energy policy

Why We Can’t Wait

In climate policy, delay is deadly.

There are a lot of complaints about the very real flaws in the Inflation Reduction Act, tied with arguments that we should wait until we can do something better. In climate policy, however, waiting is dangerous.  We’ve already delayed far too long. Further delay means having to cut emission much more rapidly to make up …

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Good News from “Down Under”

Australia’s election signals a welcome change in climate policy.

Australia has had a change of government. The Liberal Party — conservative  in everything but name — lost control of the federal government to Labor.   Australia was recently ranked last out of sixty countries in climate policy.The victorious Labor candidate told his supporters, “Together we can end the climate wars. Together we can take advantage of …

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Time to End FERC’s Misguided Effort to Fix Wholesale Power Prices

A FERC ruling tilts the playing field against renewable energy. It should be repealed.

In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets operated by PJM, the country’s largest grid region.  That, at least, was the view of the Commissioners who were appointed by Republican presidents. PJM, which runs the electricity grid more or less from Chicago to Maryland, has …

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Where “Old King Coal” Still Holds Court

Use of coal is dwindling across the country, but very unevenly.  We need to give it a good shove.

The NY Times ran a story last week about a coal area in Wyoming that is embracing renewable energy as its economic future.  Residents of Carbon County, WY,  aren’t necessarily happy about it but they recognize that the times are changing. As one county commissioner said,  “You can stand at the tracks when the train …

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Driving Sustainable Energy Storage Technology

Maximizing the Environmental Utility of Battery Storage: Building a Life Cycle Assessment Framework

Battery energy storage is recognized as a key element of making our energy infrastructure more sustainable and resilient. Battery storage, however, encompasses many technologies–how should sustainability-minded agencies, utilities and storage developers choose among these options? UCLA’s Emmett Institute and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is hosting an interactive workshop on that question …

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Coal Takes a Nosedive

Despite Trump’s efforts to save it, the most environmentally destructive fuel is fading quickly.

In the 2016 election, Trump pledged to save coal. Since then, his Administration has pulled out all the stops in this effort, including repeal of dozens of environmental regulations.  All for naught. In 2021, U.S. coal use will be 30% below what it is when Trump took office. Coal’s immediate situation is even worse, due …

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Another Problem with Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Policy

It’s hard to estimate benefits. But it turns out costs are also uncertain.

It’s common knowledge— at least, among people who follow these things — that it is hard to estimate the benefits of a proposed climate policy.  But it’s actually quite difficult to estimate the costs as well. There are three major problems in estimating the benefits of  a proposed climate policy.  First, it’s hard to estimate …

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Bold But Realistic Climate Actions

Here’s what a new President could actually do.

What options are available to a new President taking office in 2021?  Let’s assume a favorable scenario for climate action in which Dems take unified control of the government (White House, Senate, House) in 2021.  What then? The first theme to keep in mind is that the Democrats will still be subject to some significant …

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Juliana and the Future of Climate Litigation

Asking judges to pass judgment on all U.S. energy policy was a bridge too far.

The Ninth Circuit threw out the Juliana litigation this morning.  The two judges in the majority basically said,  legalistic language, that you can’t get the Green New Deal by court order. It was wrong for the Supreme Court to step in at the last minute to put the trial on hold, rather than giving the …

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Guest Blogger Michael Wara: The Trump Administration Moves to Guarantee Profits for Coal-fired and Nuclear Power Plants

Finally, something anti-regulation conservatives and pro-environment progressives can agree on: dislike of the Sec. Perry’s Resilience and Reliability NOPR

The gloves came off last week when it comes to the Trump Administration’s attempts to subsidize coal in U.S. electricity markets. On Friday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guarantee profits for both new and existing coal fired and nuclear power plants. While Sec. Perry doesn’t have the power …

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