership among financial sector companies and high-tech companies
- aligning incentives to promote large-scale energy efficiency investments by utilities.
Among the specific goals:
- Encourage investment in energy efficiency projects
- Encourage development of innovative financial instruments that permit/facilitate large-scale energy efficiency investment by company clients.
- Encourage development of energy efficiency products and usage by customers and consumers
- Encourage partnerships/commitments with corporate clients that significantly reduce energy consumption, as is already being done by PG&E and Sun Microsystems
Fostering Energy Efficiency Among Utilities:
- Currently the incentive structure in nearly every state rewards utilities only for selling the electricity they generate – not for curbing electricity use. As a result, selling less electricity due to aggressive energy efficiency programs means lower profits. The task force will engage a number of states to discuss the mutual goal of aligning incentives that allow utilities to undertake greater energy efficiency projects.
The ultimate goal of the task force is to double the rate of U.S. energy efficiency improvement by 2012 – from the current 1-1.25 percent per year to 2.5 percent per year.
Ceres is a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of 60 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $4 trillion. For more information, visit www.ceres.org or http://www.incr.com/
About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems and also works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. The UN Foundation is a public charity. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org
Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Bank of America has embarked on an unprecedented 10-year goal to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give more than $200 million in 2007, making the bank one of the most generous corporate donors in the world. Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence" under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contribute more than 500,000 hours each year to improve the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visitwww.bankofamerica.com/foundation.