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Earth Day Ideas: Looking for Air Leaks in all the Right Places

Still looking for an impactful Earth Day activity? You could do a lot worse than enlisting the family to spend a few hours finding and sealing up air leaks in and around your home. While often considered a fall-time endeavor, air sealing now can make a discernible difference with the hot summer months right around the corner. It’s one of the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective ways to lower your carbon emissions and get a little Cooler and Smarter in the process. Here’s the why and how. Read More

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Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On

Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read More

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Which Costs More? Transmission Lines for 10x More Renewable Energy, or Pipelines for 2x More Natural Gas

Two recent reports make clear that long-distance gas pipeline infrastructure will cost more than the transmission investment needed for achieving 80% renewable electricity. The Keystone XL pipeline is just one new pipeline – let’s think about the energy system we are building. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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President Obama’s Plan to Cut Methane Emissions Will Help Reduce Climate Risks of Natural Gas

On Friday, the Obama Administration released a multi-sector strategy to cut methane emissions from agriculture, landfills, coal mines, and oil and gas production. This is an important step to reduce the climate risks of natural gas — as long as we get the details right — and to create a more level playing field for cleaner, less risky options like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read More

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Proposed Freeze of Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards is Misguided, Not in the Best Interest of Consumers

The defeat last year of Sen. Seitz’s efforts to undermine Ohio’s clean energy laws was a hard won fight and was good news for Ohio. And with the recent approval of Ohio’s newest wind farm, a new  report showing how energy efficiency is our cheapest electricity resource, and the Kansas legislature smartly refusing to roll back their renewable energy standard, you would hope that opponents of clean energy would finally get the message that the public knows that investing in energy efficiency, wind, solar and other clean energy resources is good for Ohio.

But the Ohio legislature is once again considering legislation that would roll back the state’s successful renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Read More

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Renewable Energy Opponents at it Again in Kansas, but Wind (and Solar!) Power Forge Ahead

ALEC and their fossil fuel-funded cohorts are taking yet another crack at undermining renewable energy policy in Kansas. Fortunately, their ill-conceived antics are not distracting wind and solar development from moving full steam ahead. 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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“Courage, Creativity, and Boldness” — A 2030 Target for California Climate Action

Midway through 2014’s very weird winter it might be easy for those of us who understand the need for urgent action on climate change to feel discouraged. A do-nothing Congress is virtually certain not to make progress on climate policy (or much else) any time soon, and international progress also seems chronically stalled. But there has been some good news recently out of the west. Read More

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Ohio’s Clean Energy Standards Still Under Attack by Fossil Fuel Special Interests

The latest good news about clean energy in Ohio is that the state ranks #8 in the nation for solar jobs. But despite this, 2014 has not ushered in a new era of civility or honest debate about the merits of Ohio’s clean energy standards that require a percentage of Ohio’s electricity demand be met with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Instead, Bill Seitz, chair of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, started off the 2014 legislative session right where he left of last year: with misguided efforts to roll back Ohio’s successful clean energy policies. Read More

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