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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Making the Grade: How Investments in America’s Infrastructure Benefit Our Economy and Environment

Monday, October 27th, 2014
FIGURE 1. ASCE Grades, Annual Investment, and Investment Needed, Billions

BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE
Much of the physical infrastructure of the United States is in a state of disrepair. As documented by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in their 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, our roads, transit systems, dams, and airports need billions of dollars of investment to return them to adequacy. Our water, air, and land are threatened by aging systems designed to provide safe drinking water, handle hazardous waste, treat wastewater, and manage our solid waste. Half of our schools were built to educate the generation that is now retiring, and our electric grid is widely recognized as being incapable of meeting the needs of our changing energy system.

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Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
FIGURE 1. The EPA’s Renewable Energy Targets under Its Proposed Clean Power Plan Are Modest

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
This brief outlines a better way to make the most of renewable energy in the Clean Power Plan, and to strengthen its state renewable energy targets as the cost of sources such as wind and solar power decline. The UCS proposal builds on the EPA’s approach while utilizing the latest available market data, demonstrated rates of growth in renewable energy, and existing state commitments to deploy renewables. Using our recommended modifications, the EPA could nearly double the amount of cost-effective renewable energy in their state targets—from 12 per-cent of total 2030 U.S. electric sales to 23 percent (Figure 1, p. 3).

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Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods: Protecting America’s Communities and Ecosystems in an Era of Extreme Weather

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Figure 1. Natural and nature-based features at a glance.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
This report represents a collaborative effort of the National Wildlife Federation, Allied World Assurance Company, and Earth Economics to address the mounting risks of flooding and hurricanes to U.S. communities. Specifically, this report focuses on the U.S. coasts and coastal waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and the nation’s extensive network of rivers and streams –places where millions of Americans live and work. It asks whether federal, state, and local officials are paying enough attention to the growing threats of floods and hurricanes across the country and whether they are using the policy tools at their disposal to protect people and property endangered by these potentially-catastrophic natural hazards.

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Automobiles, CO2 and Fuel Efficiency: Trends From 1975 to 2014

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Adjusted C02 Emissions by Model Year

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYOverview of Long-Term TrendsWhile the most recent annual changes often receive the most public attention, the greatest value of the Trends database is to document long-term trends. This is because: 1) year-to-year variability can reflect short-term trends (two examples are the Cash for Clunkers rebates in 2009 and the impact of the tsunami […]

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Interactive Map: Climate and Energy by State

Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Electricity Generation from Renewable Energy

Curious how your state stacks up when it comes to sustainability, renewable energy or climate-friendly policies? The Georgetown Climate Center’s new interactive map includes all these parameters (and much more) in its colorful, easy-to-read interface. With the center’s proprietary State Energy Analysis Tool as the engine, this map offers insight into a wide range of data that’s otherwise hard to come by, from Electricity Market Regulation to Energy Exporters and Importers. State profiles offer an in-depth analysis of each state’s energy/climate breakdown.

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Bend, OR: Engineering Wildlife Crossings

Monday, October 6th, 2014
Bend, OR: Engineering Wildlife Crossings

Central Oregon wildlife use the new wildlife undercrossings along U.S. 97 south of Bend.

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Health Benefits of Carbon Standards for Power Plants

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Figure 1: The Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards Study

HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: CENTER FOR HEALTH AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the nation’s first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants on June 2, 2014. The EPA-proposed Clean Power Plan would achieve a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from U.S. power plants below 2005 levels by 2030 (USEPA 2014a). Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas and a major driver of human-induced global climate change. Fossil-fuel-fired power plants are the single largest source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the U.S. They emitted 2.2 billion tons of CO2 in 2012 (AOE 2014) and currently account for 39 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions (USEPA 2014b).

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A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts And Potential For More Public Transport, Walking, And Cycling With Lower Car Use

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Figure 7: Total Urban Passenger Travel for Select Countries/Regions

INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORTATION & DEVELOPMENT POLICY
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
This report is the first study to examine how major changes in urban transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions as well as mobility by different income groups. It starts with the most recent United Nations urban population forecasts and the most recent model framework and forecasts used by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for global mobility modeling. The study extends these with new research on the extent of various urban passenger transport systems in cities across the world, as well as new estimates of the extent of mobility by non-motorized transport and low power e-bikes.

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Renewable Energy in the Western States

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
ELECTRICITY GENERATION BY SOURCE, 2013

AMERICAN COUNCIL ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
With the growing prominence of renewable energy in the western power, heat, and transportation sectors, states are implementing and exploring technology and policy options to effectively manage its production and use. Renewable energy is now responsible for over 20% of electricity generation in six western states, and the region saw the addition of nearly 4 GW of new renewable energy capacity in 2013 alone – which is more than two thirds of total 2013 U.S. capacity additions.

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#WomenInSTEM: Making a Cleaner Future

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
#WomenInSTEM: Making a Cleaner Future

Mallory uses geographic information systems or GIS – a mapping software that she compares to “a real-life videogame” – to assess how various constraints, such as wetlands or an airport, may interact with potential renewable energy projects. Her aim is to site and design projects that can effectively co-exist with the surrounding environment.

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