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An Honest Conversation about Hardworking Coal Miners

I applaud David Roberts over at Grist for elevating a very interesting and timely conversation on worker transition for coal miners. On Monday he argued that the Democratic Party should simply cede Coal Country as collateral damage from the culture war, and instead focus on its base of environmentally minded liberals. And yesterday, in response to many tweets and comments, his blog asked the question, Should the Feds Bail Out Coal Miners? While I agree with many of his arguments, I’d have to disagree with his conclusion (in short, “no”) and offer some ideas about why protecting our coal workers is critical to successfully solving the climate problem. Read More

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The Not-So-Sweet Relief: How The Soda Industry Is Influencing Medical Organizations

With increasing scrutiny over the dire health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, soda manufacturers have turned to obscuring the science, confusing the consumer, and sponsoring medical organizations whose recommendations influence both providers and patients. Unfortunately these corporate partnerships are conflicts of interest that undermine the credibility of the organizations and stymie reform. Read More

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EPA Clean Power Plan Underestimates Power of Renewable Energy to Reduce Carbon Emissions

UCS released a new analysis today showing that strengthening the contribution from renewable energy can significantly increase the emissions reductions from the EPA’s 2014 Clean Power Plan. We found that increasing non-hydro renewable energy sources from about 6 percent of U.S. electricity sales today to 23 percent by 2030—or nearly twice as much renewable energy as the EPA proposed—could raise the reductions in U.S. power plant carbon emissions from the EPA’s estimated 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 to 40 percent. We also found that increasing renewables to these levels is affordable, resulting in little impact on electricity prices and lowering natural gas prices for both utilities and consumers. Read More

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EPA Clean Power Plan: We Must Do Better, We Can Do Better

Today, UCS unveiled a proposal to strengthen a laudable but modest U.S. EPA rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from our nation’s power plants by increasing renewable energy use.

We make this proposal because of the urgent need to dramatically lower the emissions of this heat trapping gas, and because power plants are 40 percent of the problem and offer the most cost-effective option we have to cut carbon. Implementing our approach to expand the role of renewable energy could increase total power sector carbon reductions under the rule to nearly 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, or 220 million metric tons more reduction than proposed by the EPA. Read More

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Chemical Accidents: Speak Up for Our Right to Know What is Happening in Our Communities

In this rich and powerful democracy that is the United States, the statistics on chemical accidents are more than shocking—they should be a wake-up call.  There have been around 30,000 documented accidents per year for the last two decades at least. More than 1,000 people per year have died in these accidents. Nearly half of our population live, and one in three children in this country go to school, near the 3,400 facilities that store or use dangerous chemicals within areas described by industry as “vulnerable.”   Read More

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