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
July 21st, 2015
July 20th, 2015
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
July 9th, 2015
The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More
July 8th, 2015
My parents instilled two core values in me—tell the truth and if your actions harm others, take responsibility for them. These messages were reinforced when I went to law school and practiced law for almost twenty years; honesty and responsibility are bedrock principles in the law, and significant damage awards are often imposed on those who breach them.
June 18th, 2015
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
June 18th, 2015
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
June 5th, 2015
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
EIA Analysis Shows the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Affordable, Renewable Energy Makes a Key Contribution
June 3rd, 2015
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
States Sue the EPA Over Clean Power Plan, Disprove Their Own Argument with Existing Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions
June 3rd, 2015
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