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Good News for the Climate: U.S. & China Agree to Cut Emissions (Finally!)

One day, when historians look back to pick the time when the world finally woke up and decided to address global warming, that time may well be the fall of 2014. First, the march in New York drew 400,000 people and many thousands more across the globe to demand that our leaders take action on climate change. And today, the United States and China announced a truly historic agreement to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.
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A Bad Day for the Climate, But Hope in the West

The conventional wisdom following Tuesday’s election is that national action on climate change is likely to be stalled or mired in partisan political wrangling until at least 2016. The long-sought effort to achieve a comprehensive climate law seems unlikely in the foreseeable future, and even administrative action on climate may be held up in federal budget battles and oversight hearings. For those of us dedicated to lowering emissions to a level that prevents the worst consequences of climate change and worried that time is growing short to achieve significant progress, the election results seem like a very discouraging outcome.

But as UCS President Ken Kimmell has pointed out in a post-election blog post, the results do not mean we should be discouraged or stop trying to make progress—we just need to focus our efforts where they are most likely to make progress. Read More

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The Day After: What the Mid-Terms Mean and How To Move Forward

While this morning’s headlines naturally focus on the change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, nothing in the results should change anyone’s mind on these clear truths: we know Americans trust science, support cutting global warming emissions, and want help for communities struggling with the very real consequences of climate change.   Read More

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The IPCC’s New Climate Science Guide for the Perplexed Policymaker

It is remarkable how many U.S. elected officials appear to be baffled about climate change these days. Despite the long scientific consensus that emissions of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels and other human activities are driving disruptive changes to Earth’s climate, “I am not a scientist” has recently become the response that some members of Congress, governors, and other politicians are now giving to questions about whether they think climate change is a problem.

If you are a confused policymaker, perhaps fearful of answering the question incorrectly, fear no longer. The world’s leading climate scientists have just created a handy guide for you. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Community-Driven Study Finds Unsafe Air Pollution Levels near Oil and Gas Facilities

Ever think that your rural backyard could face air pollution levels in excess of 100 times EPA health standards?  Jeff and Rhonda Locker of Wyoming didn’t think so either. But a new peer-reviewed study out in Environmental Health today suggests that such spikes in air pollution in your backyard are possible if you live next to an oil and gas facility. Read More

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The EPA Clean Power Plan: Virginia State Corporation Commission Gets it Wrong. Virginia Is on Track to Meet Its Goals.

In recent comments to the EPA, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) took an extremely pessimistic and inaccurate view of the state’s ability to join a 21st century clean energy economy, claiming it could only do so at a high cost to electricity consumers. In fact, the Commonwealth is well on track to meet its goals under the Clean Power Plan (CPP), affordably and reliably. A majority of its electricity already comes from lower-carbon energy sources like nuclear, natural gas, and renewable energy. 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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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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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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