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Shipping Your Stuff Burns 70 Gallons of Fuel Every Year

With the ability to get just about anything you want delivered the next day thanks to services like Amazon Prime and companies like FedEx and UPS, we rarely question how these systems work—and at what cost. Today we are releasing a report called Engines for Change that examines exactly this question. How much oil do trucks and freight really use? What can we do to use less fuel while providing the expected level of service that is so closely woven into our daily lives? Read More

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Book Review: How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew Hoffman

A few years ago, my colleagues and I worked with Andrew Hoffman, the director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, to host a forum on increasing public understanding of climate change. The event sticks with me because the participants came from so many different backgrounds: environmental justice, Creation care, energy production, social science, media, climate science, and service in Congress.

Hoffman has condensed the myriad approaches to climate communication we discussed that day — and much more — into an indispensable guide. At a slim 100 pages, Hoffman’s book offers a fine distillation of the growing body of social science that explains our curious and conflicting approaches to climate issues. In addition to identifying the problematic ways we often approach climate change, he also suggests several potential ways forward that can restore the climate debate to what he calls a “more civilized plane.” Read More

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Oil is Changing: Five Facts About Oil You Should Probably Know from the Carnegie Oil Climate Index

Most drivers think of “fuel” as gasoline or diesel—an erratically priced liquid that powers our cars and gets us places. But gasoline isn’t the only fuel that we use—electricity and biofuels are major players with growing potential—and even oil itself isn’t homogenous. In fact, oil is changing, and though the gasoline or diesel you buy may not have changed, the sources and impacts of producing it are shifting in imperceptible but important ways. This week a distinguished group of experts from across North America released an Oil Climate Index that provides insight, data and models into the changing nature of oil, and what it means for the climate. Read More

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How Bold Skepticism of “The Impossible” Can Help Drive The Future

According to Margo Oge, a former high-ranking official of the EPA, the future of climate-friendly transportation is filled with potential: driverless cars that pick you up “on demand,” car batteries that also help power your home, next generation vehicles that get the equivalent of 243 mpg—the equivalent of 10 gallons of gas to get from Los Angeles to New York City. In her new book Driving the Future, Oge shares an inspiring vision of our transportation future, and as the head of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at the Environmental Protection Agency for more than 18 years, she knows as much as anyone about what this future looks like and how to get there. Read More

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Risking Our Clean Energy Future by Gambling with an Overreliance on Natural Gas

Many U.S. electric utilities are doubling down on natural gas to generate power as they retire aging and polluting coal plants. While this unprecedented shift does provides some near-term benefits, dramatically expanding our use of natural gas to generate electricity is an ill-advised gamble that poses complex economic, public health, and climate risks. Read More

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