Climate 411

North Carolina Carbon Plan: Why Duke’s gas bet is a risk to ratepayers and how offshore wind can carry the load

On May 28, the Environmental Defense Fund, along with several other parties, filed expert testimony with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) in North Carolina’s Carbon Plan proceeding. The outcome of these regulatory proceedings, which include hearings over the summer and a Commission order by end of year, will shape over $100 billion in long-term investments proposed by Duke Energy, and ultimately largely paid for by North Carolina electricity customers. This is a huge decision point for the state’s energy future, as I described in a recent op-ed published by NC Newsline.

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Also posted in Cities and states, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy / Comments are closed

Building a better grid: The latest steps to deliver reliable, affordable and clean power

Many of us don’t realize how much of our livelihoods depend on a reliable electricity grid, until we lose power in a blackout or outage.

For many communities across the country, that is becoming a more common occurrence as we experience more frequent and severe storms and heat waves worsened by climate change. Just last week, nearly 200,000 people across several midwestern and southern states lost power after a blitz of tornadoes and thunderstorms.

This extreme weather threat is amplified by outdated grid infrastructure and increasing electricity demand.

One essential solution to meeting these challenges – and driving meaningful progress toward a clean energy future – is building a more modern, reliable and clean grid. This is exactly what the Biden administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are doing with a suite of grid-strengthening actions over the last month.

Here’s what you should know about these latest actions and why they matter:

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Posted in Energy / Comments are closed

Charting the path to equity: unveiling new Just Transition and Safeguards Framework

Reskilling and training workers for a clean energy future. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

By Mandy Rambharos, Vice President, Global Climate Cooperation  

As the world moves towards greener, low-carbon futures, it’s imperative that no one is left behind – including those working in fossil fuel industries and the communities they support. 

A new report from Environmental Defense Fund, ‘Just Transition and Safeguards Framework offers a roadmap for countries and energy companies alike to successfully navigate the complexities of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring fairness and equity at every step of the way. 

Guidance from this framework outlines how to empower local stakeholders – from frontline communities to Indigenous Peoples – ensuring everyone has a seat at the table and a fair share in the benefits of this monumental shift. 

The concept of a ‘just transition’ isn’t new by any means. It was first developed by North American trade unions and environmental justice advocates and has since become a global call to action. As this big idea – which is simultaneously inspiring, ambiguous, and vast in scope – spreads across the world, it must adapt to local challenges, economic realities, and social norms.  

While a just transition will (and should) look different from West Virginia to South Africa, EDF’s framework aims to help decision-makers understand the principles that should be core to every just transition plan – removing the ambiguity and providing clear waypoints toward true climate justice.  

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Also posted in Jobs, Just Transition / Comments are closed

Governor Inslee moves Washington state one step closer to linking carbon market with California and Quebec

Today, the state of Washington took a big step toward linking its cap-and-invest program with the carbon markets in California and Quebec, a move that could boost climate action and create a more stable, more predictable market for all. Governor Inslee signed E2SB 6058 into law, which will further align Washington’s program with the joint California-Quebec program (known as the Western Climate Initiative) and facilitate a smoother linkage process.

This latest development builds on the momentum of last week’s joint statement from the three jurisdictions, in which they expressed their shared interest in the potential creation of a larger, linked market among them. While Governor Inslee and Washington policymakers are tackling climate change head-on and trying to strengthen the state’s carbon market, a wealthy hedge fund executive is trying to bring climate progress to a screeching halt through a ballot initiative that would end the program altogether. The contrast between the two outcomes for Washington’s cap-and-invest program could not be starker.

Here’s what you need to know about the linkage bill and what’s at stake with Washington’s program.

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Also posted in Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Economics, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Auction results and budget decisions emphasize importance of investments from Washington state’s Climate Commitment Act

This blog was co-authored by Janet Zamudio, Western States Climate Policy Intern

The last week has been eventful in Washington, seeing the end of legislative session last Thursday and the first quarterly cap-and-invest auction of 2024, which posted results today. With the legislative session wrapped up and budgets passed, we now know what additional spending lawmakers plan to do with the revenue generated by these cap-and-invest auctions thanks to the supplemental budget passed last week. And with the results from the first auction of 2024 now in the books, it seems the Evergreen State will continue to see significant revenue from this program to reinvest in communities, clean energy projects and climate resilience. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start with the auction results:

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Also posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Policy / Comments are closed

Clean heat standards: an effective climate policy for the thermal sector

Downtown Boston. Photo: Emmanuel Huybrechts via Wikimedia Commons

This post was co-authored by Chris Neme, Co-Founder and Principal of Energy Futures Group

The concept of a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) is gaining traction in multiple jurisdictions as a way to drive larger, faster reductions in the thermal sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. At least ten U.S. states are considering the policy, with Colorado and Vermont having enacted legislation and Massachusetts and Maryland considering a CHS regulation.

A new report commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund and prepared by Energy Futures Group provides an overview of key design elements that can be used for a CHS, as well as a look at how four states are approaching these elements in their own CHS development process.

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Also posted in Cities and states, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Partners for Change, Policy / Comments are closed