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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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How to Cut Carbon and Save Money: RGGI Delivers Yet Again

Yesterday the nine states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) released a report that highlights the continuing success of the nation’s longest-running carbon market. The big takeaway: yes, it is possible to tackle our climate and energy challenges while delivering huge benefits to consumers! Read More

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Peabody Energy, the EPA Clean Power Plan, and Corporate Consistency on Climate Change

I’ve talked a lot here about companies’ positions on climate change and how they do or don’t agree with other statements and actions companies take—from alignment with their trade group’s position, to looking at how they talk about their own climate risks, to taking a broader look at all company actions to help or inhibit progress on addressing climate change. Read More

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Chevron, Exxon, Phillips 66 React to UCS’ Stormy Seas, Rising Risks Report

Last month, my colleague Christina Carlson and I released our report, Stormy Seas, Rising Risks: What Investors Should Know About Climate Change Impacts at Oil Refineries. The report analyzed the risk that five companies—Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, and Valero—face from sea level rise and storm surge, and compared that to what risk companies did and did not disclose to their investors. Read More

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Fracking in Colorado: Did the Oil and Gas Taskforce Finish Its Tasks?

When Colorado officials announced that they would set up a blue-ribbon taskforce charged with making informed recommendations on oil and gas development in the state, there were high hopes. In fact, I commended the state for establishing a strong procedure and promising mechanism for informed decision-making for fracking in Colorado. What an opportunity, I thought, for a science-informed decision in an otherwise science-lacking debate. Now that the commission has issued recommendations, it’s worth revisiting what happened. Did the taskforce succeed? Let’s walk through its moves. Read More

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U.S. Can Lead on Global Climate Action: Clean Power Plan Is a Linchpin

Today we are expecting the U.S. to make public its proposed contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change as part of the UNFCCC process. This announcement will come in the form of the so-called U.S. ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ or INDC. The Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants is a critical element of the emissions reductions that the U.S. can make by 2025. Read More

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Natural Gas: A Runaway Train or a Helping Hand?

The United States stands at an energy crossroads. Coal-fired power plants generated about half of our electricity as recently as 2007, but are now being retired at a record rate due to age, cost, and the need to cut carbon pollution. Aging nuclear power plants, which generate about twenty percent of our electricity, are also heading towards retirement, and few new plants are being built.

What will replace them? There are two paths forward. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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