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California’s Emissions Goal Is a ‘Milestone’ on Climate Efforts

Gov. Jerry Brown of California in Sacramento on Wednesday, discussing a measure to extend the state’s landmark climate change law. CreditRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press LOS ANGELES — California will extend its landmark climate change legislation to 2030, a move that climate specialists say solidifies the state’s role as a leader in the effort to curb heat-trapping emissions. Lawmakers have passed, and Gov. Jerry Brown has promised to sign, bills requiring the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels. Though the governor had already set a similar goal in an executive order, the legislation will lock the goals into law. The ambitious plan targets both powe

New York City Study Conclusion: Benchmarking Works

New York City (Source: TripAdvisor) An important study on the impact of benchmarking on big apartment and office buildings in New York City offers proof of something that can benefit energy managers everywhere: Simply providing people with insight into their energy use tends to promote efficiency. The study – which is posted in its entirety by Crain’s New York Business – was conducted by New York University’s Center for Urban Science Progress (CUSP) and Urban Green, which is the New York City chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. It examines the impact of Local Law 84 (LL84), which was promulgated in 2009. The law mandated that buildings of 50,000 square feet or more annually report en

New York Has Nearly 2 Gigawatts of Proposed Community Solar

Buried somewhere in Orange & Rockland’s distributed system implementation plan earlier this summer was its interconnection pipeline for distributed generation projects. By the time the plan was filed, there were 475 megawatts' worth of proposed projects, nearly all of which are community solar. Currently the utility has about 40 megawatts of distributed generation, none of which is community solar. The number would be impressive at many utilities, but is even more so when you consider O&R’s total peak system load of 1,157 megawatts. O&R, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, is not an outlier in New York. Central Hudson, a utility of similar size to O&R that serves about 300,000 people, has a

Tesla touts speed and driving range with new upgraded battery

A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Cabazon, California, U.S. May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/File Photo Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) crowned itself the maker of the world's fastest production car on Tuesday, saying a new version of its Model S all-electric sedan can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 2-1/2 seconds. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company will offer a larger upgraded battery pack for performance versions of its Model S and X vehicles that will extend range, while also allowing for super fast acceleration. Tesla has long laid claim to bragging rights in the highly competitive luxury car market. But Tuesday's news is unlikely to change

Think It’s Hot Now? Just Wait

July wasn’t just hot — it was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And this year is likely to be the hottest year on record. Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, as heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change last year found that three of every four daily heat extremes can be tied to global warming. This map provides a glimpse of our future if nothing is done to slow climate change. By the end of the century, the number of 100-degree days will skyrocket, making working or playing outdoors unbearable, and sometimes deadly. The effects on our health, air quality, food and water supplies

DIVIDED AMERICA: Temperatures rise, US splits

This image provided by the National Weather Service shows temperatures in the continental United States during a heat wave on Friday, July 22, 2016. The weather service outlook for the following three months shows above normal temperatures across the country. (National Weather Service via AP) WASHINGTON (AP) — Tempers are rising in America, along with the temperatures. Two decades ago, the issue of climate change wasn't as contentious. The leading U.S. Senate proponent of taking action on global warming was Republican John McCain. George W. Bush wasn't as zealous on the issue as his Democratic opponent for president in 2000, Al Gore, but he, too, talked of regulating carbon dioxide. Then the

Today's electric vehicles can make a dent in climate change

Mark Bugnaski | Kalamazoo Gazette Could existing electric vehicles (EVs), despite their limited driving range, bring about a meaningful reduction in the greenhouse-gas emissions that are causing global climate change? Researchers at MIT have just completed the most comprehensive study yet to address this hotly debated question, and have reached a clear conclusion: Yes, they can. The study, which found that a wholesale replacement of conventional vehicles with electric ones is possible today and could play a significant role in meeting climate change mitigation goals, was published in the journal Nature Energy by Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor i

Money for Solar Schools

Flickr/Black Rock Solar There are federal, state and NGO grants to help establish solar schools. EARTHTALK By John McReynolds Dear EarthTalk: I am interested in helping my school get solar panels on the roof to show students how we can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Are there any resources or grants out there to help schools go solar? —Charles Hamilton, Warren, Ohio Putting solar panels on your school is a great idea, not only to provide a free source of electricity, but also as a real-world way to teach students about the need for more renewable energy options and to make the school community part of the solution to our climate woes. School buildings are typically built with

Energy Department Reports Show Strong Growth of U.S. Wind Power

Annual reports analyzing the wind energy industry released today by the Energy Department show continued rapid growth in wind power installations in 2015, demonstrating market resilience and underscoring the vitality of the U.S. wind energy market on a global scale. Wind power provides clean energy to homes and businesses, reduces climate-changing carbon pollution, and boosts America’s economic competitiveness. The U.S. wind power market remained strong in 2015 thanks to continued low prices, more-efficient wind turbines, and fast-growing demand nationwide. “Sustained low wind energy prices and solid growth in installations helped make 2015 one of the best years for our nation’s renewable en

Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change

Volunteers pitched in to help residents fill sand bags against flooding from the Vermilion River in Lafayette, La., on Monday. CreditScott Clause/The Daily Advertiser, via Associated Press Climate change is never going to announce itself by name. But this is what we should expect it to look like. That’s what many scientists, analysts and activists are saying after heavy rains in southern Louisiana have killed at least 11 people and forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes, in the latest in a series of extreme floods that have occurred in the United States over the last two years. That increase in heavy rainfall and the resultant flooding “is consistent with what we expect to se

Energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas surpass coal as fuel use patterns change

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (August 2016) and Monthly Energy Review Energy-associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from natural gas are expected to surpass those from coal for the first time since 1972. Even though natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, increases in natural gas consumption and decreases in coal consumption in the past decade have resulted in natural gas-related CO2 emissions surpassing those from coal. EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas to be 10% greater than those from coal in 2016. From 1990 to about 2005, consumption of coal and natural gas in the United Sta

Sierra Club: Ten U.S. Cities Committed To Renewables

The Sierra Club has released a new report showcasing 10 U.S. cities that have made ambitious commitments to be powered by 100% renewable energy. This report is the first from Ready for 100, a new Sierra Club campaign launched this year challenging 100 cities in the U.S. to move away from fossil fuels and commit to 100% clean energy. According to the organization, 16 cities, including major ones like San Diego, have already made such commitments, and a handful have already achieved 100% clean energy and are powered today with entirely renewable sources. “Cities, long the hotbed of innovation, the drivers of change, and the incubators of solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, are ready f

What drives up New York’s electricity rates?

Electrical power lines. (Source: Shutterstock photo) ALBANY — When a typical New Yorker settles their electric bill each month, they pay 35 percent more than average in the continental U.S. Statewide, New York has the capacity to generate more power than it’s expected to use at its peak this summer, according to a recent report by the state Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s power grid. So why, then, do prices here outpace many other states? The answer is a complicated maze of transmission lines, taxes, long-term efforts to combat climate change and the challenges of powering a state whose major population base is confined to a geographically small — and expensive — area

Court backs Obama’s climate change accounting

A federal appeals court is upholding the Obama administration’s accounting of the costs of greenhouse gas emissions as applied to a Department of Energy (DOE) regulation. In a unanimous decision late Monday, the Chicago-based 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an industry-backed request to overturn a 2014 rule that set energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators. In doing so, the court specifically backed the so-called social cost of carbon, President Obama’s administration-wide estimate of the costs per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere — currently $36. The DOE used the carbon cost in its cost-benefit analysis, justifying the rule in part because

First North American Airport Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport has become the first carbon neutral airport in North America by switching to renewable energy sources and converting its bus fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles, among other low-carbon initiatives. The Airport Carbon Accreditation Program upgraded DFW Airport to “Level 3+ Neutrality,” which is the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports. DFW Airport has been working to reduce its emissions and carbon footprint for almost two decades. Since 2010, DFW has achieved 29 percent reduction in carbon emissions on a per passenger basis as well as an overall 38 percent reduction in energy

Offshore Wind Energy Making Waves in Europe, Starting to in the US

With all the permitting issues and the hassles of building onshore wind energy, it would seem that the industry would look increasingly to constructing turbines offshore. Increasingly it has been closely examining those options but the experience in the United States and in Europe are quite different. The big thing is cost: Land-based wind facilities cost 50 percent less to build than offshore wind units. While it may be less hassle to build turbines in the middle of the ocean and out of eyesight for most people, developers have to be able to connect the electricity to transmission. And that means building underseas cables before hooking up with the wires that are onshore. Governments then h

New York Adopts Historic “50 by '30” Renewables Goal

New York City Sidewalk Building on its record of climate leadership, New York cements its position as a national renewable energy leader today with a New York Public Service Commission (PSC) order requiring that 50 percent of the state’s electricity must from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind power by 2030. New York, with the country’s third-largest population, now joins California, America’s most populous state, in having set a “50 by ‘30” renewable energy benchmark. This order also means that almost one-fifth of the U.S. population—almost 65 million people—lives in an area with this ambitious requirement, which can help avoid significant amounts of the carbon pollution fueling c

Scientists’ annual physical of planet: ‘Earth’s fever rises’

The potential future effects of global climate change include more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought in some regions and an increase in the number, duration and intensity of tropical storms. Credit: Left - Mellimage/Shutterstock.com, center - Montree Hanlue/Shutterstock.com. (NASA) WASHINGTON — Earth’s fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records, scientists said in a massive report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet. Soon after 2015 ended, it was proclaimed the hottest on record. The new report shows the broad extent of other records and near-records on the planet’s climatic health. Those include record heat energy absorbed by the oceans and lowest gro

Massachusetts Positions to be Third State to Set an Energy Storage Mandate

Massachusetts entered the vanguard of the energy storage industry with legislative approval late Sunday night of an energy storage mandate. The mandate – a requirement that utilities procure a specified amount of energy storage by 2020 – is part of a broader energy bill state lawmakers passed minutes before the legislative session ended for the year on July 31. H. 4658 also clarifies that utilities can own energy storage in the restructured state. Pending the signature of Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts will become the third state to create an energy storage mandate, according to GTM Research. The others are California and Oregon. “The bill shows Massachusetts’ commitment to race along the

Renewables share of North America electricity mix expected to rise

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2016 Reference case, International Energy Outlook 2016 Based on results from EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case and International Energy Outlook 2016, EIA projects that the North American share of energy generation from renewable and nuclear energy sources will grow from 38% in 2015 to 45% in 2025. This projection assumes the Clean Power Plan (CPP) is upheld and takes effect in the United States. A recent agreement among Canada, Mexico, and the United States established a goal of 50% of electricity generation from clean energy sources by 2025. The trilateral agreement goal includes nuclear, renewable

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