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Another Reason Ohio Senate Bill 310 Is a Bad Idea: It Hinders Efforts to Comply with New Carbon Emissions Standards

Need another reason (besides the economic, environmental and public health impacts) for why Ohio Senate Bill 310 – which freezes for two years the state’s requirements for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy – is a terrible idea for Ohio? How about the fact that it hurts the Buckeye State’s ability to cost-effectively meet the newly proposed federal carbon standards for existing power plants. Read More

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EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Comes to Agreement on Ozone Standard Recommendation

Today the EPA’s chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) agreed on a recommendation to Administrator McCarthy regarding an update to the ambient air pollution standard for ozone (To get up to speed on the ozone standard update process, see my previous post on the topic). The deliberation of the committee and the Ozone Review Panel exemplified the challenges of translating science to policy and it was clear that the scientific experts on the panel had differing opinions on how this should be done. Read More

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How to Cut Power Plant Carbon by 50%: New EPA Climate Rules Can Create a Foundation for Real Global Warming Solutions

On Monday, June 2, the EPA is expected to release a draft standard to limit carbon emissions from existing fossil-fired (primarily coal and natural gas-fired) power plants. New UCS analysis shows that a strong standard provides an opportunity to cut our power sector emissions in half by 2030, with renewable energy and efficiency playing a significant role in driving the emissions reductions. Those reductions can be achieved cost-effectively and reliably by ramping up renewable energy and energy efficiency, with the overall benefits of a transition to cleaner energy far outweighing the costs. Read More

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Five Things You Should Know about the EPA Power Plant Carbon Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to release draft carbon standards for existing coal and natural gas power plants on June 2. Here are five things you should know about why they could be a climate game changer if they are strong: Read More

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Too Good to be True? New WSPA Report on Oil Industry Highlights the Good, Omits the Bad

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) recently released a report that tries to sell the oil and gas industry in California as a big — ­really, really big ­— benefit to the state. The report, sponsored by WSPA and written by economists at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), tallies up jobs associated with the oil and gas industry, the industry’s share of state GDP, and the taxes paid by oil and gas consumers and producers, with the clear implication that the larger the numbers, the better. A closer look tells a different story. Read More

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How One State Cut its Carbon and Created Jobs

Last week I started as the new President of UCS, and this week I’m starting as our newest blogger. I couldn’t be more excited. I spent the last seven years as a public official in Massachusetts, including the last three as the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. So it is only natural that my “inaugural” blog will focus on my experience in Massachusetts and, in particular, my state’s remarkable success in cutting carbon and growing a clean energy economy at the same time. Our track record in Massachusetts holds important lessons for the nation. Read More

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Half the Oil, Not Crude-by-Rail: Lynchburg Oil-Train Accident is Fifth in Ten Months

The CSX train carrying crude oil that derailed and burned in Lynchburg, Virginia on April 30 was the fifth major oil-train accident in the last ten months. At the same time that the world’s leading climate scientists are warning that we need to leave the vast majority of fossil fuels reserves in the ground, the shale oil boom has dramatically boosted shipments of crude oil by rail, most of it from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to faraway pipelines and refineries. While 9,500 tank cars of crude were carried by North American railways in 2008, that number jumped to nearly 234,000 in 2012 and an estimated 400,000 in 2013. This increase went relatively unnoticed until July of last year, when a catastrophic accident in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec killed more than forty people. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Vehicles  

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The National Climate Assessment and Opportunities to Cut U.S. Emissions

Today the U.S. Global Change Research Program released the third National Climate Assessment. While the report serves as a sobering stock-taking of how climate change is already affecting our lives and raising future risks, it is also an opportunity to point out that we still have choices in how we respond. Read More

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The Koch Brothers Can’t Switch Off Renewable Electricity

Despite relentless legislative attacks funded by the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel special interest groups, state renewable electricity standards are holding their own and continue to drive investments in clean energy resources. And as long as legislators remain committed to well-informed policies that represent the will of the people instead of a few powerful special interests, renewable energy can continue to look forward to a bright future in the U.S. Read More

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How Much Could Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Lower the Cost of Renewable Energy Projects?

Allowing renewable energy technologies to be eligible for MLPs would expand the investor base and lower the cost of financing projects by 40 percent or more, according to a new analysis prepared for UCS by Meister Consulting, Inc. (see paper and presentation here).  Read More

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