Monthly Archives: June 2017

Careful what you wish for: Trump’s environmental attacks will harm industry

By Ben Ratner and Sean Wright

In the same week Apple raised $1 billion through green bonds to invest in clean energy, and Amazon put solar panels on a million square foot processing facility, the Trump administration – at the urging of the worst elements in the oil and gas industry –proposed a two-year delay of sensible rules that would limit emissions of methane and other air pollutants. While a federal court since struck down a previous 90-day delay as unlawful, the two-year delay is still subject to public comment, and many expect the administration’s attacks on methane safeguards to continue through other means.

Natural gas, which is mostly methane, has been put forward as a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels and as an energy resource that can play a key role in the transition to a lower-carbon future. But now more than ever, that proposition is called into serious question.

How will natural gas compete in a changing world?

Every year, oil and gas operations around the country emit some 8-10 million metric tons of methane into the air. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, responsible for about a quarter of the climate warming we’re experiencing today – and those emissions come mingled with a host of other smog-forming and carcinogenic pollutants. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How cities are using clean energy commitments to prosper

Cities have long been testing grounds for policy innovation. That identity is critical as we barrel headfirst into an urbanized world. As of 2014, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, over 6 billion people will live in cities.

So, it only makes practical and economic sense that local leaders around the world have doubled-downed on addressing one of, if not the, biggest threats to humans and the planet we call home: climate change.

In fact, over 300 U.S. mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to meet the climate reduction goals set forth in the 2016 Paris Agreement. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity, Energy Innovation, Pennsylvania / Comments are closed

New Report: How cities can prosper with 100 percent clean energy

Over 70 cities across the globe have set targets to achieve 100 percent clean energy and made commitments to cut a billion tons of greenhouse gases by 2030. These trend-setting jurisdictions are found across the U.S. – underscoring that local leaders recognize the resiliency, cost-savings, job-creation, and pollution-reduction benefits clean energy investment provides.

That said, making the clean energy transition is something new: Clean energy isn’t an established city service like picking up the trash. Nor has it always been a major focus of cities. Here’s where a new report from Meister Consultants provides some guidance (Environmental Defense Fund staff provided technical guidance to the report’s authors).

The Meister report outlines options for cities pursuing 100 percent clean energy. It explains how to evaluate the clean energy landscape and can help officials understand the value of key actions and policies like renewable portfolio standards, incentives for distributed energy generation like rooftop solar panels, and power purchasing agreements which allow third parties to own clean energy assets like wind turbines and other renewables.  Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Equity / Read 2 Responses

Six months into the presidency, where are all the jobs?

We’re halfway through “Energy Week” at the White House–a series of events promoting President Trump’s energy policies. These are policies the administration claims will boost the economy and grow America’s energy dominance (note the change from “energy interdependence” to “energy dominance”), while creating jobs by reviving America’s declining coal industry.

It’s the same plan we’ve heard since Trump’s first day as President. So let’s ask ourselves, is it working? Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, General, Grid Modernization, Jobs / Comments are closed

Cleaning the air saves lives and creates an engine for job growth

The Clean Air Act has a long, well-documented history of reducing pollution, and thus improving – and often even saving – lives in America.

This bedrock law represents one of the greatest environmental and health success stories in the world. Gross Domestic Product in the U.S. has grown 246 percent over the life of the Clean Air Act while at the same time pollutants have been reduced 71 percent.

The Clean Air Act has led to enormous innovation in technology

The Clean Air Act has helped launch innovation in technologies that reduce pollution –technologies which in many cases can be exported around the world. Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, General, Jobs / Comments are closed

Texas should listen to its own scientific task force about methane

Map of Texas oil and gas wells that would have been covered under recently-delayed EPA methane rules.

This post originally appeared on TribTalk.org

new report from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) Shale Task Force underscores the problem of methane emissions from Texas’ oil and gas industry.

When burned, natural gas has about half the CO2 emissions of coal (that’s good!), but the release of methane into the atmosphere can greatly erode that benefit. TAMEST explains that methane leak rates can greatly impact the overall greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas and reduce the benefit of burning natural gas versus coal. As TAMEST puts it, “Although the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas combustion is lower than the footprint associated with coal or petroleum combustion, emissions along the supply chain of natural gas can change this footprint.”

The report notes that when industry emits methane, it also emits other hazardous air pollutants that could jeopardize public health — and calls for more research to better understand how these emissions could be harming communities near oil and gas developments. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed