Remember US-CAP, the business association calling for carbon legislation in the U.S.? Except the call is rather vague, and several US-CAP members lobbied to weaken policy proposals? And the whole thing smelled vaguely of concern trolling?

Now a new business coalition has come on the scene: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), which thus far includes Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, and The Timberland Company. They are calling for tough climate legislation based on the following eight 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.

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• 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.

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• 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.

That is a quantum leap forward from US-CAP and pretty damn kick-ass on its own terms.

Obviously these companies do not add up to the size and influence of the members of US-CAP — yet! — but it’s great that the progressive business community now has a voice and a focus.

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