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Charles Mann and The Atlantic Miss The Mark in a Confused Climate Change Piece

A recent climate change article by Charles C. Mann in The Atlantic left me scratching my head. The title, “How to Talk About Climate Change So People Will Listen” piqued my interest. It’s something I grapple with every day. But instead of focusing on how our public conversations about climate change are shifting, he lingers on what he sees as failed efforts to enact national climate policy. Mann is a serious and respected writer — who happens to work with some of my favorite magazines — so this piece felt like a missed opportunity. Read More

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The Economist Ignores Reality, Highlights Flawed Renewable Energy Study

A recent article in The Economist covers a study comparing the costs of solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, and natural gas. Alas, the study starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how our electricity system works, and goes  downhill from there. And The Economist’s attention unfortunately helps to perpetuate those errors. Here are five examples of what went wrong. Read More

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Hawaii Hurricanes, El Niño, and Climate Change

A rare event occurred this past weekend when two tropical systems approached the state of Hawaii. Hurricanes happen only occasionally in this part of the world because a fairly constant high pressure system deflects most of the storms. Also, the waters around Hawaii are typically cooler than tropical systems need in order to maintain their strength. Read More

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5 Reasons New Jersey Should Rejoin RGGI

Today the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public hearing on regulations to formally withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in the Northeast. New Jersey needs the economic, public health, and climate benefits that RGGI brings. Here are five reasons why the state should rejoin RGGI: Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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Car Dealers Not Plugged into the EV Revolution

How do we get information when we want to buy a new car? Often, it’s online with car review websites and automaker’s sites & advertising, and hopefully UCS’s clean vehicle information. But when it comes time to see and test drive cars, you can’t replace going to the new car lot. Unfortunately, recent reports say that many new car dealerships lack the knowledge or desire to effectively sell electric vehicles (EVs). Read More

Categories: Global Warming, Vehicles  

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Bio-what? Organic Waste Can Provide Clean Energy

Before I became president of UCS, I served as Massachusetts’ environmental commissioner, and I pushed hard to turn an environmental problem (food waste) into a clean energy solution (biogas). It is great to see that the federal government has signed on to this idea.

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House Testimony: Renewable Electricity Standards are Delivering Significant Economic Benefits Across the United States

Last week, I was invited to testify at the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy and Power Subcommittee’s hearing on “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” My remarks focused on the tremendous success story of state renewable electricity standards (RES) and the important economic benefits they are delivering to state and local economies, as described in more detail in this 2013 UCS report. Read More

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Hot Models Try to Forecast CO2 Reductions

A hot chase over models began soon after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released draft CO2 rules June 2. Reducing CO2 (carbon-dioxide, the climate-altering pollution) in the electricity sector is not a mystery, but expecting too much from a model can be frustrating. With the CO2 rules, we have entered a new era, triggering a great clamoring amongst policymakers and advocates to get comfortable with the models. Temperatures are rising, and it is not just the hot summer weather. Read More

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CNN’s Climate Coverage Shows Signs of Improvement

Earlier this year, we released an analysis that examined cable news climate coverage from the top three networks. In 2013, CNN aired inaccurate statements about the science in 30 percent of its climate-change-related segments. Such misleading statements usually took place during debates about established science. Guests, including politicians and commentators, also made inaccurate statements about climate science that often went unchallenged. Read More

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Pennsylvania and the Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, designed to begin to address the consequences of climate change. The agency has proposed a flexible framework that allows states to decide for themselves how to meet the emissions reductions targets. For many states, the required emissions reductions are actually quite modest, and at UCS we see an opportunity for states to be more ambitious in developing renewable energy in particular. Here I explore what the carbon standard means for Pennsylvania. Read More

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