Former EPA Boss: “Clean Break” from U.N. Talks Needed

The United States should make a "clean break" from international climate talks if it no longer plans to be part of the Paris Agreement, said Nicholas Institute Advisory Board chair and former U.S. EPA administrator William Reilly. Speaking with the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, Reilly noted that he had spoken out against withdrawing from the global climate deal. But now that President Trump has announced a U.S. exit, he has doubts about the administration participating in the annual U.N. negotiations. "I think that the worst possible outcome here is to announce an intended withdrawal from the agreement but to continue to participate in the deliberations of the parties," Reilly said. "It's a possibility of the United States playing a role to try to reduce the commitments or aspirations that are agreed to in future conferences of the parties. And that would be very unfortunate and pernicious and, I think, contrary to the desire to go it alone," he said.

North Carolina Reacts to Trump’s Paris Climate Change Move

The day after President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Nicholas Institute director Tim Profeta told Triangle Business Journal that states have to take the lead in attracting investments in clean technologies. “If anything, the federal government’s evident withdrawal from climate leadership will push the states into more of a leadership role,” Profeta said. He also said North Carolina’s diverse economy gives it an opportunity for bipartisan solutions to climate change.

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School Leaders Condemn US Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

In a joint statement appearing in Duke Today, Nicholas Institute director Tim Profeta and Environmental Economics director Brian Murray, along with Kelly D. Brownell of the Sanford School of Public Policy and Jeffrey R. Vincent of the Nicholas School of the Environment, comment on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. “The president’s decision runs counter to prodigious evidence on the science and economics of climate change,” they write. “This body of evidence indicates that the risks from climate change are real and that the benefits of actions mitigating these risks justify the costs.” They four say that the exit undermines the ability of the United States to shape solutions to the global challenge of climate change.

Joint Statement on U.S. Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

We are the leaders of four units at Duke University that collaborate on advancing an accessible, affordable, reliable, and clean energy system for our state, our country, and the world. We regard this challenge as one of the most pressing questions facing society in the 21st century, and one on which we should all be focused.

We pursue our goal by educating the leaders of tomorrow, conducting research that leads to innovative energy solutions, and engaging with decision makers in the public and private sectors to turn this knowledge into practice.

Our approach transcends political ideology.

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Capital Tonight June 1: President Trump's Decision on Paris Climate Change Agreement

The Nicholas Institute’s Brian Murray told Spectrum News’s “Capital Tonight” that President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement “means that the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is now stepping away from the international process to try to address the reduction of emissions over the next several decades. What that means is that the responsibility is going to fall on the rest of the world to take those actions”—a move that “allows others to dictate the terms of trade.” He said the costs cited by President Trump for emissions reductions are “significantly overstated,” and he noted that a significant number of businesses had backed staying in the climate accord.

Lori Bennear Named Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy

Lori Snyder Bennear, associate professor of environmental economics and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has been named the university’s inaugural Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy. “Lori Bennear is deeply deserving of this recognition. She is an accomplished scholar, a terrific teacher and a wonderful citizen of Duke. As the Energy Initiative’s associate director for educational programs, she has helped strengthen the Bass Connections Energy theme and many other dimensions of energy education at Duke,” said Brian Murray, interim director of the Energy Initiative and director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Nature Provides Valuable Services That Benefit All, Experts Say

Investing in nature conservation can result in economic benefits, said the Nicholas Institute’s Lydia Olander at an American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium on the future of ecosystem services assessment. In a keynote address, the AAAS reported, Olander noted that many agencies already consider the value of ecosystem services in their decision making. They include the Agriculture Department and the U.S. Forest Service, which in 2012 instituted a land planning rule that provides guidance to ensure that plans to restore Forest Service land also preserve related ecosystem services.

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A Toolkit for Philanthropy to Understand Development Aid Investments

For a chapter of Our Shared Seas: An Overview of Ocean Threats and Conservation Funding, California Environmental Associates interviewed the Nicholas Institute’s John Virdin about the priority-setting process, staffing structure, and funding flows for marine investments at the World Bank, where Virdin worked for more than a decade. In “A Toolkit for Philanthropy to Understand Development Aid Investments,” Virdin shed light on how the Bank supports developing country governments to reform fisheries, reduce poverty, and improve fisheries management and governance.

5 Takeaways from a Possible U.S. Exit of Paris Climate Accord

On the eve of President Trump’s announcement of his decision about whether to exit the historic Paris Agreement, Law360 asked several experts on the agreement, including the Nicholas Institute’s Brian Murray, to comment on the ramifications of a departure from the global accord to limit global-warming emissions. Murray said being a part of discussions of climate rules is so important that it has spurred many companies across U.S. sectors to advocate for staying in the agreement. “There's no benefit to them with the U.S. being out," said Murray. Nor will the U.S. coal industry benefit, because it is at the mercy of market forces. "Employment in the coal sector is not going to come back to any historic level," Murray said. "The uptick in renewables has been remarkable, and I think that's going to continue. It can compete on par in the grid. And I don't think a policy by this administration can stick that toothpaste back in the tube. I don't think expensive solar and expensive wind, and inefficient solar and inefficient wind are coming back."

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Obama’s Clean Power Plan Might Be Dead in D.C., But states Are Rebuilding It Themselves

Despite the Trump administration’s attempts to kill the Clean Power, the emissions reductions laid out under the plan are already underway, reports Fast Company. As evidence, it points to an analysis by the Nicholas Institute for Environment Policy Solutions of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In RGGI’s first eight years, emissions from power plants in the coalition’s states have dropped 40 percent—the bulk of the reduction attributable to RGGI, according to the Nicholas Institute.