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Rachel Cleetus

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About the author: Rachel Cleetus is an expert on the design and economic evaluation of climate and energy policies, as well as the costs of climate change. She holds a Ph.D. in economics. See Rachel's full bio.

Doing More to Protect Frontline Communities Ten Years After Katrina

As we come up on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the terrible devastation wrought by the hurricane is in the headlines again. For those who experienced the storm first-hand, the ongoing struggle to recover is ever-present and this must be a wrenching anniversary. What can we do as a nation to support frontline communities to be better prepared and protected for future disasters? How can we better account for the growing risks to coastal communities, especially in light of sea level rise and worsening storm surge?  And how can we ensure that we channel our investments in an equitable way so as to build resilience in all communities? Read More

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Four Ways the Final Clean Power Plan Limits the Rush to Natural Gas

Earlier this week we watched history being made as President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy announced the release of the final Clean Power Plan, setting the first-ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants. The final plan includes a major improvement that UCS has championed over the last year: measures that help limit a rush to natural gas as states work to cut their carbon emissions. That’s good news for consumers, and for the climate. Read More

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New Forest Service Report Tallies the Steeply Rising Costs of Fighting Wildfires

We’re in peak fire season and, sadly, early predictions for a high-risk season are coming true. The National Interagency Fire Center’s predictions for August show continuing above normal fire risks for the western U.S. and Alaska. Today the Forest Service released a new report showing that firefighting costs now consume over 50 percent of their annual budget, and could get up to two thirds of their budget by 2025, up from 16 percent a decade ago. The good news is that there are multiple bipartisan efforts underway in Congress to deliver a fix for the budget woes outlined in the report. Now we just need to see strong legislation enacted. Read More

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Bullish on Renewable Energy? So Is the Pope, Walmart, Obama, Google….the List Goes On

Here at UCS we’ve always been bullish about a significant role for renewable energy in our power system, a view informed by careful analysis and the latest market trends. But we’re far from alone: the ever-growing list of supporters of strong renewable energy goals includes Fortune 500 companies, investment banks, utilities, presidents and presidential candidates, and the Pope. Welcome to the bright new era of the clean energy economy! Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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I ♥ the Clean Power Plan: Six Great Reasons You Should Too

It’s summer, it’s beautiful out, and all thoughts naturally turn to… the Clean Power Plan! This historic, first-ever nationwide limit on carbon emissions from power plants will be finalized within weeks. Many of my colleagues and I have spent months deep in the weeds of the technical details of the draft proposal. But it’s important to look at the big picture, and think about why we’re doing this. Here are six reasons I really care about this powerhouse of a rule – and why you might too. Read More

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Climate Justice: Why Vulnerable Communities Need Resilience Investments

Today the White House announced a series of actions targeted at building climate resilience among vulnerable communities, including low-income, tribal, and some communities of color. This is a welcome step, and one that the environmental justice community has been asking for ever since President announced his Climate Action Plan two years ago. Read More

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2015 Wildfire Season in Oregon: Dangerously High Risks Underscore Need for Action on Climate Change

Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is facing the risk of a bad wildfire season this summer. With 86 percent of the state in drought and 34 percent experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, Governor Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency for 15 counties. The state’s May water supply outlook predicts that, with sixty percent of the monitoring sites setting records for the lowest peak snowpack levels in 30 years, it is likely that there will be water shortages this summer. Capping carbon emissions, as proposed in HB 3470, is an important contribution Oregon can make toward limiting future climate risks, including from drought and wildfires. Read More

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Sea Level Rise, Growing Flood Risks, and the Need for a Strong Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

On January 30, 2015, President Obama issued an executive order to strengthen the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) and create an extensive stakeholder process for implementing it. Tomorrow is the comment deadline for the implementation guidelines proposed by FEMA and UCS has weighed in with support for a strong FFRMS. Read More

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How to Cut Carbon and Save Money: RGGI Delivers Yet Again

Yesterday the nine states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) released a report that highlights the continuing success of the nation’s longest-running carbon market. The big takeaway: yes, it is possible to tackle our climate and energy challenges while delivering huge benefits to consumers! Read More

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U.S. Can Lead on Global Climate Action: Clean Power Plan Is a Linchpin

Today we are expecting the U.S. to make public its proposed contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change as part of the UNFCCC process. This announcement will come in the form of the so-called U.S. ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ or INDC. The Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants is a critical element of the emissions reductions that the U.S. can make by 2025. Read More

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