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Depression to Hope: King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 5

In my ongoing series looking at the decline of the coal industry, we come to maybe the most painful stage of grief: depression. It’s also the most personal. I can only imagine how someone like my brother, a coal miner, must feel facing an uncertain future and seeing layoffs all around.

In this post we’ll take a look at how job losses in the industry have affected communities around Appalachia, and we will point toward some positive steps forward, toward the final stage: acceptance and hope for a better future. Read More

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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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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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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 4: Bargaining for Delay

This week’s post in my ongoing series focuses on the third stage of grief, bargaining. The U.S. coal industry continues to get hammered by a series of terrible earnings reports, an ongoing wave of bankruptcies, and falling bond prices. Since my last post, Alpha Natural Resources has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of consistently and unusually low stock prices, and Arch Coal executed a 10-1 reverse stock split in an effort to delay the same fate. In the bargaining stage, the grieving person typically looks for ways to avoid the ultimate fate, or buy time. For the coal industry, the bargaining stage manifests itself as industry supporters trying to delay any attempt to limit pollution from coal, including action to reduce carbon emissions. Read More

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What We Learn From A New Clean Power Plan Grid Report

Much heat and smoke has been produced over the EPA Clean Power Plan rule. PJM, the grid operator serving the region from Chicago, through the Ohio Valley to Washington D.C. and Norfolk finds no need for alarm. This is one independent authority that has provided more clarity on grid reliability impacts from the CPP than others with a preview of its next report. Read More

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Where is the Clean Energy in the House and Senate Energy Bills?

When it comes to passing legislation, I’ve learned through the years that it’s best to be pragmatic. But much depends on the leverage you have, or as Roger Fisher would say, BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). When it comes to issues of climate and energy we need to be aggressive, but our BATNA has been weak, despite the fact that poll after poll shows overwhelming public support for clean energy policy as well as more comprehensive climate action. So what’s hurting our leverage? Read More

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ALEC’s Annual Meeting to Feature More Attacks on Successful Clean Energy Policies

UPDATE (July 27, 3:30pm): Stephen Moore, a member of ALEC’s Private Enterprise Advisory Board, dropped a whopper during one of the few sessions at ALEC’s annual meeting that was open to select reporters. “The biggest scam of the last 100 years is global warming,” Moore said before going on to engage in a personal attack on scientists. Learn more.

This week the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its annual meeting in San Diego and one look at the agenda reveals this fossil fuel-funded front group remains bent on preventing the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. With the EPA set to finalize its Clean Power Plan in the next few weeks, ALEC is frantically ramping up efforts to obstruct and roll back policies that support renewables and efficiency and curb carbon emissions. Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for. Read More

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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

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Don’t Be Deceived by ALEC’s Special Interest Agenda

When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives in San Diego on July 22 for its annual meeting, the agenda will include efforts to undermine clean energy and climate policies that are widely supported by the people of California. Yet the public won’t know what is discussed at the meeting because the doors will be closed to most media, despite the presence of lawmakers from around the country. Read More

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Jaw-Dropping News in the Solar vs. Fossil Fuels Debate

You know the cliché about work that can be 59 minutes of boredom and one minute of white knuckle excitement and danger? In the electric power industry, this happens when a major power plant loses its connection to the grid, instantly and dramatically unbalancing the supply and demand of electricity. Blackouts follow if there isn’t an instant response.

Last week I had a similar exciting moment at a conference of utility commissioners, where I learned that a key grid reliability requirement during these emergencies has not been provided by new natural gas plants. Read More

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