Environmental Defense

Power Efficiency Guide

Ultimate Guide to Power Efficiency

Get Instant Access

environmental defense (Ed), an environmental advocacy group headquartered in New York, began when a group of scientists teamed up with a lawyer, went to court, won a battle to ban the pesticide DDT, and incorporated as the Environmental Defense Fund in 1967. Environmental Defense now prefers to work creatively, without confrontation, for solutions to environmental challenges, the most serious of which it views as global warming, "through partnership with powerful market leaders."

ED prides itself on having on staff "more Ph.D. scientists and economists than any similar group" and is noted for its "rigorous scientific approach." It seeks not only to oppose policies that it deems detrimental to the environment, but also to propose workable, innovative alternatives. In 2007, Environmental Defense was a founder and organizer of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of environmental organizations and corporations advocating legislative action to address global warming.

Most of ED's more innovative solutions have been market-based. According to ED's chief economist, Dr. Daniel Dudek, market competition "has always been the most powerful engine of American innovation." Solutions reached using this approach have included a 1989 Environmental Defense plan in which Southern California's largest urban water district encouraged and financed farm water conservation by buying the conserved water. This followed the creation of a market for water rights in California in the 1970s, that gave farmers an incentive to conserve water and sell it to cities, thus avoiding the construction of new dams. As another example, the cap-and-trade mechanism for curbing emissions, which was designed by ED and introduced in the 1990 Clean Air Act to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that cause acid rain, is viewed by the group as "the centerpiece of international plans to reduce global warming pollution."

ED has also proposed innovative solutions to wildlife conservation issues. Its Safe Harbor program assures landowners that protecting endangered species habitat will not result in burdensome restrictions on the use of their land. Its Catch Shares program advocates the creation of limited-access privilege programs that place control of specific marine fisheries in the hands of local fishing cooperatives, providing fishermen with incentives to limit their catch and restore depleted fisheries.

ED has also helped develop agreements among multiple stakeholders to set aside marine protected areas that allow fish stocks to recover. When working with McDonald's in 1991 to convince the fast-food chain to reduce packaging waste and introduce biodegradable food containers, the group used the market incentive approach to not on appeal to altruism, but to point out benefits to the corporation of improved efficiency and reduced waste. McDonald's Vice President Bob Langert commented, "Environmental Defense is probably the best non-governmental organization to find the intersection between profit and planet."

The group also spurred Federal Express's 2003 use of hybrid electric delivery trucks in Sacramento, California, New York City, and Tampa, Flor-

Environmental Development Action In the Third World

ida, which not only reduced emissions by up to 90 percent, but also cut fuel use, and thus costs, by up to 57 percent. More examples include an incentive program in California that encourages residents to purchase energy-efficient air conditioners and refrigerators, a joint air-quality management district on the U.S.-Mexico border to improve local air quality, a sulfur dioxide permit program in the electric-generating sector in China, and a program of incentives in Russia used to measure and reduce greenhouse emissions. Environmental Defense has convinced PetrĂ³leos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico's state oil company, to promise to reduce greenhouse emissions, and has convinced the Texas State Environmental Agency to set strict pollution limits on backup electricity generators.

In February 2007, ED helped broker a major climate-related deal. Texas Pacific Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., two private equity investor groups, wanted to take over energy giant TXU Corporation, which had sought permission to build 11 new coal-fired power plants. These plants would add more than twice as many greenhouse emissions as would be reduced by California's enacted, but not yet implemented, climate change legislation. Environmental Defense had helped other environmental groups organize strong opposition to the TXU plans. The investment firms recognized that the success of a takeover largely depended on the reaction of environmentalists to their decisions regarding the TXU coal plants.

Realizing a deal had to made, William Reilly, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and an executive at Texas Pacific, contacted Environmental Defense President Fred Krupp. As a result of the subsequent negotiations, the two investor groups scrapped plans for eight power plants, agreed to upgrade the environmental performance of the remaining three, committed to a $400 million efficiency and renewable energy program, including a commitment to wind energy, and promised to join USCAP. Fred Krupp saw this as a "watershed moment in America's fight against global warming" and ED endorsed the plans, but reactions from other environmental groups highlight the difference in approaches to global warming solutions.

A Greenpeace spokesperson said that, from their perspective, there was "no deal to cut" and that the only acceptable solution was a moratorium on any new coal plants.

Environmental Defense educates the public via internet and broadcast media campaigns. In September 2003, it created the Undo It campaign to stress the urgency of action to curb global warming. At the site, flightglobalwarming.com, there are lists of actions to take in the home, in relation to transportation, and in terms of neutralizing bad choices individuals might make. Viewers can find information on the dangers, science, and myths of global warming, plus a tool for calculating personal environmental impact.

Environmental Defense spends 78.9 percent of its budget on programs and services. It uses 5.3 percent of its total functional expenses on management and general administrative expenses. Fundraising expenses account for 15.6 percent of its total expenditures, and it costs ED $0.11 for every $1 it raises.

In fiscal year 2005, Fred Krupp received compensation of $357,057, which amounted to .71 percent of Environmental Defense's total expenses. The organization has 104 staff specialists working in 10 U.S. offices, with 25 of them experts in climate and air pollution issues.

SEE ALSO: Carbon Permits; Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); World Resources Institute (WRI).

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator. org (cited August 2007); Environmental Defense, www. environmentaldefense.org (cited October 2007); U.S. Climate Action Partnership, www.us-cap.org (cited September 2007).

Pamela Rands and Gordon P. Rands Western Illinois University

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment