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Ken Kimmell

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About the author: Ken Kimmell is president of the Union of Concerned Scientists and has more than 30 years of experience in government, environmental policy, and advocacy. He is a national advocate for clean energy and transportation policies and a driving force behind UCS’s “Power Ahead” campaign to build a large and diverse group of clean energy leadership states. Prior to joining UCS in May 2014, Mr. Kimmell was the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), and served as chairman of the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. See Ken's full bio.

The Final Clean Power Plan: Facts Trumped the Noise

Monday was a great day for our country.

I was honored to attend, on behalf of UCS, the ceremony in the East Room of the White House where President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy unveiled the final Clean Power Plan. The plan, which cuts carbon pollution from our nation’s power plants by approximately 32 percent, is the largest carbon dioxide emission reduction measure in the history of our nation.

I was deeply moved by President Obama’s forceful speech. Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is History in the Making

“[People] make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” —Harry S. Truman

The Obama Administration is set to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan shortly. The eyes of the world will be on it, and the stakes are high. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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How Do You Cut Carbon Emissions While Creating Jobs and Wealth? Ask the Northeast

Good climate change policies cut the emissions of heat-trapping gases, but the best ones do so at low cost while achieving other benefits at the same time. A new study confirms that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) falls into the “best” category. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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The Evidence For How Fossil Fuel Companies Misled Us For Decades

My parents instilled two core values in me—tell the truth and if your actions harm others, take responsibility for them. These messages were reinforced when I went to law school and practiced law for almost twenty years; honesty and responsibility are bedrock principles in the law, and significant damage awards are often imposed on those who breach them.

Today, UCS is releasing a report titled “The Climate Deception Dossiers.” This report is a sobering exposé of how major fossil fuel companies have failed to abide by these axioms. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Big Rigs, Big Benefits; How Strong Rules Will Clean Up the Road

Tractor trailers go about six miles on a gallon of diesel, a number that has barely budged since the 1970’s. This shocked me the first time I heard it, and I imagine that many of you have the same reaction. After all, so many other products—passenger cars, light bulbs, refrigerators—are so much more efficient now, why not trucks? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Read More

Categories: Global Warming, Vehicles  

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UCS Goes Fossil Free

When you work for the Union of Concerned Scientists, you learn quickly that we walk the walk when it comes to caring for the environment. Our offices are all energy efficient. We not only recycle our paper products but compost our leftovers at lunch. And every month feels like “Bike to Work Month.” Above all, we believe it’s important to follow our own advice.

So in 2013, when our Board of Directors realized that our investment portfolio included some holdings in fossil fuel companies, we knew we had to act. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Remembering Jay Fay

In my first year at UCS, I learned that several extraordinary individuals have left unmistakable and enduring marks on this organization. James “Jay” Fay, a long-time member of the UCS Board of Directors, was one of them. He died last week at age 91. Read More

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Wind Power: A Great American Resource

I don’t usually go to trade association conferences. I’m not a big fan of the back patting, the bland “inspirational” speeches, or the exhibit booths populated by eager salespeople.

But when I was invited to speak on federal policy at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) conference in Orlando this week, I put all that aside.

I’m glad I did. Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on McDonald’s Door: How UCS and Others Helped Secure Deforestation-Free Palm Oil Commitments

Making social and political change sometimes feels like walking down a long corridor and knocking on door after door; there is no way of knowing in advance which will open, and many turn out to be locked. But if you keep knocking long, hard, and creatively enough, a door will eventually spring open, and if you seize that moment, you can make the change you seek. Read More

Categories: Global Warming, Tropical Forests  

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Natural Gas: A Runaway Train or a Helping Hand?

The United States stands at an energy crossroads. Coal-fired power plants generated about half of our electricity as recently as 2007, but are now being retired at a record rate due to age, cost, and the need to cut carbon pollution. Aging nuclear power plants, which generate about twenty percent of our electricity, are also heading towards retirement, and few new plants are being built.

What will replace them? There are two paths forward. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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