Advocacy archives

Tell FEMA: Climate change is real!

Recently, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) removed the reference to "climate change" from their strategic plan. This is especially troubling considering that FEMA is responsible for coordinating the government's disaster response. Removal of this key terminology promotes an "alternate reality" and a perception that climate change is not responsible for the increase in many of our natural disasters. As architects and design professionals, we recognize that climate change is a real threat. It cannot be ignored and therefore, we must act to make our voice heard on this issue.
 

COTE drafted this letter to FEMA for architecture firms to sign. Please sign this letter on behalf of your firm urging FEMA to retain language related to climate change in their strategic plan. Sign the letter >

COTE Advocacy update: April 2018

By Mike Davis, FAIA

The US Congress agreed with AIA COTE Advocacy’s priorities and upheld or increased funding levels for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy programs in its recently-passed omnibus spending bill. Read more >

COTE Advocacy update: March 2018

By Mike Davis, FAIA

Do you want to support full funding for the DOE and EPA? The opportunity for AIA COTE and AIA Government Relations to “play offense” and advocate on behalf of the federal policies and programs that we value is coming soon. Appropriations Committee work on FY’19 US budget will start in May. Read more >

Good News: Congress funds important DOE and EPA programs in Omnibus Bill

Overall, the bill increases funding for energy efficiency programs at the US Department of Energy (DOE) and maintains funding levels for efficiency programs at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Learn more >

AIA climate proposal comments for Rep. Tonko

Recently, US Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Co-Chair of the House’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), solicited feedback from the American Institute of Architects and other national stakeholder groups to assist in the development of new federal climate change legislation. Below is the document AIA submitted. Thanks to all of you for spreading the word about this opportunity and for your thoughtful feedback.
Download the AIA comments >

Advocacy update: February 2018

By Mike Davis, FAIA

Our top priority for 2018: Make our nation’s existing buildings part of the “infrastructure” debate and look for ways that energy efficiency enhancements for existing buildings can be part of a public infrastructure investment. Read more >

Advocacy update: February 2018

By Mike Davis, FAIA

Our top priority for 2018: Make our nation’s existing buildings part of the “infrastructure” debate and look for ways that energy efficiency enhancements for existing buildings can be part of a public infrastructure investment. Read more >

Architects’ input needed to shape federal climate policy

US Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Co-Chair of the House’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), is soliciting feedback from the American Institute of Architects and other national stakeholder groups to assist in the development of new federal climate change legislation.
Learn more & submit comments >

AIA Advocacy update

By AIA Government Relations and Advocacy

The Trump White House took another major step to undo his predecessor’s legacy this month, announcing plans to rescind former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Plan, which set emissions standards for states to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, was the centerpiece of the Obama’s administration’s climate change efforts. Although the plan does not directly relate to the built environment, its carbon reduction goals  presented an opportunity for those working in the built environment – as the AIA noted in its 2014 public comments to the EPA – for “federal and state governments to look toward policies that encourage meaningful increases in demand-side energy efficiency in the built environment.”

So what does this announcement mean for the climate, and for architects? The short-term impact is not clear: for one thing, the Clean Power Plan was already held up in the courts and had never taken effect. Also, the  Trump administration is still legally required to limit carbon pollution and must re-issue a new plan, along with ample time for public comments. The battle over the Clean Power Plan is a long way from over.

Meanwhile, other moves by Congress and the Administration may have even greater impacts on sustainable design. The White House’s budget proposal to eliminate Energy Star and other key energy programs is still on the table. While members of Congress from both parties have expressed support for Energy Star, the program is by no means safe, especially as the December 8th deadline for Congress to pass agency funding bills approaches. COTE has advocated for the preservation of Energy Star to members of both House and Senate committees as well as to EPA Director Pruitt directly.

In addition, the current drive for tax reform could have a massive effect on sustainability. It is possible that tax reform proposals will seek to eliminate tax incentives for green buildings (like 179D), renewable energy and even the Historic Tax Credit, a popular incentive that promotes sustainability by encouraging the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Last but not least, Congress is not finished with its efforts to try and repeal the 2030 targets for federal buildings and roll back the Energy Department’s role in developing green codes.

Each of these actions, taken separately, would have a very damaging effect on the built environment. Taken together, they could turn back years of progress by AIA members and their allies in making the federal government a partner with the design professions to promote good design – which is why the AIA is working aggressively to counter them. So what can you do?  Tell Congress to support sustainable design via the AIA Action Center. Join the COTE Advocacy Network, or sign up for the AIA Legislative Action Network, to stay informed on the key issues. Grassroots advocacy does make a difference.

 

 
 

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