On October 13, former Nevada Senator Harry Reid and current Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval hosted the ninth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, NV. Each year, the 3-day summit brings together leaders of industry, government, and advocacy organizations in an effort to shape the United States’ energy policy agenda and facilitate the country’s progress towards a clean energy economy.
On August 23, Massachusetts joined the eight other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in announcing a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 30 percent by 2030 relative to 2020 levels. The nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the RGGI counts Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts as members. Since 2009, the initiative has employed a cap-and-trade program to lower emissions, and the proceeds from the pollution permit auctions are used to support energy efficiency programs in the member states. This most recent plan would lower emissions by more than 65 percent since the initiative’s inception.
On June 1st, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord, sparking serious concern about the future of global efforts to mitigate climate change. In response, cities, states, and corporations across the United States are collaborating to submit a plan to the United Nations ensuring that the U.S. fulfills its emissions targets under the Paris accord – with or without support from the United States federal government.
One of President Trump’s early campaign promises was to dismantle the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s regulation asserting federal power over navigable bodies of water and aiming to replace polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy facilities. Now, thanks to a district court ruling in D.C., Trump may be one step closer to actualizing that promise. To learn more about this ruling and its impact, read on!
Last week, the White House unveiled its $1.65 trillion blueprint for the FY2018 federal budget, which prioritizes discretionary defense spending, with an increase of $54 billion to $603 billion, by reducing total non-defense discretionary funds to $462 billion. Among the agencies targeted for budget cuts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would see its annual funding drop by 24 percent from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion, and since much of that funding already goes to states and localities via grants, the reduction could have a significant impact on the agency’s primary functions. Along with direct funding cuts, the White House may reduce EPA staff by 20 percent, from about 15,000 to roughly 12,000. To learn more about which EPA programs could be cut and other effects the proposed budget could have on environmental and energy policy, read on!
The Northeast is a leading region in the United States for renewable energy generation and sourcing through competitive markets. The Northeast Energy and Commerce Association (NECA) supports environmentally sound, reliable and cost-effective wholesale and retail markets for the production and delivery of electric power supply, as well as competing energy services and resources alternatives, including conservation, innovative demand-side and power delivery technologies, renewable energy and distributed generation. Taking place in Auburndale, Massachusetts on March 6, NECA will host its 2017 Renewable Energy Conference, with panel discussions on a wide range of topics including trends in the renewable energy industry, distributed energy resources and energy storage, the impacts of federal energy policy and the new administration, and the role of competitive markets.
In December 2015, 195 nations and the European Union formally pledged to meet nationally determined emissions-reduction targets in the Paris Agreement. Since then, many experts have observed that the national targets are not sufficient in meeting the goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.
However, Jessika Trancik of the MIT Institute of Data, Systems, and Society recently presented research results that demonstrated that there is a mutually reinforcing cycle between emissions-reduction policies and technology development. Her analysis illustrates that for countries to meet their emissions-reduction pledges in the Paris Agreement, they need to deploy low-carbon technologies, which will spur technology innovation, lower costs, and ultimately enable further deployment of these technologies. To learn more about this cycle, read on!
More than 60 companies have joined forces with several environmental groups to launch a new coalition, called the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), to promote the development of 60 GW of renewable energy in the United States by 2025. The companies will work to identify barriers that companies face with utilities and regulators in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and then develop solutions that meet growing corporate demand. The 60 GW of renewable energy is enough capacity to replace all the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. that are expected to retire in the next four years. Read on to learn more about the alliance, its members, and its goals!
Last week, President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping announced that their two countries would sign the global climate accord on April 22. Senior U.S. officials noted that the commitment to cut carbon emissions by the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluters will compel other countries to formally join the agreement. “Our hope is that as that process proceeds, you will see growing momentum toward having this agreement enter into force early and swiftly,” said Brian Deese, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama.