These three power plants cause a big share of America’s mercury pollution.
In Ireland, poor people used to burn peat from fuel. Barely a step ahead of that, some American power plants burn semi-fossilized peat (lignite) to run their generators. It turns out that those power plants produce about a third of all the toxic mercury emissions of the entire industry. Even more remarkably, about half of …CONTINUE READING
Yesterday’s decision leaves open a powerful regulatory tool.
What can EPA do to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants after yesterday’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA? The decision clearly ruled out any direct mandate to shift generation from coal generators to cleaner power generators. But the Supreme Court didn’t endorse Trump’s ultra-limited interpretation of the law either. This leaves EPA with …CONTINUE READING
New York regulators and transmission operators consider a carbon adder for wholesale electricity.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) operates the state’s electric grid and conducts wholesale power markets. The New York Department of Public Service regulates the state’s investor-owned electricity providers. Together, they have issued a report concluding that the state, ratepayers, and the environment would benefit from placing a charge on wholesale electric power to …CONTINUE READING
Guest Blogger Kate Konschnik: The Debate about EPA’s Authority to Regulate Carbon Pollution is a Lot of Things – But Not These Things
Kate Konschnik is the Director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental Policy Initiative. The views expressed in this blog post are her own.
Clean Power Plan challengers have asked the D.C. Circuit to stay the rule pending litigation. Today, industry and environmental groups supporting EPA will file their oppositions to this request. The stay motions included the charge that EPA may not use Section 111(d) at all to curb pollution from existing power plants. Dan Farber and I …CONTINUE READING
Business wins on baseline year, flexible compliance methods will keep costs down
President Obama’s EPA will tomorrow issue proposed greenhouse gas limits for existing power plants. By all accounts the rules will be a remarkable step forward in the fight against global warming, with the U.S. finally demonstrating significant leadership on an issue on which it has lagged behind for more than a decade. And yet from …CONTINUE READING
What causes certain political figures either to deny the potential for climate change, or deny that human activity is a major cause? That question came to mind while reviewing a new report issued by Ceres entitled Benchmarking Air Emissions for the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States. The report does an impressive …CONTINUE READING
Chaos has reigned over massive swathes of India during the last few days, as much of the northern part of the country outside of major urban centers has been without power. The New York Times has excellent spot coverage, but a deeper analysis comes from John Elliott’s invaluable blog, Riding the Elephant. The government has …CONTINUE READING
In a recent commentary, I suggested that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s new Green Option, pursuant to which consumers can subscribe to 100% renewable electricity, would not result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. That is because under California’s cap and trade program, the utility can sell any unneeded carbon allowance for someone else to …CONTINUE READING
California’s largest electric utility, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), has proposed to offer a Green Option Program through which individual customers could choose to pay a little extra for power that is 100% renewable. In a move clearly designed to discourage local governments from starting their own green power programs, PG&E displays endorsement …CONTINUE READING
Tomorrow’s New York Times has an interesting article on the future of coal-fired electric power in the United States. Coal is responsible for fully 20% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “Clean coal,” meaning coal plants that result in no net emissions of carbon dioxide, would be possible only …CONTINUE READING