Climate 411

Why RGGI is a Good Deal for Virginians

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

With unprecedented droughts, wildfires, floods and heat waves impacting communities nationwide, it’s clear that climate change is not a threat in some distant future – we’re dealing with its ramifications today. Virginians know this well, having experienced eight different billion-dollar disaster events (three tropical cyclones, four severe storms, and one winter storm) in 2021 alone. Consequently, it’s imperative that we act immediately to address the climate crisis. Virginia took a major step toward doing just that by linking to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2021 – a step Governor Youngkin has, alarmingly, indicated he wants to reverse.

Leaving RGGI risks derailing Virginia from continued progress to reduce climate pollution and will eliminate funds for existing programs that help protect Virginians from devastating floods and that save electric ratepayers money by lowering their energy usage.

RGGI is a proven program for combating climate pollution while investing in solutions that will make Virginia more resilient. Here are five reasons that make clear RGGI is a good deal for Virginia.

Read More »

Posted in Cities and states / Read 1 Response

Governor Murphy’s 2030 climate goal demands a new climate game plan for New Jersey

Last month, Governor Phil Murphy elevated New Jersey’s fight against the climate crisis this decade by signing Executive Order No. 274, which commits the state to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2006 levels by 2030. The Governor’s action is a critical step toward putting New Jersey on a path to do what is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and it aligns the state’s goals with those of the Biden administration. It also arrives at a crucial time, after New Jersey communities were hit with destructive flooding and tornadoes from Hurricane Ida earlier this fall and have been forced to confront the reality of increasingly severe and frequent storms.

But Governor Murphy’s climate legacy will not be secured by this commitment. It will be determined by the action he takes to deliver on it. Now that the goal to halve emissions by 2030 across all sectors of the state’s economy has been established as the formal policy of the state of New Jersey, Murphy will need to develop a policy framework that secures emission reductions in line with the target.

Read More »

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy / Comments are closed

Western Climate Initiative ends the year on a high note with record prices

Wind farm in Mojave Desert.

Wind farm in the Mojave Desert. PC: Tom Brewster Photography for the Bureau of Land Management.

The latest results of the Western Climate Initiative’s quarterly auctions were announced today. All current and future vintage allowances sold, and for the second quarter in a row, settled at a record-high allowance price.

These results arrive as new data underscores the success of the program’s design and the strength of the market.

Read More »

Also posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

Oregon is finalizing a key pillar of its climate strategy. Will DEQ deliver the climate ambition that Oregonians are demanding?

This post is authored by Kjellen Belcher, Senior Analyst for U.S. Climate at EDF.

Oregon wildfire.

Photo credit: US Bureau of Land Management.

This past summer, the Pacific Northwest endured record-breaking high temperatures, with Portland reaching 116 degrees F. Hundreds of Oregonians are still reeling from the wildfires of 2020 —  one of the most destructive seasons on record for Oregon. And a new study just revealed that Mt. Hood, an iconic Oregon landmark, will have low to no snowpack within the next 35 to 60 years, impacting Oregon’s water supply, winter sports season and other treasured natural resource industries.

Climate change is impacting every part of Oregon, and every action we take (or don’t take) will either solidify a very grim climate future or stop the ever-accelerating impacts of climate change and the immeasurable human suffering that goes with it.

But Oregon regulators have the power to take immediate action to address the climate crisis.

Read More »

Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Comments are closed

Shifting toward clean energy can lower costs for Pennsylvanians

Thermostat for heating

As fall leaves are rapidly disappearing and temperatures drop, families across Pennsylvania are starting to turn up home thermostats to keep warm. Ensuring affordable, reliable energy is available should be an absolutely critical priority for policymakers. This winter, however, is expected to bring higher than usual energy prices that could hit U.S. households in colder regions like the Northeast and upper Midwest especially hard. And it reveals how American families and businesses bear the brunt of wild price fluctuations in fossil fuels and deserve more stable, cleaner sources of energy. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), households that primarily use natural gas for space heating will spend an average of 30% more on heating this winter than last year. This is especially concerning for a state like Pennsylvania where over half of households use natural gas to heat their homes, and much of Pennsylvania’s electricity is powered by natural gas-fired power plants, meaning even those who don’t use natural gas fuel directly for heating may still be affected by rising prices.

With families, communities and businesses worried about costs for heat and electricity, many are capitalizing on this fear to spread disinformation about the causes. So, what exactly is driving these spikes? And how can we avoid this situation in the future? 

Read More »

Posted in Cities and states / Comments are closed

New analysis: Americans across the country suffered from high ozone pollution levels of this summer

In addition to checking the temperature and the chance of rain before leaving home, many people have been forced to add a new indicator to their daily weather check – air quality.

Ground-level ozone pollution – more commonly known as smog – reached dangerous levels across the U.S. this summer. EDF’s new analysis found that almost every state experienced unhealthy levels of it, with millions of Americans exposed to dangerous air pollution.

The current national standard for ground-level ozone pollution is 70 parts per billion. As you can see from the maps above, 45 states had at least one day between March and August with levels that exceeded that limit.

However, there is a substantial and growing body of scientific evidence that shows serious health effects from ground-level ozone exposure at levels below the current standard. When the data is expanded to consider ground-level ozone levels greater than 60 parts per billion, which would be a health-based standard more consistent with the scientific evidence, the picture of summer ozone levels is even more concerning – all but one state (Hawaii) had at least one day with levels that exceeded that amount.

Our analysis also found:

  • The Western U.S. experienced the worst ozone levels in the country this summer. California, Arizona and Colorado experienced the most high-ozone days between March and August.
  • 343 counties recorded at least one high-ozone day. San Bernardino, California recorded the most exceedances – 112 high-ozone days between March and August, including almost every day in July and August.
  • More than 31 million people live in the 24 counties that had more than 20 high-ozone days between March and August, including Denver County in Colorado, Maricopa County in Arizona, and Los Angeles County in California.
  • If you use the more health-protective standard of 60 parts per billion, a majority of days between March and April had unhealthy ozone levels across the Western U.S.
  • In Arizona, under the 60 parts per billion standard, 89% of days between March and August had unhealthy ozone levels somewhere in the state.

There were many wildfires this summer and wildfire smoke is one of the sources that can contribute to elevated levels of ozone pollution. EPA establishes standards based on health science alone, and the agency has long had policies in place that allow states to account for truly exceptional events. Our analysis includes all recorded high ozone readings and does not exclude any high ozone days

Read More »

Also posted in Health, News, Policy, Smog / Comments are closed