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New NOAA Data Shows Just How Abnormal Our Climate Has Become

, senior climate scientist

Two seemingly disconnected announcements over the last few weeks are giving us a glimpse of what “normal” looks like right now in terms of our climate. In reflecting how profoundly we’re altering our climate system, NOAA’s new 30-year “climate normals” clearly show how “normal” ain’t what it used to be. And the latest report from the International Energy Agency reminds us that “normal” isn’t always a state we should be longing for. In fact, we should be pushing back hard against what’s normal right now to give our kids some semblance of a recognizable climate in the future. Here are four things to think about when considering what a “normal climate” means. Read more >

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NOAA Climate.gov; NCEI
NOAA Climate.gov; NCEI
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D. Reichmuth/UCS

California Takes the Next Step Towards Ensuring Cleaner Cars and Trucks

, Senior vehicles engineer

On Thursday, California’s air quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), released the first draft of their plan to ensure all new passenger cars and trucks are electric drive by 2035. A key component of CARB’s proposal would ramp up the existing Zero Emission Vehicles requirement on automakers, eventually requiring 100% ZEVs for model year 2035 vehicles. In theory, this means automakers would need to have about 75 percent ZEV sales by 2030. This is about the pace we need to be on to make the large reductions in both climate pollution and air pollution emissions that harm human health. However, there is the potential for automakers to avoid hitting these sales targets and therefore not achieve needed emissions reductions. Read more >

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Scientists Must Get Involved in Democracy Reform!

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

At its core, much of science is about understanding what is happening in the world. That is certainly true of the science of democracy, studying how the structures of democracy work. And American democracy is frail—and eroding under the weight of baseless attacks on the rights and ability of citizens to exercise their right to vote and to be fully represented in our democracy.

Read more >

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Transitioning from Coal to Clean Will Save You Money. Could Make You Money!

, Senior Energy Analyst

About five years ago, when UCS looked at the economics of coal plants, we found that about 40 percent of coal plants were more expensive than cleaner alternatives. Almost every year since our report has come out, a new study has come out and come to a similar conclusion with one notable difference: The amount of coal that is uneconomic seems to always be increasing. And the latest study has found that the number has reached 80 percent!

What is even more fascinating is that the numbers are starting to paint a very clear picture: that transitioning away from coal and towards clean energy could save customers money today. Read more >

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Putting the Politics of COVID-19 “Under the Microscope” via Podcast

Elizabeth Thompson, graduate student, Rockefeller University , UCS

As a bright-eyed matriculating graduate student entering my PhD at Rockefeller University, I thought I would face two choices upon earning that hard-won degree: academia or industry. 2020 effectively jolted me out of that conventional line of thinking and drove me to search for innovative ways in which scientists can become involved in politics. This different and relatively unexplored career path left me feeling a little lost and unsure where to start. Serendipitously, a fellow first-year graduate student from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences sent a Slack message asking if anyone in our science policy organization was interested in starting a science policy-based podcast. Being the Gen-Zer that I am, I slid into her DMs and voiced my interest.  Read more >

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