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

John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, was recently a panelist on a World Bank Panel in Sydney, Australia, focused on the sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific. He reflects on some of the discussion in the May Praxis Discussion Series below.

How can governments and private industry in the Pacific work together to ensure the sustainability of fisheries?

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

DURHAM, N.C.--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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Our Impact: Law Helps Raise Priority of Clean Water, Sanitation Access

Turning on a faucet for a fresh, clean glass of water is something many in the United States wouldn't think about twice. But for one in three people on the planet, access to a glass of water can be a full day's work. What's more, there is no guarantee that glass of water will be safe to drink. Providing foreign assistance to lift billions out of this type of extreme poverty--the lack of access to basic sanitation and clean water--became a priority for U.S. development aid only 10 years ago.

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Don’t Weaken America’s Fisheries Law

Linwood Pendleton, senior scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses how Congress is debating an amendment to America’s core fisheries legislation—the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act—in a News & Observer op-ed. The act sets the groundwork for the nation’s federal fisheries regulations and includes strict requirements for rebuilding all overfished, federally managed fish stocks

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New Face, New Visions: One-on-One with John Virdin

In an interview with Upwelling, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' new Ocean and Coastal Policy Program director John Virdin shares his background in fisheries policy, his goals while at the Nicholas Institute and his outlook on the future of our oceans. 

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