Energy

More States Are Finally Following California’s RPS Lead

California has long led the push for renewable energy mandates, and others are catching on

California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a flagship component of the state’s robust portfolio of climate change policies. The RPS is complex, but the basic concept is simple: state law requires electric utilities to procure a minimum percentage of their retail electricity from qualifying renewable sources under rules set by the California Public Utilities Commission. […]

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I Suppose We Can Just Hope That EIA Is Wrong

The federal estimate of energy-related carbon emissions in 2050 should get our attention.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) issues projections for future energy use across all sectors of society. They aren’t really predictions of our energy future — they are more like conversation starters. In fact, some researchers suggest that EIA shows a consistent bias by forecasting more energy use than actually occurs. Yet, […]

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Conference On SB 100 & California’s Race To A Carbon-Free Grid

California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section will hold daylong event on March 28th in Downtown Oakland

The California Lawyers Association’s Environmental Law Section is hosting a conference on Thursday, March 28th in Downtown Oakland entitled “SB 100 and the Race to a Carbon Free Grid in California.” It will feature top officials from the Newsom Administration and other energy experts, including an “Energy 101” pre-panel for attorneys new to the field. […]

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Declaring a Climate Change Emergency: A Citizen’s Guide

Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.

The possibility of declaring a national emergency to address climate change will probably remain under discussion for the next couple of years, particularly if the courts uphold Trump’s “wall” emergency.  For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to pull together the series of blog posts I’ve written on the subject.  I want to […]

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Why is Trump Getting the Cold Shoulder from the Car Companies?

The answer: His rollback promises them little profit and much uncertainty.

Usually, you’d expect a regulated industry to applaud an effort to lighten its regulatory burdens. So you would think that the car industry would support Trump’s effort to roll back fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles and take away California’s authority to set its own vehicle standards. But that effort is being met by silence […]

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Scoping Out the Green New Deal

How would we go about decarbonizing the most needy U.S. states?

Progressives are calling for a Green New Deal.  The details are still very fuzzy, despite the House resolution introduced by Markey and Ocasio-Cortez. That proposal as a ten-year timetable to eliminate carbon, which is highly unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s worth thinking about what an all-out effort to decarbonizing the economy would look like.  The Green New […]

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Funny, It Doesn’t Look Bluish

Strong Push for Renewables in the Land of Enchantment – But Is It a Bailout?

Although it reliably votes for Democratic Presidential candidates, has two Democratic United States Senators, and a trifecta of Democratic control in the state house, blue-state New Mexico is not usually thought of as a progressive environmental leader. The State Public Regulation Commission — one of only 13 directly elected by voters — has been plagued […]

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Bottoms-Up! An Emerging New Governance System (4)

We can think of the energy system as a kind of ecosystem, and renewables as an invasive species.

As I’ve discussed the earlier three posts in this series, it is possible to imagine a cycle of positive feedback, in which the history of past climate efforts increases the likelihood of future ones and even draws more jurisdictions into the effort. But it is also possible to imagine that bottom-up efforts might not catch […]

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Bottoms-Up! An Emerging New Governance System (3)

Bottom-up strategies can ultimately pave the road for stronger international agreement.

It is difficult to measure the extent of positive feedback between climate initiatives. But it seems evident that such feedback does exist. A major climate initiative in one jurisdiction seems to encourage climate action elsewhere. This makes climate action a more appealing prospect for any individual jurisdiction, because by acting it can increase climate actions […]

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Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels

It’s not us. It’s you.

WORLD: Thanks for the card. . . . But I think we need to talk. FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: About what? W: About us. FFI: About us?? Can’t it wait until some other time? This is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve made plans for us.  Big plans. W: No, I think we need to get some things […]

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