The Clean Power Plan: Driving Down Electricity Bills for Families

EDF Fellow Will Bittinger co-authored this postdollar-499481_1920

Here’s one fact you may not know about the Clean Power Plan – it can save you money.

The Clean Power Plan puts the first-ever nationwide limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It’s a crucial step in our efforts to combat climate chaos and protect public health. But it can also help American families save money.

EPA’s analysis of the Clean Power Plan concluded that once the rule is fully implemented in 2030, it will lower the average consumer bill by about seven percent.

The Consumers Union, Public Citizen, and the Illinois Citizens Utility Board – all groups that serve and protect electricity customers – have confirmed these benefits. In a compelling amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief, these three leading consumer advocacy groups highlighted the host of empirical evidence showing that the Clean Power Plan can drive electricity costs down and deliver substantial benefits to consumers, especially those in low-income communities.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity| Comments are closed

Cautionary Tale for Mexico on Oil and Gas Climate Pollution


splash-with-citationNew findings by NASA scientists attributing a giant, invisible cloud of methane – nearly 5 times the size of Mexico City – over the southwestern U.S. to the region’s sprawling web of oil and gas facilities raise important new concerns not just on this side of the border, but for Mexico as well.

Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. Scientists estimate that methane contributes to about 25 percent of today’s warming. Cleaning up methane also reduces other pollutants: both ozone precursors that affect air quality and air toxics that erode human health.

The recent NASA paper linking the methane cloud to production, processing and distribution of oil and natural gas also notes that just a small portion of these sites, about 10%, were responsible for more than half the emissions. This is just the most recent example of a long list of scientific studies that have found that subset of sites or facilities disproportionately account for the majority of emissions. Scientists have called this subset of sites super-emitters. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged | Comments are closed

Una Clara Advertencia Para México Acerca de la Contaminación Climática de su Industria Petrolera

Un estudio publicado recientemente por científicos de la NASA contribuyó a encontrar al responsable de una gran nube invisible de metano extendiéndose en el suroeste de los Estados Unidos y cuyo tamaño es 5 veces más grande que la Ciudad de México. El estudio permitió atribuir este foco de emisiones a la creciente red de instalaciones de la industria petrolera en dicha región – Este descubrimiento levanta preocupaciones no solo para nuestros vecinos del norte, sino también para México.

El metano es un gas de efecto invernadero extremadamente potente. En los primeros veinte años después de ser emitido, el metano es más de 80 veces más potente en calentar la atmosfera que el dióxido de carbono. Los científicos estiman que el metano contribuye aproximadamente a 25% del calentamiento que ya experimentamos hoy en día. En adición a sus implicaciones climáticas, reducir sus emisiones también permite reducir otros contaminantes que se emiten en conjunto con el metano: tanto precursores de ozono que afectan la calidad del aire, como tóxicos que afectan la salud humana. Read More »

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Why Clean Energy is Center Stage on International Day of Peace

poster-largeEach year since 1981, the United Nations (UN) recognizes an International Day of Peace on September 21. The day is intended to strengthen peace both within and among nations.

As an environmental advocate, I can’t help but think about the effects of climate change on the current state of global peace. And while there are a few climate deniers out there, those who have looked at the science are saying climate change poses a serious threat to global security and peace.

Fortunately, the UN agrees – which is why they chose to focus this year’s International Peace Day on Sustainable Development Goals. Unanimously adopted by all 193 UN member states, the Sustainable Development Goals are broken down into 17 focus areas and are part of a broader agenda to fight inequality, injustice, and climate change by 2030.

Goal 7 – “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all” – is a hugely important part of fostering global peace. The world needs affordable, reliable electricity to heat, cool, and power our homes, and to encourage economic growth. But we also need this electricity to be clean, modern, and efficient, so it doesn’t pollute our communities and exacerbate climate change.

Here are four ways the U.S. is doing our part to achieve an affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy system for all:

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Posted in California, Data Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, Energy Financing, Energy-Water Nexus, Grid Modernization, Illinois, New York, Solar Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

Eastside Sol Celebrates Community, Culture, and Clean Energy in Los Angeles

ess-2016-dancing-crowdBy: Luis Gutierrez, Senior Associate, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) and Jorge Madrid, CA Campaign Director, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

It’s a warm, sunny day in August at the iconic Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, California. More than 400 local residents have come together to dance to the classic tunes of Selena and the cumbia-rock fusion of El Conjunto Nueva Ola – the entire stage powered by solar. They’re enjoying delicious vegan treats, participating in a live mural art project, and screen printing their own reusable tote bags. Many are collecting free shade trees to plant at home, learning about bicycle safety and receiving free helmets, and discovering information about a new vehicle trade-in program that allows Californians to swap out their older vehicles for a new or used electric car. So what exactly is this celebration of music, art, culture, and clean energy? It’s Eastside Sol.

Event organizers Jorge Madrid and Luis Gutierrez reflect on the origins of Eastside Sol, its driving principles, and what’s in store for the future.

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Posted in California, Electric Vehicles, Energy Equity, Solar Energy| Comments are closed

What to Look for In Today’s House Committee On Science, Space, And Technology hearing On Methane

maxresdefaultThis morning, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on the Environment will hold a hearing on the EPA’s methane emissions regulations, during which I will offer some insights into how and why the oil and gas industry should reduce methane emissions.

This is the first hearing about the methane issue, and while the panel is tipped in favor of industry and we don’t expect testimony to cover all the facts, here are a couple things to look out for as the discussion unfolds.

Industry representatives who are not in favor of regulations will try to make the following points:

  • They will say that the oil and gas supply chain isn’t the problem.
  • They will say that the oil and gas industry is more than capable of self-regulating.
  • They will say that regulation will cost a struggling industry too much, and will put American jobs at risk.

None of these statements is true.

What is true is the fact that methane poses a significant threat to our environment. Over the first 20 years following its release, methane is some 84 times more potent than CO2 in terms of the climate damage it does. While CO2 represents a continuing, long-term threat in the form of accumulated, long-lived and rising atmospheric concentrations, methane drives near-term climate effects. The result is that 25% of the global warming we are experiencing now is due to methane emissions. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
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