Energy

A Trumped-Up Bailout Plan

Legally deficient? Arbitrary? Disguised special interest favors? All par for the course in this Administration.

You couldn’t ask for a more typical example of the Trump Administration at work. Nuclear and coal plants are being closed across the country, unable to compete with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables.  In a desperate effort to support the coal industry, Trump wants to force consumers to subsidize these plants.  It’s not […]

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What Trump Gives Appalachia With One Hand, He Takes Away with the Other

Ryan Zinke’s public land policies are accelerating the decline of eastern coal.

There is no one who Trump loves more than coal miners, and he has surrounded himself with Appalachian coal miners on important occasions. One of his most fervent pledges was to “end the war on coal.” Yet, Trump’s public lands policies are helping to accelerate the decline of eastern coal. A recent study by researchers […]

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CRISPR Approaches to Environmental Problems

Breakthroughs in gene editing might open the door to improved environmental protections. Or maybe not.

CRISPR is a breakthrough gene editing method. (I can’t refrain from noting that a key role in the discovery was played Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley.) There are potential risks from gene editing to the environment, similar to other types of GMOs. But there may be environmental benefits too. Here are a few that have been […]

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California’s New Rooftop Solar Mandate

The California Energy Commission’s new mandate receives mixed reviews.

The recent decision of the California Energy Commission to require the inclusion of rooftop solar photovoltaics on most new homes has engendered praise from some quarters, and criticism from others. Some see this new policy as a positive force, helping to reduce the cost of solar and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. […]

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Let a Hundred (Municipal) Flowers Bloom

Despite Trump, cities across the country are taking climate change seriously.

In the era of Trump, one bright spot remains what’s happening in cities across the nation. Here are some numbers: 402 U.S. mayors have endorsed the Paris Agreement and announced their intention of meeting its goals, while 118 have endorsed the goal of making their cities 100% renewable. A bit of quick research provides a […]

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Emergency Powers: A Two-Edged Sword

Trump is considering using emergency powers to save coal plants. Turnabout would be fair play.

The Trump Administration is considering using emergency powers to keep coal-fired power plants in operation even though they’re not economically viable. That would require an extraordinary stretch of the statutes in question. And if the statutes are interpreted that broadly, a future president could easily use them for the opposing purpose — forcing utilities to […]

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Automation Leads To Efficiency Gains But Job Losses At Southern California Port

Controversial issue to be discussed at upcoming UCLA conference on zero-emission freight at Southern California’s ports

Automation threatens to eliminate many manufacturing jobs around the world, as robots now perform factory line tasks that used to be done by humans. Now the technology is starting to be deployed through self-driving vehicles in places like ports, with similar results. It’s an issue we’ll discuss at the upcoming free UCLA/Berkeley Law conference on […]

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Energy Innovation and the Feds

Even under unified GOP rule, the federal government remains firmly committed to energy research.

Energy research is alive and well, notwithstanding Trump’s antipathy to research in general and climate/energy research in particular. We mostly associate energy research with the Department of Energy, its network of national labs, and its ARPA-E program. I’ve written previously about those programs and the importance of energy innovation. But it turns out that a […]

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EPA Should Not Repeal the Clean Power Plan

The writing may be on the wall, but it’s still a terrible idea

Coauthored with Nat Logar Today is the close of EPA’s public comment period on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Though EPA’s decision to backtrack from the rule hardly seems in doubt, it is still important to state that repealing the Clean Power Plan is a terrible idea. My colleagues Ann Carlson, Nat […]

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Analyzing a CAFE Rollback

Rolling back the CAFE standards is going to be a heavy analytic lift at best.

The Trump Administration has begun a review of the second phase of fuel efficiency standards adopted by the Obama Administration. Ann Carlson has already blogged about the harmful effects of such a rollback. A new paper by researchers at Resources for the Future sheds some additional light on the situation.  Although the study does not […]

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