Climate and Energy Program News

Judges Wonder How Congress Stiffed them on Climate

In Bloomberg Government, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions director Tim Profeta writes about his first impressions after the September 27 “en banc” review of the Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. What's now clear, he says, is that the EPA possesses the authority to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

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Expert Available for Comment on Clean Power Plan Hearing

On Sept. 27, a rare “en banc” review of the Clean Power Plan, a rule intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the existing fleet of fossil fuel-fired power plants, will take place before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Getting Real About the Clean Power Plan

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments tomorrow in West Virginia vs. EPA to determine whether the agency violated the law when it finalized its rules to address greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector under the Clean Air Act. Those rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, are the main vehicle by which the Obama administration hopes to address climate change. Every single analysis published since the final Clean Power Plan rulemaking finds that, even if optimistic scenarios don’t come to pass, states need do little to hit EPA emission targets. A review by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions of five detailed studies published recently by various NGOs and federal energy forecasters (M.J. Bradley, the Energy Information Administration, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Rhodium Group for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Nicholas Institute) finds that the Clean Power Plan will only require about an 18 percent emissions reduction beyond business-as-usual scenarios from now through 2030.

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Compliance with Clean Power Plan is Within Reach — Even for States Opposing It

In a blog post, the Environmental Defense Fund writes about their analysis that concludes Clean Power Plan targets are eminently reasonable, noting that their results are consistent with recent, independent economic analyses by the Nicholas Institute, M.J. Bradley & Associates, and the Bipartisan Policy Center. All of these analyses, EDF says, predict low compliance costs because favorable economics for lower and zero-carbon sources of electricity are expected to continue driving sustained investment in these resources even in the absence of the Clean Power Plan. As a result, states around the country are well positioned for compliance.

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U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's Policies will Raise Utility Bills by $500 a Year, Koch-Backed Group Says

PolitiFact examines why an anti-regulation group is accusing U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of wanting to use the Senate to adopt policies that would raise the cost of just about everything, starting with utility bills. The article looks specficially at recent modeling analyses surrounding the Clean Power Plan, which paint a different picture. "Our modeling shows average annual changes in Florida retail prices of less than 1 percent between the baseline and the policy," said Dallas Burtraw, senior fellow at Resources for the Future, a think tank that tracks energy policy. "Our results are consistent with those from the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Nicholas Institute (at Duke University)."

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Market Forces Not Enough to Cut Energy Emissions: Report ($)

Market forces are making it cheaper to produce cleaner energy, but U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan is still necessary to drive an overall reduction in power-sector carbon emissions, according to an analysis released today. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions' policy report compared five recently released studies, including one from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, analyzing projected effects of the Obama administration's signature climate rule.

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Models Tell us Clean Power Plan will cut Emissions at a Low Cost

The Clean Power Plan will drive down power sector emissions at little to no cost to consumers, according to a Center for Climate and Energy Solutions analysis of recent modeling studies. C2ES examined five recent economic modeling studies, including one by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, that project the likely impacts of the Clean Power Plan on carbon emissions, the U.S. power mix, and electricity prices.

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What's Driving Down Industry Emissions? The Market ($)

Market forces, not U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, are the chief driver behind lower carbon emissions right now, energy experts said at a conference on power-sector trends. Low natural gas prices, federal tax breaks for renewables, and the falling cost of wind and solar are behind the electric utility industry's transition away from fossil fuels, which is doing more to cut into greenhouse gas emissions. Such changes do not render the Obama administration's signature climate rule unnecessary, officials pointed out. And states are going to have to think beyond 2030 — the rule's compliance date — if they want to make any meaningful impact against climate change, others said at an all-day event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Great Plains Institute and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

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With 2 Weeks to Oral Arguments, EPA Rule Events Begin Anew ($)

Clean Power Plan events are picking up this week as energy insiders look ahead to oral arguments in two weeks on the legal challenges to the rule. Before lawyers face off before an en banc hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Sept. 27, a number of groups are reviewing power-sector data and holding backgrounders on the court battles. In Atlanta tomorrow, three of the main organizations that have been spearheading multistate talks on the regulation will hold a workshop to review electric-sector trends in the Eastern Interconnection. The Great Plains Institute, the Bipartisan Policy Center and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions are hosting the event. More than 200 people are expected to attend, including officials and regulators from a range of states, as well as industry representatives and nongovernmental organizations, said Michael Dowd, the air chief for Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality who will speak on an afternoon panel.

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Ex-EPA Chiefs Stress Need for Nuclear Power ($)

Without nuclear power, the U.S. and other countries can pretty much forget about meeting any of their short- and medium-term goals for cutting down on greenhouse-gas emissions, two former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said at an event co-sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Sanford School of Public Policy. More broadly, “we understand, all of us, intuitively, that a mix of energy [sources] is the best way to go forward, an all-of-the-above strategy,” said Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA’s boss from 2001 to 2003 and a former New Jersey governor. “There’s no one form that’s going to solve all our problems.” 

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