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Vulnerability and Adaptation of U.S. Shellfisheries to Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a global, long-term problem whose ultimate solution requires carbon dioxide reduction at a scope and scale that will take decades to accomplish successfully. A new perspective published in Nature Climate Change offers the first nationwide look at the vulnerability of our country’s $1 billion shellfish industry to the global, long-term problem of our oceans becoming more acidic due to the absorption of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Author(s): Julia A. EkstromLisa SuatoniSarah R. CooleyLinwood H. PendletonGeorge G. WaldbusserJosh E. CinnerJessica RitterChris LangdonRuben van HooidonkDwight GledhillKatharine WellmanMichael W. BeckLuke M. Brander, Dan RittschofCarolyn DohertyPeter E. T. Edwards, and Rosimeiry Portela

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Climate & Energy

Oceans & Coasts

Journal Articles

Effect of Policies on Pellet Production and Forests in the U.S. South: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service Update of the 2010 RPA Assessment

Current policies in the European Union (EU) requiring renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are affecting wood products manufacturing and forests in the United States. These policies have led to increased U.S. pellet production and export to the EU, which has in turn affected U.S. forests and other wood products manufacturing. At this time, the primary exporting region in the United States is the South, and the primary importing countries in the EU are the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The policies and some Member State subsidies are expected to continue in place until at least 2020, with the potential to continue beyond that date. Key drivers of U.S. pellet feedstock supply include both the age structure of current timber inventory and the policies that define sustainability. Also influencing the effect of increased demand for timber for pellets are the price-inelastic supply and demand. A simulation of the market responses to increases in both pellet and other bioenergy demand in the U.S. South suggests that prices will increase for timber as harvest increases, and will in turn lead to long-term changes in inventory and forest land area.

Authors: Karen Lee Abt, Robert C. Abt, Christopher S. Galik, and Kenneth E. Skog

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Bioenergy

Low Carbon Technologies

States & Regions

Reports

Stakeholder Experience with Voluntary Conservation Measures under the Endangered Species Act

On September 26, 2014, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, with funding from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities consortium, convened a half-day meeting in Washington, D.C., at which representatives from private and federal organizations as well as leading ESA researchers discussed stakeholders’ experience with voluntary conservation measures under the Endangered Species Act, data gaps that preclude more widespread implementation of such activities, and research activities necessary to contribute new and vital information. The primary insights from the meeting are that experience with existing voluntary conservation tools under the Endangered Species Act provides a basis for the design of new approaches and that the design process requires a solid foundation of legal, institutional, economic, and empirical, field-based information.

Editor: Christopher Galik

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Proceedings

Implications of Clean Air Act Section 111(d) Compliance for North Carolina

Since the mid-2000s, North Carolina has increased natural gas generation, reduced coal dependence, established a renewable energy and energy-efficiency portfolio standard, and taken other actions that will assist it in meeting new carbon emissions targets under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) promulgated under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(d). The CPP, as proposed, assigns state-specific emissions rate targets for existing fossil-fueled generators—targets adjusted for levels of renewable generation and energy efficiency measures. This analysis examines possible implications of meeting proposed CPP targets in North Carolina. To achieve those targets, North Carolina will increasingly shift from coal-fired to natural gas-fired electricity generation, incurring a modest rise in resource costs but creating a potentially significant revenue stream, which policy makers must decide how to allocate. Although the CPP will likely drive down overall emissions in North Carolina, the reductions are smaller than might be expected because North Carolina has already made headway in meeting its emissions targets and because new natural gas generation that is not covered under the 111(d) mass-based target will likely be a component of compliance. Alternative compliance measures, such as specific zero-carbon (e.g., nuclear and solar) investments and increased energy efficiency, reduce future natural gas dependence and hedge against natural gas price risk, though potentially at a cost higher than market-based compliance.

Authors: Etan Gumerman, David Hoppock, and Dennis Bartlett

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Reports

Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook

Many of the benefits nature provides to people are poorly accounted for in management decisions because resource managers haven’t had access to materials and tools that support this undertaking. This online-only guidebook developed by the National Ecosystem Services Partnership, federal agencies, and other partners addresses this need. It allows resource managers to better communicate with people about the positive and negative effects of natural resource management decisions. It also helps them explicitly consider how to balance outcomes that matter to people and to avoid unintended consequences.

