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Tax Pollution, Not Profits

Author(s): Congressman John Delaney (D-MD)
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Date: July 7, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Climate change is a threat to our environment and our economy, and we cannot afford the risk of inaction. With our free market economy, the best solution is a simple, transparent tax on carbon that unleashes the power of the market and enables America to lead the way toward a new, clean energy economy. Importantly, a carbon tax produces revenues that can be used to help American businesses and families. But there are many options for how to use these revenues. Critics of carbon taxes frequently cite slower economic growth, increasing taxes on the poor, and hurting coal workers as… [more]

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Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC

Author(s): Wil Burns
Co-Executive Director
The Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, American University
Date: June 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM

The focus of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) originally was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as emissions associated with land-use change and forestry. However, by the 2000s scientists and policymakers realized that emissions targets were too low to avoid serious negative impacts, necessitating the development of adaptation responses as a complement to mitigation. In the past few years, it has become clear that historical emissions have “locked in” a certain level of climatic change, making some serious impacts unavoidable. Moreover, the feckless response of the world in arresting emissions makes even graver unavoidable… [more]

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Examining an Energy Storage Standard

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: June 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The Energy Storage Promotion and Deployment Act of 2015, recently introduced by Sen. Marin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Angus King (I-ME), seeks to create a National Energy Storage Standard. Similar to a Renewable Portfolio Standard, the storage standard would require electric utilities to meet a percentage of their generation via storage, in this case 1% of peak demand using any energy storage technology by 2021 and 2 percent by 2025. In real terms, utilities would have to add 8 GW of storage by 2021 and 18 GW by 2025. Available technologies range from electric and thermal salt batteries to pumped… [more]

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Niskanen Center

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: June 16, 2015 at 2:12 PM

The Niskanen Center is a libertarian 501(c)(3) think tank that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process: developing and promoting proposals to legislative and executive branch policymakers, building coalitions to facilitate joint action, and marshaling the most convincing arguments in support of our agenda.  The Center’s main audience is the Washington insiders – policy-oriented legislators, presidential appointees, career civil servants in planning, evaluation and budget offices, congressional committee staff, engaged academics, and interest group analysts – who together decide the pace and direction of policy change.

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Preparing the Next Generation of Energy Leaders

Author(s): Gernot Wagner
Lead Senior Economist
Environmental Defense Fund
Date: at 8:00 AM

What determines the cost of a ton of coal? Is OPEC an oligopoly? Should we subsidize low-carbon energy or tax fossil fuels? Do Prius owners drive more? These are among the questions I cover in my Economics of Energy class. I’ve taught this class at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs for the past five years. I hope to receive your feedback on how to improve this course. The course has two goals: to provide a set of tools to approach these and many other fundamental questions in energy economics, and to do so in plain English. Last… [more]

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Energy Transformation: Finding Policy and Finance Solutions

Author(s): Matt Futch
Vice President, US Retail Regulatory Strategy
National Grid, US
Date: June 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM

We hear about the promise of transforming America’s infrastructure every day. But if we’re going to capitalize on that promise, we need to reverse the 20-year trend of underinvestment in energy networks. Greater overall resiliency, reliability and innovation come with a sizeable price tag; it is estimated that U.S. energy infrastructure needs $2.5 trillion in investment by 2035. If we don’t meet this challenge, the growing limitations of our current system threaten to derail progress toward our long-term energy sustainability and security goals. We either invest now, or pay that much more later. The current regulatory landscape also complicates this transformation.… [more]

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Will Demand for Oil Peak by 2035?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: June 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Many are familiar with peak oil theory — the idea that global oil production will hit a ceiling and then decline — yet the concept of peak oil demand, where demand will plateau before supply, appears to be replacing this controversial hypothesis. Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at UC Davis, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that a combination of technical, economic, environmental and demographic shifts could lead to peak global oil demand in the next two decades. By contrast, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that global oil demand will rise from 87 million barrels per… [more]

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Getting Past Rate Fixation to the Benefits of the Clean Power Plan

Author(s): Marilyn Brown
Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: May 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Making use of energy efficiency can help contain the cost of complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and reduce electricity bills. Yet as climate policy discussions try to balance the urgent demand for quick action with upfront capital investments, the benefits of energy efficiency must be viewed in the long term. As efficiency programs are being ramped up by utilities with an over-capacity of power plants, rates may rise for a few years before they fall. Policymakers and stakeholders need to get past “rate fixation” to see the long-term value of energy efficiency. With the strong “nudge” of the… [more]

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The Nuclear Investment Vacuum

Author(s): Michael S. Lubell
Professor of Physics
City College of the City University of New York
Date: May 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The low cost and abundance of natural gas is rapidly causing utility companies to replace coal plants and aging nuclear power plants with gas-fired power plants. The widespread transition to natural gas highlights a need for the nuclear industry to focus on innovation as a means of regaining its competitiveness. Yet innovation requires long-term investment, and the nuclear sector faces structural difficulties in procuring the necessary funds to develop promising technologies. Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, draw a strong distinction between basic research, which they generally accept as a federal responsibility, and applied research, which they believe… [more]

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The Role of Innovation in Meeting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Author(s): Peter Kelly-Detwiler
Principal
NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC
Date: May 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, meant to reduce carbon by 30% by 2030, is expected to be accomplished through a combination of improving existing power plants, switching to cleaner generation, boosting renewables, and improving energy efficiency. It is more than likely that the global economy’s ability to innovate and drive economies of scale will significantly ease this transition, providing as yet unknown but superior alternatives. Consider this: the wind and solar industries barely existed five years ago. Today, costs of wind have fallen by 58% in the last five years, and the price of installed solar has plummeted by… [more]

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