Environmental Economics Program News

A New Report to Celebrate 7 Years for British Columbia’s Carbon Tax

Last week marked seven years since the introduction of a carbon tax in British Columbia. A new blog post by Sustainable Prosperity reviews a report by the University of Ottawa's Nic Rivers and the Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray that examines the tax, finding that it was reducing emissions with little net impact, either negative or positive, on provincial economic performance.

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Environmental Groups: How U.S. Supreme Court's EPA Ruling Could Impact North Carolina

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency erred by not accounting for the economic cost of the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, which required coal-fired power plants to install scrubbers that limit the release of mercury and other pollutants. Jonas Monast, director the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, tells the Triangle Business Journal that the immediate effects of the ruling on North Carolina are likely to be limited because many power plants in the state have already moved to comply with the EPA regulations.

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To Meet Obama’s Carbon-Cutting Goals, States Work Together

States may be suing the Obama administration over a new effort to slash the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but they’re also exploring the most efficient ways to comply with a rule that will accelerate the displacement of coal and alter the energy sources of utilities. One major theme that’s emerging: finding ways to work across state lines. This article in Governing mentions the Nicholas Institute’s work ongoing series of workshops for Southeastern officials to explore compliance pathways and to weigh their tradeoffs.

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Virginia, Coal Country for Centuries, Now Embraces Carbon Regulations

This Inside Climate News story notes that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is already preparing for the Clean Power Plan’s final release by this summer. Officials have been meeting with stakeholders, including utility companies and green leaders, as well as with climate and energy experts at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University.

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EPA Clean Power Plan Reenergizes the U.S. Climate Policy Debate

For the first time this summer, the nation’s fleet of existing power plants will face limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Depending on whom you ask, the release of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan is either an important step in addressing the challenge of climate change, an example of overreach by the federal government or largely insignificantUnderstanding the structure and potential impacts of the Clean Power Plan requires some context, which the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Jonas Monast discusses in The Conversation.

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U.S. Wood Pellets Can Help EU Meet Renewable Energy Goals

Wood pellet supplies from the southeastern United States could assist the European Union to meet its 2020 policy goals for increased renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions without decreasing U.S. forest inventories or diminishing their carbon storage capacity. Biomass Magazine reports on new analysis by researchers at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and North Carolina State University examined the contribution by forests in the southeastern United States to EU wood pellet markets. 

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Utilities, Enviro Groups Find Some Common Ground on Clean Power Plan Compliance ($)

EnergyWire reports on a conference held just weeks before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan, starting the clock for states to develop compliance plans. At the conference, there was also strong consensus that state implementation plans that enable trading of emissions allowances could reduce costs of complying with the rule. And trading would be more easily achieved among states that adopt mass-based standards.

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Study Finds Increasing Wood Pellet Demand Boosts Forest Growth, Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

An industry that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase forest growth sounds too good to be true. But that is the reality of the emerging wood pellets market in the Southern United States. That conclusion is supported by independent economic assessments of wood bioenergy, including a recent study that specifically focused on European pellet demand conducted by researchers at Duke and North Carolina State Universities. Those researchers found that increasing demand for wood pellets resulted in more forest area, more forest investment, large greenhouse gas reductions, and little change in forest carbon inventories.

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How Does Human Behavior Affect Forest Management?

How does human behavior affect forest management? The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Christopher Galik reviews the importance of forestry management and how it goes beyond preserving trees on WNCU 90.7 FM's “The Measure of Everyday Life,” a weekly program featuring social science researchers who endeavor to improve the human condition. 

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The Case for the Green Climate Fund

In The Hill, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Billy Pizer and others write about the case for the Green Climate Fund, noting that the fund will help developing countries build resilience to climate-related disasters and reduce the carbon pollution that drives climate change. 

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