News

Timing is the Element Most Likely to Change in EPA's Final Clean Power Plan ($)

In countless meetings on the Clean Power Plan with states and energy companies, the most common plea to U.S. EPA has been for more time. More time to work on plans, more time to allow coal plants to retire and more time to move toward final goals. Jonas Monast, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses what to look for in the final Clean Power Plan rule in ClimateWire.

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NC Wind Farm Could Mean Changing Winds in Ga. Energy Future

Wind farms dot the landscape in states across the country, but you won’t find one in the Southeast, at least not yet, according to a wind industry trade group. That is until now. On NPR, Jonas Monast, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses the implications of this new $400 million, 200-plus megawatt facility in North Carolina.

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Ecosystem Services Assessment: The Latest Development in the Evolution of Natural Resource Management

On behalf of the American public, federal agencies take many actions that influence ecosystem conditions and change the provision of ecosystem services valued by the public. To date, most decisions affecting ecosystems have relied on ecological assessments with little or no consideration of the value of ecosystem services. A new report by the National Ecosystem Services Partnership at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions recommends best practices for integrating ecosystem services into federal decision-making processes. Lead author Lydia Olander discusses how these practices help ensure that nature’s benefits to people are fairly considered.

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Nature and People: How Can the U.S. Federal Government Put Them Together?

U.S. federal agencies have wide ranging mandates, and many of them significantly affect the nation’s natural resources from the air we breathe and the water we drink and recreate in to the wild animals and scenic places we love. Often there are difficult trade-offs to be considered where one of these benefits is enhanced while another is reduced. Agencies have yet to ensure that the full range of benefits nature provides to people, also called ecosystem services, are fairly considered in their decisions. In a Cool Green Science blog post, authors Lydia Olander and Heather Tallis say the good news is that over the last couple of years several agencies have made bold moves to incorporate the full extent of nature’s value into their decisions. Now, their new report provides recommendations on ecosystem service assessment best practices for federal decision making.

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Nicholas Institute's Monast Outlines Key Issues to Watch in Clean Power Plan Rollout ($)

With U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set to release its final Clean Power Plan over the next few weeks, what are the key changes to watch for in the agency's rollout of the rule? On E&E TV's OnPoint, Jonas Monast, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses the critical elements of the draft proposal that are likely to face changes in the final rule. Monast also talks about the range of options that exist for states that are considering a multistate compliance mechanism.

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South Getting its First Big Wind Farm Soon

On a vast tract of old North Carolina farmland, crews are getting ready to build something the South has never seen: a commercial-scale wind energy farm. Jonas Monast of Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions discusses factors forcing change in the region's energy market in the Associated Press.

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B.C.’s Carbon Tax is Effective, but its Potential is Being Eroded

In the Vancouver Sun, columnist Don Cayo writes that politically motivated tinkering with B.C.’s carbon tax has chipped away at some of its best features and may well begin to erode its effectiveness — yet British Columbians increasingly accept it. He highlights a recent study co-authored by the Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray, which 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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Our Impact: Custom Models Help Assess Impacts of Energy, Environment Choices

Since 2014, much of the Nicholas Institute’s modeling work has focused on cost-effective ways to meet emissions reduction targets for existing power plants under the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

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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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