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Communications and Messaging

China's new 2030 Climate Target Will Contribute to a Lower and Earlier Emissions Peak

July 6, 2015 by Jake Schmidt

China and Future Planning

China formally submitted its climate pledge for the post-2020 period in preparation for the new international climate agreement. These details were announced as part of the US-China climate agreement last November, but China has now added a carbon intensity reduction target to its 2030 goals.[read more]

Demand for Small Modular Reactors may be Impacted by Supreme Court Ruling on EPA Coal Plant Emissions

July 6, 2015 by Dan Yurman

SMRs and Supreme Court Rulings

The US Supreme Court recently threw out EPA’s coal emissions regulations that if implemented would have forced many utilities to close older coal-fired plants. The new emissions controls are aimed at mercury and other toxic pollutants which are not removed from stack emissions by current air pollution controls.[read more]

The Dog that Did Not Bark: A Nuclear Power Story

July 6, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Nuclear Energy Policy

A memorable Sherlock Holmes story involves "the curious incident of the dog" that did not bark when expected, and a much more contemporary California version involves calm in the aftermath of a sudden 2013 retirement for two giant nuclear power plants.[read more]

NASA Satellite Images Show the Rapid Expansion of Utility-Scale Solar in China

July 3, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
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China Solar Expansion

China is a very difficult solar market to track from the outside. There's no doubt that the Chinese PV market is growing at unprecedented speed. But determining its overall health is more of an art than a science. So perhaps the scientists can help.[read more]

Supreme Court: EPA Should Have Considered Cost When Deciding Whether Mercury Limits For Power Plants Were Appropriate

July 2, 2015 by James Coleman

EPA Regulations and Considering Costs

The United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly refused to consider costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act.[read more]

Revising the Toxic Substances Out-of-Control Act

July 2, 2015 by Steven Cohen

It's good that America had a bipartisan environmental majority in past, or our air today would be unbreathable and our water would be undrinkable. Fortunately, laws governing air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste, endangered species, and toxic substances were enacted during those crucial decades.[read more]

Winners and Losers from Flattening Tiered Electricity Prices

July 1, 2015 by Severin Borenstein
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Winners and Losers

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving closer to major changes in the steeply increasing-block residential electricity rates that the state has had since the 2000-01 California electricity crisis. This Friday the Commissioners may decide to significantly flatten the tiered rate structure.[read more]

Solar's Value for Grid Circuits: Not Much on Average, but Huge for a Handful

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John
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Solar and the Grid

Solar advocates and opponents have argued over the merits of various studies about the relative costs and benefits of distributed solar PV. Different studies have reached different results -- so different that the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote an entire report just to compare and contrast 16 of them.[read more]

Progress on Phasing Down HFCs as Countries Build Momentum Toward a Deal

July 1, 2015 by David Doniger

HFC Reduction

The global effort to phase down powerful heat-trapping hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is gaining speed as several nations recently put forth detailed plans to curb HFC use. Negotiators at the upcoming Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in Paris next month will weigh in on updated amendment proposals.[read more]

Public Investment in Clean Energy ''Poised for Exponential Growth'

June 30, 2015 by Katherine Tweed
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Green Investment

Even without access to MLPs, which are publicly traded entities that are allowed to act like traditional corporations in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, financing vehicles for clean energy projects are already being unleashed. Investment in clean energy hit nearly $340 billion in 2014.[read more]

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Natural Gas Production in East Africa: An Inevitable Resource Curse?

June 25, 2015 by Neha Nandakumar

African Resources and Consequences

East African nations are experiencing a boom in oil and natural gas production that is increasingly exported by Western companies. While these activities may appear to be an economic boon to these countries, they could potentially cause natural gas to be a “resource curse” for developing nations.[read more]

Under Sanctions, Iran's Crude Oil Exports Have Nearly Halved in Three Years

June 25, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Iran Oil Sanctions

Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) at the end of 2011 and during the summer of 2012, respectively, led to the displacement of more than 1.0 million barrels per day (b/d) of Iranian crude oil on the global market.[read more]

Oil and Natural Gas Production Job Declines Tend to Lag Oil Price Declines

June 24, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Fossil Fuels and Labor Levels

Employment in oil and natural gas extraction and support activities in the United States reached nearly 538,000 in October 2014, but then it declined by about 35,000 jobs, or 6.5%, over the following six months, through April 2015, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).[read more]

Laudato Si: The Moral Case for Energy Efficiency

June 22, 2015 by James Greenberger

Pope Francis and Climate Change/shutterstock

Last week Pope Francis issued a sweeping new encyclical on the environment entitled “Laudato Si”. The encyclical runs 184-pages and covers a range of issues. Most noteworthy is its endorsement of the proposition that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity.[read more]

Pope Francis Highlights the Moral Imperative of Climate Action

June 18, 2015 by Bob Perciasepe
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Pope Francis brings a clear and powerful moral voice to a climate change debate too often clouded by competing ideologies. He reminds us of our responsibilities to the planet and to one another, and makes plain the stakes and the urgency of stronger action.[read more]