climate change mitigation

A Dozen Strategies for the Struggle With Big Oil

Big Oil will fight against energy transformation. How do we fight back?

The oil industry is enormous – something like 2-3% of global GDP. Individuals firms like ExxonMobil earn tens of billions of dollars each quarter. Controlling climate change will mean drastic curtailment in the coming decades of the industry’s major products. There’s no way that the industry will accept this lying down, and it’s a formidable …

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New York’s Big Move

The Empire State has jumped into the first tier of state climate action.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a breakthrough climate change law, the “New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” What every state does to address climate change is worthwhile, of course, but New York is particularly significant in terms of the national picture. It’s the nation’s third-most populous state and also …

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Getting to 2050

A roadmap for achieving an 80% emissions cut.

To do its part in keeping climate change to tolerable levels, the United States needs to cut its carbon emissions at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  That’s not just a matter of decarbonizing the electricity sector; it means changes in everything from aviation to steel manufacture, and reducing not only CO2 but also …

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Good News From India

While we’ve been obsessing about Trump, India has made great strides in renewable energy.

We get so focused on the problems in our own country that it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening globally. It turns out that while we’ve been mired in our own travails, India has been making remarkableprogress on renewable energy. What happens in India has tremendous significance. It is now the most populous country …

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A Catalogue of Game Changers

We’re making progress on addressing climate change, and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue doing so. Yet it’s not clear whether the path we’re currently on will make progress fast enough to avoid very serious risks.  So what would it take for us to make a quantum leap in this effort?  I wouldn’t hazard a prediction …

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Fifty States, Fifty Energy Policies

New report provides a snapshot of renewable energy growth across the country.

The federal government gets all the headlines, but state governments control much of energy policy. They control local utilities and set policies on renewable energy. But because so many jurisdictions are involved, it’s hard to get an overall picture of what’s really happening. I’ve been trying to get at least a rough sense of what’s …

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Privatizing Paris

With the U.S. faltering, it’s time for corporations to begin a collaborative effort to cut emissions.

Many major corporations bemoaned Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and pledged to continue their own environmental efforts. Why stop with acting solo? Why not band together? There’s power in joint action. Here are four options, from simplest to most ambitious. Taking the Paris Agreement Private. Under the Paris Agreement, nations agree to engage in …

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Confronting the “Emissions Gap”

Long-term thinking and short-term deficiencies in climate change mitigation

With the Paris Agreement now ratified by 86 countries, and entering into force this Friday, countries have defined their first targets—the first round of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The United States has pledged to reduce GHG emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. This initial round of NDCs is significant, but represents only a short timeframe and …

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Promises to Keep

In the run-up to the Paris talks, the major economies have all pledged carbon reductions.

With Saudia Arabia’s pledge last week to cut emission, all of the world’s major economies are now on board.  In a nutshell, here is what they are promising. Except as noted, the target dates are all 2030.  A number of countries have subsidiary promises in terms of percentage of renewable energy or of bigger cuts premised …

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Resources on the Clean Power Plan

and EPA’s Other Rulemakings under Clean Air Act § 111

On August 3rd, EPA released its long-awaited Clean Power Plan, which implements Clean Air Act § 111(d) to set the first-ever national standards for carbon emissions from existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The Clean Power Plan calculates reasonably achievable performance rates for existing coal, oil, and natural gas power plants across the country, and assigns an …

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