News

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

Wood pellet supplies from the southeastern United States can assist the European Union (EU) 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. A 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. The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, examined how participation in those markets will affect forest inventories and carbon storage in this region and whether EU sustainability guidelines for pellets can be met.

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Revisiting the Evidence and Potential Solutions on Climate Change

The Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray co-authored the introduction of a special issue of Choices Magazine. Articles in the series address the projected impact of climate change on agricultural productivity and food security in domestic and international settings as well as the motivation for adaptation efforts along with potential strategies and roles of public versus private entities.

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Why Have Carbon Markets Not Delivered Agricultural Emission Reductions in the United States?

In a climate change-focused issue of Choices Magazine, the Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray explores why carbon markets have not delivered agricultural emissions reductions in the United States. Beyond the political failure of a national, economy-wide, cap-and-trade program, he points to the minor role of agriculture in the carbon markets that do exist and to unforeseen adoption hurdles and transaction costs. He suggests that the sector’s GHG mitigation could ramp up as part of recently broader use of carbon markets and with the support of targeted public and private sector programs.

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Q&A with John Virdin: Fishing for a Sustainable Future

John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, was recently a panelist for a World Bank Praxis Discussion Series in Sydney, Australia. In a Q&A, he reflects on three key questions surrounding the sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific.

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Galik to Discuss the Future of Environmental Resource Management on 90.7 FM

Christopher Galik, a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will appear on the show “The Measure of Everyday Life” on WNCU 90.7 FM at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31. Galik, whose work looks at issues surrounding on-the-ground implementation of climate and low-carbon energy policy, will discuss forest management and the future of environmental resource management.

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States Could Slash Clean Power Plan Costs with Mass-Based Standards, Regional Plans -- Study ($)

States could halve the costs of implementing U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan if they work with other states and use a mass-based standard to cap emissions outright, according to a new study from Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. ClimateWire reports that researchers examined three major choices regulators must make as they craft proposals for cutting carbon emissions from power plants to meet their states' individual goals. They looked at the effects of choosing rate-based vs. mass-based standards and regional vs. individual plans, as well as incorporating new natural gas combined-cycle plants into the targets.

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Despite Political Rhetoric, 41 States Exploring Clean Power Plan Options ($)

At least 41 states are in talks with neighbors about how they might cut power-sector carbon emissions under U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, despite appeals from Republicans in Congress for state officials to refuse to comply, according to regional coordinators. ClimateWire article also mentions the Nicholas Institute's "common elements" work. 

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Clean Power Plan Can be Cost-Effective for States

With the right policy choices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan can be flexible and cost-effective for states, according to a working paper from Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The Clean Power Plan uses a provision under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants in the United States through interim state-level emissions rate goals (2020-2030) and a final 2030 emissions rate limit. It gives states flexibility to decide how to meet their interim and final emissions reduction goals. The Duke study outlines the tradeoffs of three policy options: opting for state-specific, rate-based goals laid out in the proposed plan versus converting that rate into a mass-based standard; identifying how trading credits within state borders or with other states affect the cost of compliance with the rule; and determining whether to include under the rule new natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) units that produce electricity and capture their waste heat to increase efficiency.

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NARUC Promotes State Coordination for Clean Power Plan Compliance

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council have released a resource guide to help states overcome institutional barriers and coordinate on Clean Power Plan compliance. A number of tools are being developed by entities to help states put together compliance plans. The guide includes a multi-state planning checklist, a legislative language examples checklist, and a sample memorandum of understanding for multi-state coordination.

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People: The Missing Link in Monitoring and Managing Ecosystem Services

Linwood Pendleton, a senior scholar at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and International Chair of Excellence at the University of Brest, has explored the notion that conservation is good for people, suggesting that failure to make that case with hard evidence has led to a lack of confidence in environmental management and great uncertainty about its benefits to human well-being.

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