News

Changes Are Needed to Fund U.S. Water Infrastructure

Water infrastructure in the western United States was funded in the early and mid-20th Century by federal financing through the Bureau of Reclamation, but such financing has declined in recent decades and there has been increased interest in alternative approaches to infrastructure funding. In Science Magazine, Martin Doyle who directs the Water Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions notes that two of these approaches–public-private partnerships and loan guarantees–are hampered by existing federal budgetary policies, however. "Everyone likes the idea of bringing more private capital to aging infrastructure; but no one is able, or willing, to get into the really weedy details of policy changes necessary to make such investments possible," he said.

Environmentalists Worry that Florence will Leave Behind a Toxic Mess in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence has caused havoc with North Carolina's infrastructure since it began hammering the coastline last week. Hog farms are one of the most problematic environmental challenges after Florence dumped a historic amount of rain on the region, but they’re far from the only one. There are threats from coal ash basins, where the residue from power plants is stored, and toxic sites across the state. And floodwaters can rise high enough to mix with contaminants and then deposit them back into rivers and wetlands that provide drinking water and natural habitats. Martin Doyle, director of the Water Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, tells The Los Angeles Times that “These are changes that are consistent with what we would see from the effects of climate change. It’s a totally different calculus.”

men fishing

Pacific Catalyst will Foster Innovative Fisheries Policies and a New Generation of Leaders

A consortium of educators and international policy experts aims to develop and inspire a new generation of fisheries leaders across the Pacific Islands region. Pacific Catalyst is a partnership of the University of the South Pacific, the University of Wollongong, Duke University, iTunaIntel and Environmental Defense Fund. Dr. Transform Aqorau, former deputy director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and former CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement is founding director of the new coalition. Pacific Catalyst intends to establish a fisheries think tank and training center at the University of the South Pacific that will receive technical support from each of the partner organizations.

Required Rethink on What is Evidence

Evidence-based approaches to sustainability challenges must draw on knowledge from the environment, development, and health communities. To be practicable, this requires an approach to evidence that is broader and less hierarchical than the standards often applied within disciplines says a new article in Nature Sustainbility. It mentions the work of the Bridge Collaborative (which Duke and our own Lydia Olander helped found with the Nature Conservancy, PATH, and IFPRI), explicitly to develop new approaches to cross-sector challenges. 

'Source' Examines America's Rivers, Their Uses and Changes

America’s rivers have had many different uses over the years since colonial days. The Mercury discusses Nicholas Institute Water Policy Program director Martin Doyle’s new book “The Source,” offering that it examines rivers and the reasons for them. 

Martin Doyle Speaks at a Press Conference on Hurricane Florence

'We Can Kiss Highway 12 Goodbye Again:' Duke Experts on the Potential Effects of Hurricane Florence

With Hurricane Florence churning toward the coastline of North and South Carolina, a panel of Duke experts that included Martin Doyle, Water Policy Program director at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discussed ways to weather the storm and what might happen once the storm is over and communities begin to rebuild.

New Jersey, Virginia Close to Completing RGGI Regulations, as Emissions Cap Negotiations Come to a Head ($)

New Jersey and Virginia have nearly finished establishing their respective carbon trading regulations, but those rules remain contingent on final negotiations with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative over the two states’ emissions cap levels, Carbon Pulse reports officials said at a conference sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law in Washington, and Resources for the Future on Sept. 6.

The Price Of Carbon Taxation

An article by Evolving Science discusses several recent analyses, including some by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, about the use of carbon pricing as a flexible, market-based policy tool to address climate change.

New Jersey, Virginia Move to Join Regional Carbon Trading in 2020

New Jersey and Virginia are on track to join the Northeast’s carbon trading program in 2020, with final rules expected to be released later this year and adopted in 2019. Bloomberg reports that both states are in discussions with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on the details of linking up with the nine-state cap-and-trade program, state environmental regulators said Sept. 6 at a conference sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law in Washington, and Resources for the Future.

Utilities Are Reluctant to Invest in Coal Plants, Even After Trump Tries to Save Them

Utilities are expressing little interest in the Trump administration’s bid to help keep their coal plants alive, remaining committed to providing energy from cleaner and cheaper sources such as natural gas, wind, and solar. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule Aug. 21 to replace President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — his signature climate change initiative, targeting carbon pollution from coal plants — with a more modest measure designed to encourage plants to invest in efficiency upgrades that would allow them to burn less pollution, and exist longer. The article in the Washington Examiner quotes Kate Konschnik, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions: "ACE as a driver of energy policy pales in comparison to market forces. Cheap natural gas prices, falling costs for renewables, and corporate and consumer demand for clean energy will continue to put pressure on coal plants, with or without this rule.”

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