News

Water Fights: Can the Free Market Tame the West’s Vital and Volatile Currency?

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Martin Doyle told the Las Vegas Sun that water is "easily the most undervalued natural resource we have, aside from maybe air quality.” Water markets would help value that resource, but water trading is currently limited to one-off deals between two parties, deals governed by state regulations. “We don’t actually have—and pardon the pun—very liquid markets, because there are so many different people and entities that have a potential say in each individual transaction,” said Doyle.

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An Inconvenient Truth: We Could be Fighting about Climate Change for a While Yet

CBC News cites a study co-authored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Brian Murray that indicates  that support for British Columbia's carbon tax increased after it was implemented, perhaps after it failed to result in economic ruin.

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Federal-University Partnerships, Renewed Funding Boost Climate Research

With five new university consortium partners and a renewed five-year funding award, North Carolina State University will continue to host the Department of the Interior's Southeast Climate Science Center, broadening its access to expertise and renewing its commitment to the science needs of the region. Duke University is among the new partners, with research led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander.

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Imagine an Internet of Water

The Nicholas Institute's Martin Doyle and Lauren Patterson write that we live in a water world that is data rich, but information poor. Public agencies—from the federal government to state to local municipalities—collect tremendous amounts of data, but those data are used for narrow, specific purposes. If those same data were shared openly, Doyle and Patterson say, and then integrated in a common digital platform, there would be game-changing opportunities. 

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Student Team’s Success in Energy Case Competition is Powered by the Unique Duke Experience

A Duke University undergraduate team has taken top honors in the North American division of Schneider Electric’s 2017 Go Green in the City case competition, which focuses on sustainable energy approaches in urban environments. The students trace their own energy management solution back to a 2015-16 Bass Connections in Energy team. Led by Jim Rogers, former Duke Energy CEO, and Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Bass Connections team designed student projects focused on off-grid electricity access, which were then funded through Duke Engage.

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9 States Deciding Whether to Tighten Power Plant Emissions Rules in RGGI

In what Inside Climate News described as an important test of state governments' ability to counteract the Trump administration's retreat from climate policies, the nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will soon decide whether to deepen greenhouse gas emissions cuts. The media outlet noted a study by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative finding that the main driving factor in lowering emissions in the RGGI states was RGGI's cap-and-trade program.

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The Number Of Oil Spills in Texas Dropped 26 Percent in 2016

Texas Monthly reports on a study published in February and led by Lauren Patterson of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, on hydraulic fracturing spill risk in Texas and other states. It indicated that “75 to 94% of spills occurred within the first three years of well life when wells were drilled, completed, and had their largest production volumes.” 

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Oil Field Spills Down 17% Last Year ($)

EnergyWire reports that a review of spill records indicates that spills declined about 17 percent during 2016 compared to the previous year. The decrease makes sense to Lauren Patterson, a researcher at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who authored a study earlier this year on oil and gas spills (Greenwire, Feb. 21). She found that most spills happen in the first three years of a well's life. "If there's fewer new wells, I would expect the number of spills to decrease," Patterson said.

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How Climate Change Will Hit the South’s Economy

According to a new report from the Climate Impact Lab, the South is likely to be hit harder than other parts of the United States by the costs of climate change, which range from dying crops to increased energy costs and mortality rates. Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions faculty fellow Billy Pizer told Frank Stasio of WUNC’s “The State of Things” that “The important thing about the report is that this is one of the first times we’ve seen the consequences of climate change estimated and monetized and added up into aggregate total numbers for individual counties across the United States and the country as a whole.” He noted that the study is based on very detailed statistical analyses of actual climate change impacts, that the study’s geographical detail and assemblage of data make the study novel, and that “Mortality consequences tend to be the biggest contributor to the cost of climate change.”

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Trump’s Risky Offshore Oil Strategy

In a New York Times op-ed, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head (and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Advisory Board chairman) William Reilly noted that President Trump's proposed expansion of offshore drilling in environmentally sensitive areas could come at an economic cost. “A spill in any of those waters could threaten multibillion-dollar regional economies that depend on clean oceans and coastlines,” said Reilly, who pointed out that Trump has also called for reconsideration of the well control rule, which tightened controls on blowout preventers, which are designed to stop undersea oil and gas well explosions. Reilly said that rule was based in part on findings of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which he co-chaired.

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