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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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Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on McDonald’s Door: How UCS and Others Helped Secure Deforestation-Free Palm Oil Commitments

Making social and political change sometimes feels like walking down a long corridor and knocking on door after door; there is no way of knowing in advance which will open, and many turn out to be locked. But if you keep knocking long, hard, and creatively enough, a door will eventually spring open, and if you seize that moment, you can make the change you seek. Read More

Categories: Global Warming, Tropical Forests  

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Annual Energy Outlook 2015: EIA Consistently Lowballs Renewables, Undercuts Climate Change Efforts

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration is about to publish its annual best guess as to what the future will hold, energy-wise. But if the past is any guide, their best guess is likely to lowball renewable energy’s potential contribution. That has real implications for our nation’s efforts to tackle climate change. Here’s what to watch for when the 2015 Annual Energy Outlook comes out, and why it matters. 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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Dear Humans: Industry is Causing Global Warming, Not Your Activities

Scientists and climate policy wonks usually say global warming is caused by “human activities.” This shorthand obscures an important point: while we humans are certainly responsible for climate change on some level, just a few of us – particularly in industry and government – are a lot more responsible than the rest of us.

After all, I like humans. I like activities, too. And it’s industry practices and government policies that largely determine how much heat-trapping emissions our human activities produce. Read More

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Proof that California’s Water Sector Can Be a Climate Leader: Sonoma County Celebrates “Carbon-Free” Water

Today, I am at the Sonoma County Water Agency celebrating the achievement of their goal to provide “carbon-free water.” That means that no fossil fuels are burned in order to provide water services (including capturing, cleaning, and delivering drinking water to taps along with treating wastewater). This achievement is a powerful proof of concept, showing how the water sector can be a part of the state’s ambitious climate efforts. Read More

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Forests, Agriculture, and Climate Change: Why the U.S. Needs Action, Not Just Accounting, in its INDC

The United States has now told the world what it intends to do about climate change in the 2020s, by submitting its INDC (“Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”) to the United Nations. As we found in our report Halfway There? in January, the U.S.’ land sector – agriculture and forests – could be a big deal for the climate negotiations in Paris next December. Of course, our actions to reduce fossil fuels will be critical, but land use is important both as a source of global warming pollution and a way to take it back out of the atmosphere. Read More

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Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell’s New Relationship with Palm Oil: It’s Complicated

Every time I visit my hometown in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I go out for pizza with my parents. You’d think I’d be jonesing for a local pizza joint, but the truth is I want Pizza Hut. I grew up on their pan crust cheese pizza and it will always have a special place in my heart (and stomach!).  So when I heard that Yum! Brands, Inc (Yum!), owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell and America’s second largest fast food chain had come out with a new palm oil commitment, I was pretty happy. Read More

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Not Where You Expected to Find Deforestation?: Examining the Palm Oil Commitments of 40 of America’s Top Companies

A lot can change in a year.

Thirteen months ago, UCS released a report scoring 30 of America’s top companies’ palm oil commitments. Since that time a lot of things have happened, both good and bad. Back then, nobody knew that Meghan Trainor was all about that bass or how fancy Iggy Azalea is. We are one step closer to buying Cuban cigars on American soil and a machine landed on a comet! Read More

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More Than Scientists, Mauna Loa, and Better Climate Communication

At UCS when we are thinking about the best way to communicate new scientific results, my colleague Aaron Huertas often asks me, “How do the results make you feel?” As he wrote, the exercise can be helpful in bringing scientific findings back to human emotions and why the results might matter to others. A new campaign called More Than Scientists seeks to enact this effect on a broader scale and I was happy to take part in it. Read More

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