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Posts Tagged ‘California’

California Can Reach 50% Renewable Energy: New UCS Analysis Shows Pathways and Solutions

This summer, Californians have not been able to ignore the evidence of climate change affecting our lives. Historic drought and searing temperatures have turned the Golden State into a tinderbox, escalating wildfires and placing serious strain on the state’s agricultural economy. Read More

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Crazy Hot Days, Crazy Warm Nights: A New Study on Climate Change in California’s Central Valley

Last week I, along with an international group of scientists, published a study in the journal Climatic Change in which we found that the hottest summer days (24 hour periods) in the Central Valley were twice as likely to occur due to climate change. Heat waves in California’s Central Valley have become progressively more severe in recent decades due to  higher humidity and warmer nighttime temperatures. Observations obtained from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center show that Central Valley nighttime temperatures were nearly 2°F (1°C) warmer in the 2000s compared to the 1901-1960 average and even higher for the whole of California (see plot below). Read More

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Jaw-Dropping News in the Solar vs. Fossil Fuels Debate

You know the cliché about work that can be 59 minutes of boredom and one minute of white knuckle excitement and danger? In the electric power industry, this happens when a major power plant loses its connection to the grid, instantly and dramatically unbalancing the supply and demand of electricity. Blackouts follow if there isn’t an instant response.

Last week I had a similar exciting moment at a conference of utility commissioners, where I learned that a key grid reliability requirement during these emergencies has not been provided by new natural gas plants. Read More

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We Must Find Smart Ways to Prepare for Climate Change, or Growing Risks Could Lead to Fiscal Disasters

The effects of climate change are becoming more apparent every day, from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with bleached coral. Policy makers are beginning to realize that science can help them anticipate how risks are changing along with the climate, and this knowledge could help them control the costs of climate-related disasters, which taxpayers often bear. Thus, getting a handle on these risks is a crucial first step toward fiscally responsible policy – but some of our leaders still want to deny the problem. For taxpayers, this is a rare case in which doing something is cheaper than doing nothing at all. Read More

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Water Bond Blunders: It’s Time for California to Stop Looking to the Past and Start Planning for the Future

For decades, California has been known as an economic and environmental leader. Now, in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record, California needs to start applying some of that innovation and leadership to our water challenges. Read More

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Batteries, Hydrogen, and Hybrids: Where We Are Now, and Where We’re Going

Today I’m attending the 2015 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) summit in Sacramento, California, where automakers, policymakers, and technical leaders are sharing information and plans for continuing the impressive progress in getting clean ZEVs on the road. This is the third California ZEV summit and it’s amazing to see the progress that has been made in getting cleaner vehicles on the road. Read More

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Tesla Surges Ahead on Energy Storage

It’s been an exciting week for clean energy in California, with strong action by the governor on carbon pollution and a bold announcement expected on energy storage that will accelerate our clean energy transition. Read More

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Picking Up Speed: Why California Climate Action Keeps Moving Ahead

April 29, 2015 may not go down in history, but for those of us who care about taking meaningful climate action it was a very nice day indeed here in California. Read More

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Proof that California’s Water Sector Can Be a Climate Leader: Sonoma County Celebrates “Carbon-Free” Water

Today, I am at the Sonoma County Water Agency celebrating the achievement of their goal to provide “carbon-free water.” That means that no fossil fuels are burned in order to provide water services (including capturing, cleaning, and delivering drinking water to taps along with treating wastewater). This achievement is a powerful proof of concept, showing how the water sector can be a part of the state’s ambitious climate efforts. Read More

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High and Dry: Reservoir Levels Tell Only Half the Story, Leaving California Dry as Drought Continues

You’ve probably heard about the California drought by now. If you live in California, it’s hard to hear about anything else. Unfortunately, the drought may be even worse than we realize, because the way we often measure water supply doesn’t consider future water availability. By relying on measurements of current reservoir levels, agencies in charge of water distribution are missing an important part of the water supply picture, leaving their customers vulnerable to longer and more severe droughts.

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