Climate and Energy Program News

Nicholas Institute Publishes Paper on CO2 Strategy ($)

Even if judges or his successor scrap President Barack Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, federal law gives regulators and interest groups other ways to push the issue, a team that includes researchers from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and UNC Chapel Hill said in a paper released today. The paper authors say that one likely channel is an expansion of the “ambient” air-quality standards that now target well-known pollutants like carbon monoxide, lead and ozone, the Durham Herald Sun reports.

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Proposed Carbon Tax Equals Higher Fuel, Utility Prices; Southern Utah Representatives Respond

In an effort to address climate change and clean air issues in Utah, Rep. Joel Briscoe of House District 25 recently stated he intends to propose a carbon tax during the 2017 legislative session similar to that enacted in 2008 by British Columbia. The St. George News article cites a study by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainable Prosperity showed a 5 to 15 percent decrease in emissions with “little net impact, either negative or positive, on provincial economic performance.”

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Can Private Investment Make up for Trump-Era Policy Retreat? ($)

Increasing investor confidence in clean energy technology is a leading challenge to wringing carbon dioxide emissions out of the U.S. power sector, says a new paper from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. EnergyWire cites the new working paper, which suggests that the "recent U.S. presidential election has increased uncertainty regarding federal policy related to greenhouse gases and highlighted the fact that although policy goals can be powerful drivers, innovation can also benefit from private investment, private action, and public-private partnerships."

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Research Maps Countries that will be Most Impacted by Large-Scale Coral Reef Loss

New evidence from Duke environmental researchers points to the devastation coral reefs could face in the next few decades—which would affect human populations around the world. ”Some scientists have held out hope that there would be reef areas that could escape the harm of climate change, but we find that most reefs will be affected by either warmer seas or more acidic oceans,” said Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Linwood Pendleton. “2016 has been one of the worst years in memory for coral bleaching. This fact is demonstrated by this year’s bleaching event that affected nearly all of the Great Barrier Reef.”

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The Road Toward Clean Power Plan Policy

A national policy that creates the first ever national standards to address carbon pollution from power plants includes an approach to cutting emissions that Jeremy Tarr worked on as a former employee of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Years before the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 was finalized, Tarr was focusing on legal and policy analysis relating to its design and implementation.

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Regional Climate Program Facing New Challenges under Trump

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has spent several months on how to comply with federal carbon dioxide limits for utilities, but the cap-and-trade program faces new questions and challenges with the election of Donald Trump and the likely demise of the Clean Power Plan. The nine RGGI states are finishing a year-long review that began with the goal of meeting the requirements of the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first ever carbon dioxide emissions limits on power plants, but will now conclude with the likely prospect that federal climate change action will be nixed under the incoming Trump administration. Brian C. Murray, Interim Director of the Duke University Energy Initiative and Director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is quoted in this piece published in Bloomberg BNA's Daily Environment Report.

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Transitioning to a 'Blue Economy' can Reshape the Ocean Landscape

In The Hill, the Nicholas Institute's John Virdin and the World Bank's Pawan Patil write that as we enter a period of uncertainty in both international and climate policy following the United States presidential election, identifying a concept that can help find the wins between the economy and the environment is even more important. In the ocean, policymakers are asking if this may be achieved, in part, under the new concept: Blue Economy. 

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Science in the Land of Donald Trump

For Radio Canada, Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and interim director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, and other guests discuss how U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump may take on the issues of climate, public health and scientific research.

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Coral Decay: Scientists Pinpoint Regions Where Declining Coral Reefs could Impact People the Most

Rising carbon dioxide levels amplify the risk of elevated sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and these two global stressors may severely harm warm-water coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. PLOS One Research News features a Q&A with Linwood Pendleton, senior scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and lead author of a new study that uses an indicator approach to identify where coral reef-dependent people were most likely to be affected by rising CO2 levels by 2050. 

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One Of These Conservatives Should Be Trump's EPA Chief

There have been lots of rumors about who President-elect Trump is going to pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. In truth, at this point, no one knows who is going to lead the Trump Administration’s EPA. Forbes provides a list of individuals they would suggest who are knowledgeable about environmental policy, who are fiscally responsible, and who care about the environment. Among them: Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Board of Advisors Chair William K. Reilly. 

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