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How Using Oil Affects Our Military, And What We’re Doing About It

Did you know the U.S. military is the largest user of oil in the world? Neither did I, until my UCS colleagues and I teamed up with the good folk at the Truman National Security Project to help tell the story about our military and oil use. Read More

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Behind the Curtain, Grid Operators Reveal Path to Reduce Carbon

The electric grid contains many mysteries, and we will have to master many of these to reduce carbon emissions. Fortunately, the independent grid operators are increasingly pulling back the curtain on renewable energy and coal plant retirements. And the view is great! Read More

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It’s Electric! The Science of Cleaner Vehicles

Guest Bogger

James Nolan, Associate Professor
Department of Biology, Georgia Gwinnett College

Lawrenceville, GA

I’m a biochemist by training, but my family’s leap into Electric Vehicle (EV) driving was not entirely a reasoned scientific choice, initially. We have always been energy-conscious, even before climate change was on our radar. We have always tried to live near our workplaces to save fuel and time. When hybrid vehicles came on the market, we did not seriously consider buying one, because it did not make economic sense for us; our savings on fuel would never match the difference in up-front price of a hybrid at that time.  The BP oil spill on April 20, 2010 changed the equation for us. Read More

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EPA Carbon Standard Opens the Door for Renewables, Now States Must Take Them over the Threshold

This week the EPA released its draft power plant carbon standard, and renewable energy was included as one of the technologies that states can use for reducing CO2 emissions. That’s terrific news for wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies, which are already demonstrating they’re capable of ramping up in a big way. But in order to keep the U.S. moving toward a truly low-carbon economy, states must seize the opportunity and make renewables a cornerstone of their compliance plans. Read More

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Gina McCarthy, the Power Plant Carbon Standards, and Reducing the Risk of Power Outages

The EPA’s new power plant carbon standards are a potential climate game changer for a whole lot of reasons, given how much fossil-fueled power plants contribute to global warming. And in her speech unveiling the proposed standards on Monday, in talking about what global warming means for the power sector, rather than the other way around, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy nailed it. Read More

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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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