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An Opportunity to Protect Our Drinking Water: Overseeing Fracking and Closing Loopholes

As we’ve discussed here before, the federal government has played a limited role thus far in the regulation and oversight of hydraulic fracturing, leaving states and municipalities to manage a large and fast-paced industry. Today, members of the Senate have a chance to allow the EPA to better protect water resources in oil and gas development across the country. Read More

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President Obama, India’s Prime Minister Modi, and the Opportunity to Cooperate on Climate Change

When I was growing up in New Delhi, the annual Republic Day celebrations were always cause for great national pride. They commemorate the day this large, vibrant democracy’s constitution came into force, after India secured its independence from British colonial rule. This year President Obama will be a special guest for the Republic Day parade, a spectacular display of India’s rich cultural heritage and military might. What I am keenly interested to hear are the ways in which Prime Minister Modi and President Obama plan to cooperate to address one of the biggest challenges facing the world today: climate change. Read More

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As Michigan Governor Looks Beyond Coal, Now Is the Time to Ramp Up Renewable Energy

Big changes to Michigan’s energy policy could be on the table in 2015. Governor Snyder gave a short peek into his energy agenda Tuesday night in his State of the State address where he stressed the need to transition away from coal as a main energy source in Michigan and announced plans to create a new Energy Agency. Read More

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President Obama’s Plan to Cut Methane Emissions: Taking a Closer Look

On Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced a new goal and course of action to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. It’s a sensible near-term target that helps address one of the most potent contributors to global warming. But will the measures the Administration plans to implement be enough to achieve the goal? Read More

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Three Ways Citizens United Helped Undermine Science Policy Debates

Five years ago next week the Supreme Court issued a decision that would soon have major impacts on our political system.  In Citizens United v. FEC, the court ruled that spending limits violated free speech, opening the floodgates to vastly increased political spending by corporate interests. Read More

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California Governor Signals New Commitment to Renewable Energy: 50% Renewables by 2030

Yesterday Jerry Brown accepted the job of governor of California for a fourth term and made some exciting remarks about the state’s clean energy future. Read More

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Confronting the Elephant in the Room: Differentiation of Obligations in the Paris Climate Agreement

Coming into the Lima climate negotiations on December 1st, the US-China joint climate announcement, the European Union’s political agreement on its 2030 emissions reduction target, and the successful capitalization of the Green Climate Fund had all combined to create a sense of momentum and a positive mood.

But these developments had done little to resolve the sharp disagreements about which countries are responsible for taking which kinds of action on climate change, and these different perspectives on the issue of differentiation nearly derailed the final decision in Lima. As it was, the Lima decision on the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was a disappointing, minimal outcome. If these conflicts over the issue of differentiation are not resolved, or at least significantly narrowed, they could threaten the prospects for agreement in Paris next December on a new, comprehensive post-2020 climate regime. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Governor Cuomo is Not a Scientist—So He Asked the Experts

In late October, I wrote about the disturbing trend of politicians copping out of taking public policy positions by saying, “I am not a scientist.” Well, yesterday we heard Governor Andrew Cuomo complete the sentence in a way that I applaud. He said, “…I’m not a scientist.  So let’s bring the emotion down, and let’s ask the qualified experts what their opinion is.” Read More

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Google and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Leaders and Fortune 500 Companies Unite in Support of Renewable Energy

Q: What do Google, 223 other businesses, 14 attorneys general, 11 U.S. senators, and more than 25 environmental, public health, and clean energy organizations all have in common?

A: They all told EPA that renewable energy should play a strong role in reducing emissions from existing power plants under its proposed Clean Power Plan. Read More

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At COP 20 in Lima: The Buzz about Renewable Energy

I’m in the beautiful city of Lima, at the annual United Nations climate talks, or COP 20. Even as negotiators labor over “non-papers” and “elements of draft negotiating text,” the real buzz here is about the incredible opportunity to drive down global emissions by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. What makes this a particularly exciting time is that the costs of renewable energy are falling dramatically. The clean energy transition has never been more affordable – or, frankly, more urgently needed. Read More

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