New Paper Addresses California Air District Authority to End NOx Pollution from Household Appliances

Most household appliances, like furnaces and water heaters, are powered by fossil fuels and emit nitrogen oxides (NOx)—toxic and highly reactive gases that endanger human health and the environment. To address this problem, air districts have adopted policies to reduce NOx pollution from appliances, and others across California are considering similar proposals. In a new …

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Insurance Regulators Commit to TCFD-Aligned Risk Disclosure Survey

Updated survey signals greater industry focus on climate risks

Two weeks ago the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) took a significant step in the assessment and disclosure of climate-related financial risk by updating its insurer climate risk survey to reflect the recommended disclosures of Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD recommendations are widely recognized as a leading international standard for …

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Before Yellowstone: The Arkansas Origin of National Parks

In a forgotten incident, Congress set aside Hot Springs in 190 years ago.

The origins of the national park system is usually traced back Lincoln’s 1864 signature of the Yosemite Grant Act.  But Congress had actually had the idea of protecting extraordinary places over thirty years earlier, in Arkansas of all places. Hot Springs isn’t high on the list of American places to see, which may be one …

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Biden Undoes NEPA Rollback

Trump tried to keep climate change out of environmental impact statements. Biden was right to scotch that effort.

Yesterday, the White House undid an effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the use of environmental impact statements. The pre-Trump rules had been in effect since 1978. Restoring the 1978 version was the right thing to do. The Trump’s rules arbitrarily limited the scope of the environmental effects that EPA can consider.  Their goal …

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Risky Business

Climate Change and the Insurance Sector

Founded in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commission represents insurance regulators in all fifty states. It’s not a particularly woke group – the current president is the Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. However, the group has just issued a new “voluntary” survey for insurance companies about climate risks. “Voluntary” is in quotes …

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A Green Tint for Rio Tinto

It’s not just a U.S. thing. Shareholder worries about climate risks are global.

Rio Tinto historically has been far from an environmental paragon.  That made an investor revolt last week over the giant mining company’s climate disclosures especially notable.  It’s also notable that this took place in London, showing that investor worries about climate change are worldwide.   These are people with real money at stake, unlike conservative politicians …

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Responsible EV Batteries

Building a supply chain that drives electrification while advancing human rights and environmental protection

On April 4, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the mitigation chapter of its Sixth Assessment Report (view the full report here). The report’s diagnosis is stark—the window to address climate change is narrowing, and more quickly than we realized. Governments need to deploy mitigation actions rapidly to address the scale and urgency …

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Why Energy Conservation Will Remain Crucial

Even after switching to clean power, we’ll still need to limit energy use.

If we switch to renewables, we won’t need to worry about saving energy. Right? Wrong! One reason to save energy is to limit carbon emissions from the energy we  use. That’s going to important until the energy system has been completely cleaned up. But energy conservation is important for reasons that go beyond the direct …

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Regan Hits His Stride

Under Administrator Michael Regan, the Biden EPA is beginning to churn out important new regulatory proposals.

The Trump Administration left a trail of regulatory destruction behind it. Cleaning up the mess and issuing new regulations is Priority #1 for the Biden Administration. Under EPA head Michael Regan, the effort is beginning to pick up steam. EPA has begun the year with several major new regulatory efforts.  No one of them is …

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Why Are Big Utilities Planning to Cut Carbon?

Solar panel array in CA desert

The top ten utilities have set goals for emissions reduction. It’s less clear what’s driving them.

As my post on Monday indicated, the top ten utilities have all announced plans for cutting carbon in the next several decades. Some of these utilities, like PG&E or ConEd, operate in states that have ambitious climate policies. It’s easy to see why utilities in New York or California would be setting their own targets. …

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