Global warming


Southern California Edison's Mountainview Gas Plant. Photo: David Danelski

How Can We Turn Down the Gas in California?

, senior analyst, Clean Energy

California’s deep commitment to addressing climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels has helped establish the state as a worldwide hub for clean energy investment and innovation. Thanks in large part to the Renewables Portfolio Standard or “RPS”— a policy enacted first in 2002 and ramped up over time—renewables now meet about 30 percent of California’s electricity needs while the state is on track to reach its 50 percent renewable target by 2030.

But California also has a lot of natural gas-fired power plants that release greenhouse gas emissions and pollute our air. After the state deregulated its electricity market in 1998, a combination of market manipulation and price caps led to skyrocketing electricity prices and rolling blackouts in 2000 and 2001. To make sure the state would never be left in the dark again, utilities and independent power plant owners built more natural gas power plants.

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Photo: David Danelski
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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr

Chronic Flooding and the Future of Miami

Nicole Hernández Hammer,

En español > 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released a report analyzing the impacts of chronic tidal flooding on U.S. coastal properties in the lower 48 states. The number of homes and businesses, their value, along with the amount of tax base and most importantly, people at risk is startling. They found that by 2045, 311,000 homes, worth $117.5 billion dollars by today’s market values, could be at risk of chronic flooding driven by climate change. By 2100, 2.4 million homes, worth approximately $912 billion dollars, and 4.7 million people will be at risk. Nowhere more than Florida, that bears 40% of the risk, are these realities being felt now and will be more so in the future as sea levels continue to rise. Ultimately, the impacts of climate change driven chronic flooding leads to a greater potential crisis for low-income communities.

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Photo: Ben Grantham/Flickr
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Factory worker in a car assembly line.

Auto Standards Rollback: Oil companies Win, Everyone Else Loses

, research and deputy director, Clean Vehicles

In April, I blogged about the findings of a new analysis showing how state and federal standards to improve vehicle efficiency and accelerate vehicle electrification could impact jobs and economic growth. The results of the analysis were overwhelmingly positive.  Investing in vehicle technologies to reduce spending at the pump isn’t just good for drivers: the money invested in technology development creates jobs, and savings on fuel get pumped back into the economy.  So what would happen if instead we decide to take a step backwards and not invest in improving vehicle emissions and efficiency as the Trump administration is anticipated to propose any day now? Spoiler alert: Oil companies win and everyone else loses.

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Photo: Darla White (NOAA)

Ocean Agency Must Keep Its Focus on Climate Change and Sustaining Marine Ecosystems

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

It has been a tumultuous couple of weeks for ocean aficionados like me. The Acting Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, made a presentation to leadership at the Department of Commerce, NOAA’s home, on possible changes and priorities for the agency during this administration. His second slide clearly describes a shift away from scientific work on climate and efforts to conserve and manage ocean and coastal resources. Read more >

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Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr

ExxonMobil Refuses to Give Scientists the Floor: Reflections from a Corporate Shareholders’ Meeting

Robert E. Forbis Jr., , UCS

It was with great anticipation that I attended the ExxonMobil Shareholders Meeting last month at the invitation of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). My attendance was facilitated via proxy from Mercy Investment Services. In doing so, I joined a multitude of interested parties—some of whom had traveled great distances—to engage ExxonMobil’s CEO Darren Woods in discussions concerning a wide array of topics including, but certainly not limited to, climate change. Alas, none of us (representatives of the Union of Concerned Scientists or others who had come prepared with questions about climate change or environmental issues) were called upon. We were, in fact, studiously avoided. Read more >

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