Today, in his first budget address as Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf proposed $325 million in investments in the state’s energy sector, including significant investments in wind, solar, and energy efficiency. This proposal is part of an overall economic development plan aimed at investing in education and creating high-paying jobs across the Commonwealth. What does it mean? Read More
March 3rd, 2015
March 2nd, 2015
Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival (春节), is a time each year when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home to reunite with family and friends. Observers routinely note it is the largest human migration event on the planet.
This year, on the Sunday before returning to work from Spring Festival, an equally impressive number of Chinese downloaded an explosive on-line exposé on Chinese air pollution produced by former CCTV reporter Chai Jing. The film, called “Under the Dome,” is not the first Chinese effort to document the country’s growing environmental problems, but it is the first to generate this much interest. Read More
February 26th, 2015
For many years, small farmers in developing countries have been blamed for deforestation because of the way that they make breakfast. While in developed countries nearly everyone cooks with fossil fuels, or with electricity generated by fossil fuels or hydroelectricity, in developing countries firewood still predominates, especially among the poorest people in rural areas. But is this really an important driver of deforestation—and thus a major contributor to global warming? A new study—the most in-depth and comprehensive look at the subject yet—says no.
February 25th, 2015
UPDATE: (March 3, 11 a.m.): Good news! Yesterday, the Colorado House of Representative’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted against the proposed rollback of the state’s renewable energy standard, effectively killing SB 44 for the 2015 legislative session. This is yet another defeat for fossil fuel interests who do not want to compete with renewables on a more level playing field.
On February 5th, state Senate Republicans passed a bill to roll back Colorado’s renewable energy standard (RES), which has helped make the state a national leader in clean energy. Rolling back the RES is precisely the wrong direction for Colorado to go at this time. In addition to providing important benefits to Colorado’s economy, increasing renewable energy use is one of the most cost-effective strategies for complying with the EPA’s proposed power plant carbon standards. Read More
February 13th, 2015
Winter has a way of showing what engineers describe as margins for error, and contingencies or unexpected events. When the snow on the road makes your car slide before coming to a stop, you lower your driving speed and increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. Read More
February 12th, 2015
In many ways, the Keystone State is the epicenter of the energy transition underway in this country. Historically an important coal producer, Pennsylvania remains the fifth largest coal-producing state, accounting for 5 percent of the nation’s total coal production in 2013. And the state is on the front lines of the booming Marcellus shale gas production. But how far along is the state in transitioning to cleaner energy, and how much farther could it go in developing renewables? Read More
February 11th, 2015
Solar power is breaking records all the time. This week saw another one, with the dedication of a ginormous solar project in California. Here are 5 great facts about the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm to sprinkle into the conversation the next time you’re chatting at the bus stop or a cocktail party. Read More
February 5th, 2015
Florida has been on my mind lately, as storm after storm has piled the snow up outside my door and relatives have called from the Sunshine State to report on the (rather higher) temperatures they’re experiencing. But the state has also been attracting attention with its electric sector moves—some positive, some less so.
When it comes to electricity, the Sunshine State is still far short of living up to its clean energy potential. Here’s how and why decision makers should fix that. Read More
February 3rd, 2015
Yesterday was a big day for policy geeks in Washington, DC—the annual release of the President’s proposed federal budget for next year. As reporters and analysts alike pore over the numbers and talking heads comment on the political headwinds, it’s clear that addressing climate change remains a major part of the President’s agenda. It’s also worth emphasizing that the president is making a coordinated and focused effort to invest in coal mining communities. Here’s how. Read More
Dr. Lee Frelich
Director, Center for Forest Ecology, University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN
January 29th, 2015
Minnesota has an important opportunity this year to continue its leadership on clean energy. I, along with 54 other Minnesota scientists, engineers, economists, and health professionals, support requiring 40 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, by the year 2030. Read More