Energy

A Win-Win Energy Law in Illinois

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Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs bill shows that cooperation across party lines is possible.

It went pretty much unheralded by the national media, but in December Illinois adopted a major new energy lawl — and with strong bipartisan support.  Each side had some things to celebrate. The Republican Governor touted the impact of the bill on utility bills.  According to the Governor, the “contains a guaranteed cap that energy […]

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Explaining Oil’s Political Clout

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There’s an obvious explanation. But it’s false.

Let me start with two obvious points – only one of which is true. The first is that the oil industry has huge political influence. The second is that its clout reflects the industry’s economic heft. The first point is definitely true. As Political Wire recently observed: “Nearly every to top level appointment in Trump’s cabinet […]

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Update on the Litigation Over EPA’s Rule Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Power Plants

Xcel Energy's Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota, Tony Webster.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

UCLA Faculty File Amicus Brief on Behalf of Technological Innovation Experts

Late in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency issued New Source Performance Standards to control greenhouse gas emissions from new and modified fossil-fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act. This regulation is a companion to the more-often-discussed Clean Power Plan rule, which addresses greenhouse gas emissions from existing sources in the power generation sector. Last […]

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Cheaper, Cleaner Power

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The cheapest new power today: gas, wind, solar. Almost never coal.

What’s the cheapest way to add power to the grid where you live?  Unless you live near Lake Superior, the answer isn’t coal — not even in West Virginia or Kentucky. Beyond that, the exact answer depends on just what you means by cheap. A major study from UT Austin digs deep into this question. […]

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Tillerson and Perry – It’s Complicated

Donald Trump

They’re not as bad as you might think. Relatively speaking.

The immediate environmentalist reaction to Rex Tillerson and Rick Perry — Trump’s choices to run the Departments of State and Energy — is that these are disastrous choices, like Trump’s selection of climate change denier Scott Pruitt to run EPA.  That’s understandable.  After all, Tillerson is the CEO of Exxon. As to Perry, the Washington Post headline says […]

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And the EPA Pick Is…

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

According to reports this morning, the EPA pick will be Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. We’ll hear more about him in the coming days.  For me, the story that sticks out most about him is this one – revealing his history of copying and pasting letters written by fossil fuel lobbyists and sending them under […]

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Gone, Baby, Gone: The Death of Appalachian Coal

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It’s not just cheap natural gas. Even a coal industry revival wouldn’t help Appalachia.

Trump has promised to end the “war on coal” and bring the industry roaring back. The NY Times appropriately called this a “cruel promise,” because cheap natural gas has driven coal to its knees economically.  That won’t change under Trump, who has promised even more fracking and gas production.  But, as it turns out, even […]

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Trump’s Public Statements Aren’t Relevant in Assessing His Likely Climate Policy

The Media Need to Take Trump’s Advisors, and Their Policy Proposals, More Seriously Than They Take Trump’s Off-the-Cuff Comments

The media need to get their act together when they report and editorialize about President-elect Donald Trump’s public statements.  Chief among many failures in reporting on the campaign was the tendency of major newspapers and television outlets to focus on candidates’ rhetoric, symbolism, and character, to the virtual exclusion of governance and policy. This contributed […]

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Surviving the Trump Research Funding Drought

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A Model for State Support of Climate and Energy Research

Federal funding for research on renewable energy and climate change is likely to take a nose-dive under Trump. For instance, a senior advisor recently announced that NASA’s earth sciences research program would be scrapped. In a previous post, I argued that state governments should help pick up the slack. Doing so could have economic benefits […]

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Conflicting News about President-Elect Trump and Climate Change

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Transition Team Uniformly Anti-Climate but Trump Signals Open Mind to NY Times

Today we got a sliver of hope from President-Elect Trump about remaining in the Paris Agreement.  He also acknowledged a connection between human activity and climate change, something obviously at odds with his campaign rhetoric.  Trump told the New York Times he would “keep an open mind” about the U.S. commitment to the Paris Agreement.  He […]

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