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UCS Goes Fossil Free

When you work for the Union of Concerned Scientists, you learn quickly that we walk the walk when it comes to caring for the environment. Our offices are all energy efficient. We not only recycle our paper products but compost our leftovers at lunch. And every month feels like “Bike to Work Month.” Above all, we believe it’s important to follow our own advice.

So in 2013, when our Board of Directors realized that our investment portfolio included some holdings in fossil fuel companies, we knew we had to act. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Missouri and the Clean Power Plan: Comprehensive State Energy Plan Should Support Compliance

Like many U.S. states, Missouri is on the cusp of an energy transformation. Missouri has been long dependent on electricity generated predominantly from coal-fired power plants, but a suite of market and political factors are slowly beginning to shift the Show-Me state toward cleaner, lower carbon energy sources. Read More

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Is Fracking Safe Now? What the EPA’s Fracking and Drinking Water Study Really Says

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited (and heavily scrutinized) report on drinking water impacts from hydraulic fracturing. The report has made headlines, but anyone following the science around fracking impacts shouldn’t be surprised by the results—that hydraulic fracturing has had adverse effects on drinking water sources in several cases, and that risk for future contamination of drinking water exists through several pathways.  Yet, yesterday’s headlines read very differently. Read More

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EIA Analysis Shows the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Affordable, Renewable Energy Makes a Key Contribution

A new Energy Information Administration (EIA) analysis shows that renewable energy sources make the biggest contribution to achieving the EPA’s proposed emission reduction targets for existing power plants across a wide range of scenarios, while avoiding an overreliance on natural gas. Despite using pessimistic and outdated assumptions for energy efficiency and many renewables, EIA’s analysis also shows that the EPA’s emission reduction targets can be achieved at modest costs. Updating these assumptions and accounting for the public health and environment benefits of reducing carbon and other emissions would result in net savings and support even stronger emission reduction targets. Read More

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States Sue the EPA Over Clean Power Plan, Disprove Their Own Argument with Existing Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions

The near-term timeline and trajectory for states to make cuts in power plant emissions under the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) is achievable, according to a new UCS analysis released today. In fact, a majority of states (31) have already made key clean energy decisions that will get them most or all of the way to meeting the CPP’s near-term (and non-binding) 2020 benchmarks. Ironically, this list includes nearly all of the 14 states that are now suing the EPA to stop the CPP. Despite their ‘can’t do’ rhetoric, these states are disproving their own case and successfully taking action to reduce their power plant carbon emissions. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Will Shell Leave ALEC? An Executive Hints At An Exit

Ask and you shell receive? (Sorry. Had to take that one.) It may be so. Last week, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden hinted that the company may leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by not renewing its membership, according to an interview with the Guardian. The statement comes after increasing pressure on Shell to leave the climate-misinformation-spreading lobbying organization. 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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Deceit and Disinformation on Full Display in ALEC’s New ‘Carbon Reduction’ Policy Measure

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding their spring task force summit today in Savannah, Georgia. A peek inside the day’s agenda makes it crystal clear that despite a rash of high profile membership defections—including most recently oil giant BP—and mounting pressure to stop misrepresenting climate science and undermining clean energy policies, deceit and disinformation is still the currency in which ALEC trades. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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30% Renewable Energy by 2030: Udall-Markey National Renewable Electricity Standard Would Boost Economy and Protect Consumers

Today, renewable energy champions Senators Tom Udall (NM) and Ed Markey (MA) teamed up with a few others to introduce S. 1264, a bill that would establish a national renewable electricity standard (RES) that requires the nation’s largest power providers to supply at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. It’s a strong plan that would for the first time establish a meaningful long-term national renewable energy policy. A new UCS analysis shows that a 30 percent by 2030 national RES would benefit consumers, spur the economy, and help accelerate the nation’s transition to a low-carbon energy future. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels  

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The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Setting the Record Straight on the Benefits and Costs

We’re working hard to set the record straight on disinformation about the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. It’s not hard to find fodder: there’s plenty of misleading stuff out there, and some of it has gotten way more airtime than it should have. To fight back, colleagues and I gave a webinar recently on the really wrong conclusions some studies have come to on the Clean Power Plan, and how they got it so far off the mark.

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Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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