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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.

The EPA Clean Power Plan: Virginia State Corporation Commission Gets it Wrong. Virginia Is on Track to Meet Its Goals.

In recent comments to the EPA, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) took an extremely pessimistic and inaccurate view of the state’s ability to join a 21st century clean energy economy, claiming it could only do so at a high cost to electricity consumers. In fact, the Commonwealth is well on track to meet its goals under the Clean Power Plan (CPP), affordably and reliably. A majority of its electricity already comes from lower-carbon energy sources like nuclear, natural gas, and renewable energy. Read More

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U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rise in 2013: Troubling Sign for Climate Goals

In a troubling sign, data from the EIA released today show that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 2.5% in 2013, from 5,267 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2012 to 5,396 MMmt in 2013. This increase comes after two years of declining emissions. Market trends on their own are clearly insufficient to achieve sustained, sharp reductions in heat-trapping emissions: we need strong policies that drive renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More

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5 Reasons New Jersey Should Rejoin RGGI

Today the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public hearing on regulations to formally withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the Northeast. New Jersey needs the economic, public health, and climate benefits that RGGI brings. Here are five reasons why the state should rejoin RGGI: Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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How Virginia Can Meet and Exceed Its Targets under the EPA Power Plant Carbon Standard

On June 2, the EPA issued draft carbon standards for existing power plants. The standard sets state-specific goals for emissions rate reductions that are expected to add up to nationwide power sector emissions reductions of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. We analyzed Virginia’s target and found that the state is well on track to meet – and can even exceed – its required goal. Read More

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How to Cut Power Plant Carbon by 50%: New EPA Climate Rules Can Create a Foundation for Real Global Warming Solutions

On Monday, June 2, the EPA is expected to release a draft standard to limit carbon emissions from existing fossil-fired (primarily coal and natural gas-fired) power plants. New UCS analysis shows that a strong standard provides an opportunity to cut our power sector emissions in half by 2030, with renewable energy and efficiency playing a significant role in driving the emissions reductions. Those reductions can be achieved cost-effectively and reliably by ramping up renewable energy and energy efficiency, with the overall benefits of a transition to cleaner energy far outweighing the costs. Read More

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Five Things You Should Know about the EPA Power Plant Carbon Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to release draft carbon standards for existing coal and natural gas power plants on June 2. Here are five things you should know about why they could be a climate game changer if they are strong: Read More

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The National Climate Assessment and Opportunities to Cut U.S. Emissions

Today the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the third National Climate Assessment. While the report serves as a sobering stock-taking of how climate change is already affecting our lives and raising future risks, it is also an opportunity to point out that we still have choices in how we respond. Read More

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Supreme Court Decision in Favor of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule Is a Major Win for Public Health

Today’s Supreme Court ruling reinstating limits on sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from coal-fired power plants, as required by the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), is a significant victory for our public health. Read More

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How the EPA Can Set a Strong, Flexible Power Plant Carbon Standard

A draft of the EPA’s carbon standards for existing power plants is due on June 1, 2014. There’s been a general call for flexibility in the design of these standards, which the EPA has committed to. Great River Energy Cooperative, Minnesota’s second-largest electric power supplier, recently proposed a regional carbon cap accompanied by a fee as one possible way to meet the upcoming standards. It’s a positive step, showing leadership and highlighting the importance of diverse regional approaches for getting significant, cost-effective reductions in carbon emissions. Read More

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The Social Cost of Carbon: Counting the Costs of Climate Change and the Benefits of Cutting Carbon Pollution

Last November the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) solicited comments on the administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) calculations. Today, as the extended comment period closes, the Union of Concerned Scientists filed joint comments with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Institute for Policy Integrity (Policy Integrity), and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in support of the SCC. The current SCC value is an important start for measuring the benefits of cutting carbon pollution. At $37 per metric ton of CO2 in 2015 (2007 dollars, using a 3% discount rate), it is also almost certainly an underestimate of the costs of climate change and can be improved in the future. Read More

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