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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

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New Report Illuminates the American Chemistry Council’s Efforts to Undermine the Chemical Policies that Protect Us

I always assumed that if chemicals were in use, they were safe. As a child, I’d play in the grass despite pesticide warning signs and never thought about my water bottle’s material. If there was evidence that the chemicals were harmful, we wouldn’t be allowed to use them, right? This is, of course, how it should work. But the reality is that special interests can get in the way of public health protections when it comes to our chemical policies. My new report shows just how harmful that influence can be. Read More

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Financing Clean Energy: A Cost-Effective Tool for State Compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

A new UCS report released today shows how clean energy financing programs offer a promising avenue for scaling up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that can reap significant economic and consumer benefits, while helping states achieve EPA’s Clean Power Plan carbon emission reduction targets. Read More

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Electric Vehicles Are Getting Marginally Better, In A Big Way

Where does electricity come from? When you flip a light switch on, you’re getting electricity from somewhere—maybe a spinning gas turbine, or maybe a battery storing excess electricity generated by wind or solar power. When you flip the light switch off, the grid responds by shifting its sources around, ensuring everyone connected is receiving a steady flow of electrons. Read More

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Waving a White Flag on Whole Grains in School Lunch?

Today’s blog post features Excuse #4 in the School Nutrition Association’s silliest excuses for rolling back school food standards (see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3):

Excuse #4: Students won’t eat whole-grain rich foods.

Last March, the School Nutrition Association featured a North Carolina school district’s celebration of their whole-grain waiver with free biscuits and gravy for students and staff. Even the Superintendent of Haywood County Schools in North Carolina had to clarify that the celebration wasn’t a joke: “To celebrate the temporary waiver, we are planning ‘Butter Biscuits are Back’ activities at each school on April 1st. No fooling, pun intended.”

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Esquire Falls into the Despondency Trap—We’re Not “F’d” on Climate Change

John H. Richardson has published a despairing profile of climate researchers in Esquire, where he examines the existential dread they sometimes feel as they study the effects of industrial carbon burning. In particular, he focuses on Jason Box, a climate researcher whose blunt Twitter message went viral last year: Read More

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