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Halloween and the Fossil Fuel Witch Hunt

Just in time for Halloween, there’s a witch hunt brewing in the energy business…

As the realities of climate change settle in the minds of the fair citizens of this land, there’s a nightmarish force fighting back. Healthier air and a safer climate are threatened by backers of long dead fossil fuels, the never-living, and never-dead nuclear powers. Attacks on climate-saving solutions are part of a new effort to bring zombie coal plants back to life, threatening the nation’s renewable, clean energy future. Read More

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Why Shell Should Leave ALEC

Let me (be) very very clear, for us climate change is real and it’s a threat that we want to act on. We’re not aligning with skeptics.

-Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell

Years ago, such a statement from the head of a major oil producer might have raised an eyebrow, but these days, most companies stick with the science if they choose to talk about climate change. Unfortunately, companies’ actions don’t necessarily align with their words. Read More

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Coal, Carbon, and Compliance: Why Pennsylvania’s EPA Regulations Bill Isn’t the End of the Ballgame

Pennsylvania’s legislature finished off its fall session with a bill on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. At a time when climate leadership, not obstructionism, is called for, it’s no step forward. But it’s not the step backward that it might have been. Here’s why. 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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Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof: Prices Dropping, Solar Hopping

Two new reports have a wealth of information about the cost of rooftop solar in the United States. Here are six important cost-related takeaways, with a whole lot of great news. Read More

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An Honest Conversation about Hardworking Coal Miners

I applaud David Roberts over at Grist for elevating a very interesting and timely conversation on worker transition for coal miners. On Monday he argued that the Democratic Party should simply cede Coal Country as collateral damage from the culture war, and instead focus on its base of environmentally minded liberals. And yesterday, in response to many tweets and comments, his blog asked the question, Should the Feds Bail Out Coal Miners? While I agree with many of his arguments, I’d have to disagree with his conclusion (in short, “no”) and offer some ideas about why protecting our coal workers is critical to successfully solving the climate problem. Read More

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EPA Clean Power Plan Underestimates Power of Renewable Energy to Reduce Carbon Emissions

UCS released a new analysis today showing that strengthening the contribution from renewable energy can significantly increase the emissions reductions from the EPA’s 2014 Clean Power Plan. We found that increasing non-hydro renewable energy sources from about 6 percent of U.S. electricity sales today to 23 percent by 2030—or nearly twice as much renewable energy as the EPA proposed—could raise the reductions in U.S. power plant carbon emissions from the EPA’s estimated 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to 40 percent. We also found that increasing renewables to these levels is affordable, resulting in little impact on electricity prices and lowering natural gas prices for both utilities and consumers. Read More

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EPA Clean Power Plan: We Must Do Better, We Can Do Better

Today, UCS unveiled a proposal to strengthen a laudable but modest U.S. EPA rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from our nation’s power plants by increasing renewable energy use.

We make this proposal because of the urgent need to dramatically lower the emissions of this heat trapping gas, and because power plants are 40 percent of the problem and offer the most cost-effective option we have to cut carbon. Implementing our approach to expand the role of renewable energy could increase total power sector carbon reductions under the rule to nearly 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, or 220 million metric tons more reduction than proposed by the EPA. Read More

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Another Faulty New York Times Op-ed: 5 Reasons Why an Attack on LEDs Is Way Off the Mark

An op-ed in today’s New York Times from Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus tries to throw cold water on this week’s exciting announcement of the Nobel Prize for Physics being awarded for blue LEDs, which made white LEDs possible and increasingly ubiquitous. This op-ed comes on the heels of a similar NYT-published contrarian piece on trees and climate change. Today’s, sadly, is similarly misguided. Here are five reasons why their critique is way off the mark. Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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Who’ll Plant the Trees for Our Grandchildren to Use?

Thinking about trees often makes you think about your grandchildren. Both start small, can live for many decades, and will grow old in a world very different from ours today. And they’re connected. I expect that my granddaughter Esme, who just turned 1 ½, will probably live in a house made of wood, will write on paper, and perhaps will keep her house warm in the winter, as my wife and I do, with a wood stove. Have we thought about what trees that wood will come from? Read More

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