News

Water and Big Data: 21st Century Solution to 21st Century Droughts

In the Contra Costa Times, the Nicholas Institute's Lauren Patterson and Martin Doyle write that California should be taking the lead in water management—much like it's led on climate issues—by using smart water metering, sensors and data analytics for utilities. They say that investing in water metering and data analytics could help California better manage the water it has in times of drought and beyond.

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Researcher Named to Prestigious Environmental Board

DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Lydia Olander was sworn in to serve a three-year term with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board this week.

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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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Drinking from the Cloud

In a blog in The Hill, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Julie DeMeester and Martin Doyle report that outdated systems for monitoring drinking water, combined with aging infrastructure, cause us to lose approximately 14 percent of drinking water annually. “This is water that has been stored, pumped, treated and distributed, at great cost, but generates no revenue for the utility,” the researchers said. The solution?

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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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Comparing and Assessing Efforts to Limit Emissions

Faculty fellow Billy Pizer told John Munson, guest host of Wisconsin NPR’s Joy Cardin Show, that a climate deal in which national emissions reduction commitments are based on cuts from 1990 levels may not be that helpful. More fruitful is how much countries are doing now to reduce their emissions. The best outcome, he said, is a deal that everyone feels good about and that produces a mechanism that makes action on commitments transparent.

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USDA Acting Chief Economist Goes to Bat for Wood Pellets ($)

A journal article co-authored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Christopher Galik was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acting chief economist Robert Johansson in a blog on the emerging wood pellet market in the southern United States. The article found that although wood pellet demand from Europe is likely to increase the number of tree removals from southeastern forests, it will lead to an increase in the Southeast’s forest coverage and annual carbon storage.

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Our Impact: Recognizing the Clean Air Act’s Potential to Address Climate Change

The EPA will soon release the final version of its Clean Power Plan, regulating power plant CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act. Nicholas Institute researchers were among the first to recognize the 40-year-old Clean Air Act’s potential to address climate change.

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The Road to Paris and Beyond: Comparing Emissions Mitigation Efforts

In an article co-authored for Resources Magazine, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Billy Pizer notes that understanding the comparability of countries' pledges to reduce greenhouse gases is critical to the negotiating process at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December 2015. Neither specific metrics nor a comprehensive policy surveillance mechanism have been agreed. To inform that difficult task, Pizer and co-author Joseph E. Aldy present three basic design principles and illustrate how an array of metrics might satisfy them.

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