A Less Thirsty Future Through Engineered Crops?

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal sees a bright future for crops engineered for drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and other useful traits. The author, R. Paul Thompson, criticizes our recent report, “High and Dry,” for expressing too little faith in the ability of science and technology to make good on its unmet promises about genetic engineering. Read More

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We’re NASA and We Know It Makes Me LMFAO (with Curiosity)

Sure, you can watch the actual Mars rover Curiosity landing. And sure, you can watch people dance to LMFAO’s “We’re Sexy and We Know It.” But it did not seem possible that the two could be related. Until yesterday. Read More

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2012 U.S. Drought and Heat Expose Electricity Supply Risks

We all need water. So when supplies dry up in the scorching heat of a summer like this one, we all — households, cities, farmers, industry, wildlife — can feel the strain. Among water users, power plants are some of those most dependent on a reliable supply. And when they can’t get enough, the plants and their customers can get caught in the squeeze. Read More

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Watch What You Say (or Don’t Say!) about Food

There have been several new reminders in the past couple of days that you have to be really careful with what you say about eating. We all do it, we all like it, and we all talk about it, but sometimes it can touch a nerve. Just yesterday we saw employees at the Department of Agriculture get into trouble for making suggestions about what to eat in the cafeteria. And now Michelle Obama is being criticized too – not for what she’s said about food, but for what she hasn’t said. Read More

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Sally Ride: 1951-2012

Yesterday, the world suffered a great loss with the passing of Dr. Sally K. Ride. Dr. Ride was a brave explorer, passionate educator, brilliant scientist, and complex human being. Her impact and her absence will be long felt. Read More

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UCS Files in Support of FERC’s Groundbreaking Transmission Rule

On June 25, UCS joined the Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council in filing a motion for leave to intervene in a court challenge by several utilities to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) groundbreaking Order No. 1000, Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities. Read More

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Beach Daze: With Rising Seas, Sand Now Bad Place to Hide Head

 This past weekend, while I watched my kids frolic in the surf out of one eye, I was scrutinizing the beachfront housing stock with the other – like an insurance adjustor, contemplating storm surge, flooding, and other flavors of catastrophe. Could be I just don’t know how to have a good time. Or could be that I’m freshly returned from the Florida Sea-Level Rise Summit where scientists say things like “friends, the sky is not falling, but the seas truly are rising.” Read More

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Solar for You and Me (Not Just the 1%)

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission released a report tracking the progress of the California Solar Initiative. This program, more commonly known as the “CSI,” offers customers of the three largest investor-owned utilities in California—Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric—incentives to install solar panels on rooftops. The CSI is the largest solar program in the country and aims to install 1,940 megawatts (MW) of solar generation capacity by the end of 2016. Read More

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Energy Elsewhere: What’s Happening in Clean Energy Outside the Continental United States?

As we are thinking more globally about climate change these days in light of Rio+20, I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into the plans of Northeast Asia. Read More

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Negotiation Nostalgia: How Diplomats Negotiate International Agreements

I’m not in Rio de Janeiro. I’m in DC now, although as the weather heats up to the 90s today, and maybe up to 100 tomorrow, I’m thinking more and more that I should have found some excuse to go to the Rio+20 meeting. Even on the warmest days the beaches and the breezes, not to mention the great music and culture, make Rio a wonderful place to be. Even if you’re there to try, against all odds, to get the world’s leaders to take the environment seriously. Read More

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