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How Virginia Can Meet and Exceed Its Targets under the EPA Power Plant Carbon Standard

On June 2, the EPA issued draft carbon standards for existing power plants. The standard sets state-specific goals for emissions rate reductions that are expected to add up to nationwide power sector emissions reductions of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. We analyzed Virginia’s target and found that the state is well on track to meet – and can even exceed – its required goal. Read More

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Saving an Iconic New England Lighthouse from Climate Change and Coastal Erosion

In summers past I’ve spent many delightful hours on the beach south of Gay Head Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard, but until this year, I’d never given any thought to the threat climate change represents to the iconic lighthouse that’s perched on top of the cliffs. Read More

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Will California Go Green or Go Gas?

When one of California’s two nuclear plants–the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS)–unexpectedly closed last year because of damage to its steam tubes, many clean energy advocates including UCS hoped that the state would replace much of that electricity with generation from renewable resources, as well as increased investments in other carbon-free energy resources, such as energy efficiency, demand response, and energy storage devices. Unfortunately, plans are now in the works to replace most of the SONGS electricity with a new natural gas plant, without a process that gives clean energy resources a chance to compete. Read More

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The Opportunity for Agricultural Residues and Manure to Fuel a Sustainable Future

Not all ethanol is created equal. The benefits, or consequences, of this ubiquitous ‘home-grown’ fuel that is blended in nearly every gallon of gasoline sold across the country vary depending on how it is produced and what it is produced from. As my colleague and uber biofuels-wonk Dr. Jeremy Martin has explained, ethanol produced from food, like corn or soybean, does little to reduce the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel and, in some cases, can actually be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to gasoline. Read More

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Capitalist Manifesto: Major Palm Oil Companies Try to Rewrite the Book on Forest Conservation

The word “manifesto” rarely conjures up positive connotations. That word brings to my mind Karl Marx’s famous tome, at best, and, at worst, images of a bearded man in a remote cabin. Regardless, it’s a word most often associated with people or groups with strongly held convictions trying to shake up the status quo. It is odd then that a group of major palm oil producers and traders should use that term for a recent effort to redefine “sustainable” palm oil. Read More

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New Jersey, Come Back! An Open Letter to Governor Christie on RGGI

Dear Governor Christie:

I read today that you plan on formally pulling your state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nine state “cap and trade” program that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Three Reasons Why America Has a Shot at Leading on Global Warming

This Fourth of July I am thinking about three traits that define Americans at their best:  decency, reverence for facts, and confidence.  These qualities, which aren’t always on display, but are nevertheless woven into our national DNA, make me optimistic about our country rising to the challenge posed by climate change. Read More

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Women, Independence Day, and Our National Landmarks at Risk

“How many whales were killed to make all those whalebone corsets worn by American women during the 18th< and 19th centuries?” asked Dr. Heather Huyck, president of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites. She posed this question to me as we were speaking about how the rising seas, floods, and wildfires brought by climate change and threatening some of the United States’ most cherished historic sites also threaten what future generations will know about women in our nation’s past. Read More

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Climate Change is Turning up the Heat on July 4th in our National Parks

New research shows that more extreme climate conditions due to global warming are already affecting more than 250 national parks, including the Mojave National Preserve, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Mammoth Cave National Park. Recent temperatures at Grand Canyon National Park have been at the extreme end of historical averages. Read More

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Fires in Indonesia and Accountability in Singapore: What to Expect This Summer in Southeast Asia

Last week, an official from Indonesia’s national disaster agency warned that fires from Indonesia are likely to spread haze to Singapore and Malaysia yet again. A year ago in June, air pollution levels in Singapore reached record highs because of these fires. Read More

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