Editor: Lydia Olander

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Ecosystem Services

Reports

Innovating for a Sustainable and Resilient Water Future: A Report from the 2014 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum

Water crises are not the outcome of climate change, population growth, new con­taminants, or financial constraints but of the convergence of these challenges combined with the realities of undervalued water, policies that preserve the status quo, and under-financed and degraded water systems. To address the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades and resilience building in U.S. water systems as well as the need for leadership and synergistic action in the space, the Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum in May 2014 brought together water experts with diverse knowledge—from finance and policy to technology and ecosystems. This report captures ideas and sentiments expressed during the forum. The report concludes with five priorities for near-term action: (1) disseminating innovations developed by leading utilities to smaller utilities, (2) strengthening water sector leadership and innovation for climate change resilience, (3) generating awareness about the value of water, (4) facilitating data integration to improve water management, and (5) addressing federal-state-local tensions in water resource management. All these challenges represent nascent opportunities for increasing water sustainability—but they cannot be addressed by a single sector of the water industry, a single layer of government, or a single type of investor. Synergetic approaches are needed to develop truly novel solutions.

 

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Water

Health and Sanitation

Allocation

Quality

Reports

Structure of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model: Electricity Component, DIEM-Electricity

This paper, a companion to NI WP 14-12, describes the structure of, and data sources for, the electricity component of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM), which was developed at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The DIEM model includes a macroeconomic, or computable general equilibrium (CGE), component and an electricity component that gives a detailed representation of U.S. regional electricity markets. The electricity model (DIEM-Electricity) discussed in thus paper can be run as a stand-alone model or can be linked to the DIEM-CGE macroeconomic model to incorporate feedbacks among economy-wide energy policies and electricity generation decisions and interactions between electricity-sector policies and the rest of the U.S and global economies. Broadly, DIEM-Electricity is a dynamic linear-programming model of U.S. wholesale electricity markets that represents intermediate- to long-run decisions about generation, capacity planning, and dispatch of units. It provides results for generation, capacity, investment, and retirement by type of plant. It also determines wholesale electricity prices, production costs, fuel use, and CO2 emissions. Currently, the model can consider, at a national policy level, renewable portfolio standards, clean energy standards, caps on electricity-sector CO2 emissions, and carbon taxes.

Author: Martin T. Ross

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Policy and Design

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Structure of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model: Computable General Equilbrium Component, DIEM-CGE

This paper, a companion to NI WP 14-11, describes the structure of, and data sources for, the macroeconomic component of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM), which was developed at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The DIEM model includes a macroeconomic, or computable general equilibrium (CGE), component and an electricity component that gives a detailed representation of U.S. regional electricity markets, DIEM-Electricity. The DIEM-CGE component can be run as a stand-alone model to look at both global and U.S. domestic policies related to the economy, energy, or greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, DIEM-CGE can be linked to DIEM-Electricity to investigate the macroeconomic impacts of policies affecting electricity generation. This paper describes DIEM-CGE’s model structure, data sources, representations of production technologies, and possible linkages to DIEM-Electricity. It provides an overview of the model and details of the equilibrium structure underlying the model. It presents the production equations and discusses the model’s data and forecast sources. It also presents information on the model’s greenhouse gas emissions and abatement options as well as details of the linkage between DIEM-CGE and DIEM-Electricity.

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Apples and Oranges: Assessing the Stringency of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

An accurate assessment of the stringency of state emissions goals under EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan compares state emissions goals to adjusted state emissions rates that incorporate known and reasonably foreseeable measures that will affect CO2 emissions from existing power plants. These adjusted emissions rates may include projections of actual generation and emissions, which may differ from the building block assumptions used in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In addition, projections in performance levels can reflect the emissions and generation impacts that compliance measures will have on the electricity system. Consideration of these impacts can lead to a more accurate comparison of a state’s projected CO2 performance level to its final emissions goal under the Clean Power Plan and result in state plans that are optimized for the degree of required emission reduction.

Authors: Jeremy M. Tarr and David Hoppock

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Journal Articles

Designing CO2 Performance Standards for a Transitioning Electricity Sector: A Multi-Benefits Framework

A significant transition is under way within the electricity sector due to several market forces, retirement of certain plants, and regulatory pressure. There is notable overlap between available strategies for mitigating electricity sector risks and potential compliance strategies for states under the Clean Power Plan. This overlap presents regulators with an opportunity to pursue strategies that help manage the transition occurring in the electricity sector and achieve greenhouse gas reductions required under the Clean Power Plan, particularly in the areas of end-use energy efficiency and additional renewable power generation.

Authors: Jonas Monast and David Hoppock

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Journal Articles

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