Wildfires and the Cost of Electric Service

It turns out, electric transmission is not as cheap as we thought it was.

Economists detest externalities – those nasty hidden costs that businesses don’t face when they sell polluting or dangerous products and services, but that are instead imposed on the public or the environment. And economists are right to be concerned. A polluter that does not pay the cost for its pollution is likely to keep polluting. […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Oil and Transportation in California

Post #4 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the fourth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] In 2015, Jerry Brown challenged the State to reduce oil usage in the transportation sector by 50% by 2030.  […]

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Sierra Club Opposes One Of The Most Important Climate Bills In California

Environmental group whiffs on proposed legislation to allow badly needed residential development near transit

Housing more Californians near transit and not in sprawl areas represents one of the most crucial ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 827 (Wiener) would help do just that, by preventing local governments from zoning people (and homes) out of these prime transit areas. So it was surprising to see an environmental organization […]

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Interior doubles down on contempt for government integrity

Newly appointed acting National Park Service chief improperly allowed removal of trees from NPS easement

We know that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has little regard for government rules — the Navy SEAL career he is so fond of touting was derailed because he misused government funds for personal travel; he has continued to flout travel regulations and restrictions on political activity by government employees in his present job; […]

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The Story Behind a Political Breakthrough

Congress passed a 2017 law recognizing climate change as a serious threat. How did THAT happen?

Last month, Congress passed and Trump signed a provision in the Defense Authorization Act that designates climate change a serious threat to national security. That was a historic first. I blogged about the bill last month, but it seemed worthwhile to investigate this surprising development further. Although there’s no direct evidence, there are strong indications […]

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When is unoccupied habitat “critical”?

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the critical habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog

Controversy and litigation have been pervasive since adoption of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, but the Supreme Court has been a relatively minor player in the law’s development. By my count, the Court so far has only addressed the substantive merits of an ESA claim three times (in TVA v Hill, 437 US 153 […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: California’s Building Energy Efficiency Mandate

Post #3 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the third post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Energy usage associated with buildings is substantial. There are different ways to calculate it, but the California […]

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Georgia: A Peach of an Energy Policy

Georgia’s energy policy is much better than you’d expect from its Southern location and politics.

Georgia is a bit of a surprise. It is a leader in solar energy in a region that generally has not been very friendly to renewables. It currently ranks 9th nationally in total solar installations (and even more surprisingly, ranked  3rd in 2016 in newly added solar). What’s also surprising is that Georgia has done this […]

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Trump Administration Imposes Tariffs On Solar PV Imports

The expected blow for solar companies, consumers, and clean energy & climate advocates will likely bring a U.S. solar slowdown and prompt industry changes

Following up on a campaign promise to crack down on free trade policies, the Trump Administration today announced that they will be imposing tariffs on foreign solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The tariffs will start at 30 percent in the first year and then decline to 25 percent in year 2, 20 percent in year 3, […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Post #2 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the second post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world.  The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] SB 350 (2015) requires that California’s investor and municipal owned utilities provide 50% of their customer’s electricity […]

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