News

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.”

National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Announces Winners of the NAKFI Challenge

Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is among the recipients of one of three National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Challenge awards. The project, "Institutionalizing Interdisciplinarity: A Cross-Institutional Network to Synthesize What is Working (and Not) in the Pursuit of Transformative Sustainability Science," aims to create a cross-university network to review and synthesize three central challenges to institutionalizing interdisciplinarity: measuring impact, supporting students, and fostering co-development. The models will be drawn from sustainability science—an emerging field that spans natural and social sciences.

Will John McCain be the Last Republican Leader in the Senate to Address Climate Change?

In The Conversation, Tim Profeta, director of Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, reflects on his time working with John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on climate legislation that helped to seal McCain's legacy as a Republican leading the climate debate.

John McCain's Climate Change Legacy

In an Inside Climate News story about John McCain's legacy, Tim Profeta, who directors Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses the McCain-Lieberman bipartisan fight for cap-and trade. Profeta noted that McCain and Lieberman held up the energy bill for hours until they won an agreement for a floor vote on their Climate Stewardship Act. McCain "had the backbone and authority among his peers to just do it, and he really didn't wilt," recalled Profeta, who, as Lieberman's lead staffer on the legislation, witnessed the tension over the showdown in the Senate cloakroom. "[McCain and Lieberman] both stood up against the leaders of their own parties to demand action on this issue."

Students walking in Kunshan, China - Cui Liu

Course Gives Students Chance to Participate in China Conservation Planning

Duke Kunshan University (DKU) administrators received some help from their own students as they planned the second phase of the Kunshan, China, campus expansion this spring. Three students used skills learned in a course on conservation planning and monitoring led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions senior fellow Elizabeth Losos to develop biodiversity recommendations that will be used in the expansion, slated for completion in 2021.

Uganda Village

Meeting the Energy Needs of the World

Access to modern and reliable energy is something that most of the world takes for granted. But many around the world are living a different reality. Across sub-Saharan Africa and India, children often complete homework by the flicker of candles and kerosene lamps as wisps of smoke trickle up around them from the stoking of the fire beneath their cooking stove.The Duke University Energy Access Project aims to help achieve the United Nation’s (U.N.) seventh Sustainable Development Goal, which is to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services by 2030. 

EPA Rule Change Could Let Dirtiest Coal Plants Keep Running (and Stay Dirty)

The Trump administration’s proposed rewrite of climate-change regulations could enable some of America’s dirtiest remaining coal plants to be refurbished and keep running for years without adding scrubbers or other modern pollution controls, according to a New York Times article. Kate Konschnik, who directs the Climate and Energy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal, made public this week, to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was designed to slow the pace of climate change in part by encouraging the retirement of older coal plants and a shift toward greener energy sources.